Being shy isn’t the end of the world, but it certainly doesn’t make life any easier. Usually tied to low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence, situations which can seem quite “normal” for the average person, like going on a job interview or speaking in front of people, can seem daunting, even terrifying to the shy person.
Shyness in dating is no exception. The risk of rejection in this social setting sets the stakes even higher, and the anxiety attached to rejection can even cause a shy person to opt out of the whole dating experience altogether. But living in fear is no way to live, and being shy can be overcome.
Tips to Overcome Dating Shyness
1. Start Small. Short, less personal interactions with little to no possibility of rejection will help you get started. Saying hello to someone passing in the street, or briefly talking to someone at work you don’t normally talk to will help you get your feet wet. Get used to the idea that most people are friendly, and enjoy social interaction.
2. Work on Eye Contact. This is a key component of body language, especially in dating. Even though it can feel quite uncomfortable to maintain eye contact with people, overcoming this aspect will really help you to connect with people on a personal level. Start by by practicing with your friends, and note the comfort and calm you feel when you look at each other with no judgement. Up the ante by holding your head up as you walk down the street; practice making eye contact with strangers for a few brief seconds.
3. Move Out of Your Comfort Zone. Shy people tend to limit themselves, coming up with excuses as to why they should or shouldn’t do or experience certain things. Life is not about the safety of staying in the same box all them time – you need to stretch, a little bit at a time. You may have been completely against attending a singles party or dance in the past, because you felt it would make you uncomfortable. We all know the only way to get rid of the fear is to dispel it though, so go with a friend or someone you trust and see what it’s all about – you’ll probably be surprised! Keep an open mind and stay focussed on the fact that you’re ready for a change, no matter how small.
4. Look Around. What do other people do in similar situations? How do they act, and what do they say? By observing others engaged in non-shy behaviour, you’ll start to get an idea of what’s expected and what’s possible in social situations.
5. Let Go. Start doing and stop thinking. By analyzing your every move, thought and feeling, you skip over the good part of life, which is experiencing! Loosen up and realize it’s ok to feel awkward, so does everyone else at one time or another.
6. Give Yourself A Break. You’re trying to make a change, which is an extremely courageous thing to do. Progress may be very slow, but it’s still progress. Focussing on what you perceive as negative aspects really will inhibit your progress – be your own cheerleader and try to encourage yourself just as you would a child. When we’re breaking out of old habits, we’re often re-parenting ourselves, so be gentle.