There can be confusion between shyness and introversion, but the two don’t always go together. Shyness can be based on a fear of social judgement and embarrassing situations, whereas introversion is defined by needing time alone to rebuild energy reserves. It might surprise your friends if you find it hard to date, yet are the life and soul of the party the rest of the time.
Perhaps you long to be like the confident, gregarious people who seem to sail through the dating process. Maybe you’re putting off dating because of your shyness? You’re not alone. And there are things you can do to make it easier. If you have a sense of reticence or nervousness about anything, preparing well will make a huge difference. Here are some things you can do in advance…
Unpack the fear
Ask yourself, what it is that worries you about a given action – be it sending a message, or meeting for a date. If you’ve had a less than enjoyable previous experience or felt humiliated in a dating scenario, it can dent your confidence. It might be helpful to talk it through with someone you trust. Putting yourself ‘out there’ can feel vulnerable, so building self-confidence and having a good support network is invaluable. This in itself might be enough to help you move forward, but don’t worry if not.
Plan what you’re going to say
Before you meet in person, think of some questions to ask to avoid awkward silences, which can increase your sense of shyness. Also, think of things you might be asked, and think about how you will respond.
Imagine it going well
Again, this works for messaging and on dates. The mind is very powerful, so think positively about it and spend a little time picturing the scenario going well, with a good outcome.
Work out what you’re going to wear
An outfit that makes you feel confident yet comfortable is ideal. Dress for the occasion – if you’re meeting for a drink in a bar, then dress a little smarter. But, if you’re planning to do an activity together, then wear something more casual. This way you can relax and focus on your date.
This won’t be for everyone, but if you have good friends with a great sense of humour, you could ask them if they’ll role-play a date or online chat with you. Ideally, it will result in plenty of laughs – that’ll help lighten your approach to dating and associate it with fun, rather than discomfort.
Be consciously friendly
If you’re shy, it can sometimes come across as aloofness or distance for those who don’t know you, which isn’t ideal. If you’re aware of this, you can be intentional about letting your warmth shine through on a date and when chatting online, even if you’re feeling shy.
Lots of people who seem confident are shy underneath. And the chances are, many of the singles you’ll meet or see online are feeling the same. Never compare or berate yourself for your shyness. But don’t let it stop you moving forward with your life either, because a world of possibilities awaits.
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