The Shy Person’s Guide to The Dating World

There is no doubt that shy people have it tough in the dating world. Since attraction, conversation, socializing and dating require a certain level of skill, if you are even slightly withdrawn, the deck is not going to be stacked in your favor.

But does that mean you have no chance? Does it mean you have to be happy with whatever comes your way? Does it mean that you have to remain a wallflower while the more aggressive extroverts take the cream of the crop? Of course not; however, you may have to approach things a little differently. If you plan your strategy and work on your strengths and not your weaknesses, there is no reason why you can’t have a happy love-life. In fact, some of the strategies that you use may work even better than the usual tactics.

One thing you have to remember is that everyone is different. One experience does not lay out the groundwork for future success or failure. How you get along with one person has no bearing on how you are going to get alone with the next. That is a good thing because it is going to give you something to look forward to if you have a less than successful interaction with a particular person. And it just so happens to be the first in our list of 10 things a shy person should be doing to have success in the dating world.

1. Don’t assume all women/men are the same. What turns on one, may turn off someone else. In fact, one person may love certain things about you, while others may be annoyed. We all have different personalities. The thing to remember here is that shy people also have a problem with confidence and could be completely dejected by one bad interaction. They mistakenly believe that things are going to continue to be bad or that people are all going to behave the same way if they have a bad interaction. Not true, and it is something that confident extroverts have learned.

There are countless individuals out there that don’t date and have given up because of one or two bad experiences. I have one friend who looks at the entire female datable population as unapproachable because of one bad experience. He believes all women see him as boring and unattractive and this has turned into his own self-fulfilling prophecy. The more he believes this, the worse he comes off and around it goes.

2. Avoid certain venues. Look, if you are shy, you are not going to do yourself any favors by sucking it up and just doing it. Sure, you may eventually get good at talking to women in bars (after taking a beating for a while), but the odds are against it. What is more likely to happen is that you are going to get shot down a few times and that is going to crush your spirit. It is going to kill your confidence and it is going to skew your perception of the opposite sex. Anyway, who says that you have to follow everyone else? You don’t have to listen to others and throw yourself in a situation that could potentially damage you – emotionally, anyway.

Besides, you are not doing yourself any favors by trying to meet people in high profile places like a bar or club. The women/men you talk to probably go there every week. Some of them may even hook up with different people every week. You are better off trying to meet potential dates in everyday life situations rather than a bar. Not only are you going to meet a real person, but it is going to be a whole lot less stressful.

3. You are going to have to toughen up a little. Shy people often suffer from lack of self-esteem and low confidence. But you are going to have to get used to things like rejection if you are out there trying to find a mate. Look, not everyone is going to like you. No one knows this more than outgoing, confident people because they probably get shot down a lot more than you do. The real difference is in how they deal with it. Most will shrug it off and move on to someone they are more compatible with – and that is something that takes practice. They don’t allow one bad incident to ruin things – they simply move on. While a shy person may not be able to shrug it off as easily, there is no doubt that this is something you can get better at the more you do it. The bottom line is practice.

If you need a way to get over rejection, just think of this: it is not always because of you personally. Yep, it’s true! It is not always about you! People who have a lot going on in their lives may have many reasons for rejecting you. They may already be in a relationship. They may be going through a divorce. They may be grieving a loss. You have no way of knowing! The only way you are going to know the truth is if you can read minds. Confident, mature individuals know that if a conversation doesn’t go well, or they just flat out reject you, they could have a lot more important things on their mind. Even if they did reject you though, is it the end of the world? Nope, at least confident extroverts don’t think so. Time to start getting a thicker skin.

4. Get out more. Yep, it is really that simple. You have to get out more in order to increase your chances. No one is going to know how great you really are if you are hidden all the time. Dating is a numbers game for most people and the more you are out there, the better your chances are going to be. You have to be available for social interaction and that is something shy people have a hard time with. Given a choice, most would rather sit at home and watch a movie on their own than go out and see what fate has in store for them. It satisfies the short term needs. After all, getting out there and making an effort to meet someone takes effort. And what if * shudder * you actually do all that and get rejected? Well, the old self-esteem can’t take a hit like that – so they stay in.

Some people can’t handle the pressure of actually getting out there and “looking” for a mate. Well, what if all you did was get out for the sake of getting out? What if all you did was go out with friends with no expectations? You never know what can happen. And even if you don’t meet someone right there and then, you are getting practice and becoming more skilled at conversation and social interaction. Additionally, you could make some connections that may lead to the person of your dreams in the future. What you are really doing is networking and that is never a bad thing.

Now, do you need an excuse to get out? Nope. Do you have to be going anywhere in particular? Nope. Do you have to set a time limit? No. Again, the main thing is that you get up off the couch and get yourself out that front door. Even if all you do is go for a walk, you are going to be doing more for your social life than sitting at home. As long as you are out there, you have a chance of meeting people.

Go grab a meal. Go see a movie. There is nothing wrong with doing these things on your own. In fact, it shows that you are secure in yourself. Why not kick it up a little and enroll in a course or program in your community? Pick something you like and you are not only going to stick with it, you are going to meet people. Try volunteering for a cause that you are passionate about – you would be surprised at how many people you can meet doing this. The bottom line? Just break out of your old habits – get out there in the real world – you won’t regret it.

5. Become a good conversationalist. Nothing is going to give you more bang for your buck than having the ability to carry a conversation. It is the grease that keeps the social wheel lubed. It ensures that everyone gets a fair shot regardless of other factors, such as looks. If you become enticing and interesting because of your conversation skills, you are going to naturally attract people – both men and women. They are going to look forward to your views and opinions. They are going to want to be around you because you make them feel good. Conversation plays a huge role in developing the fabled “magnetic personality” we all wish we had. If you can hone your conversation skills to this level, you are going to be able to attract people without even trying.

Now, there is a downside to all this. You have to know when you are being confident and charming and when you are coming off like an ass. Just because you are talking doesn’t mean that it is quality conversation. It doesn’t mean that others are going to want to hear what you are saying. Are you talking about yourself too much? Are you judging/talking about other people in your conversation? Are you being negative/caustic? Keep in mind that there is such a thing as sharing too much with people. However, if you constantly remind yourself of what you are saying and try to listen to what you might sound like to others, you should be okay. You should also be able to pick up on clues that your behavior is less than ideal. You would be surprised at what you can glean from things like body language and just the general demeanor of people when you are talking to them. They are going to let you know when you are not at your best – as subtle as that might be. Body language and facial expressions – make sure you take note.

If you are extremely shy and you consider your options limited, take heart. There are many paths to the finish line and you simply have to explore things a little more. Not everyone is going to be good at conversation. Looking for a way to start? Then you may want to consider being more talkative in your everyday life. Anyone, no matter how shy, can improve their conversation skills. It is just that you may have to start further back and take baby steps forward – no problem, at least you are doing something about it. If all you can do now is talk to family and close friends, then accept that and make a conscious effort to talk just a little bit more than you normally do. The thing here is to break out of your bad habits and beliefs. That is not something that is going to happen overnight and it is something that you are going to have to work on. But like most things in life, you are going to get better with practice and eventually you’ll look back and appreciate how far you have come.

If you are truly lacking conversation skills and you don’t know how to get better (or even where to start), there is no shame in getting help. Start HERE

6. Don’t beat yourself up! I repeat – do not beat yourself up! If you do, it is going to prevent you from ever experiencing happiness. Believe it or not, how you see yourself has a big effect on how others see you. If you constantly berate yourself and engage in negative self-talk, you are eventually going to become what you imagine you are. What you need right now is positive reinforcement. Depending on where you are at the moment, it could take a while to retrain your brain.

What you have to realize is that everyone experiences defeat and we are all down on ourselves at times. Life is not all rainbows and unicorns and it is those who are able to overcome such obstacles that go on to reap the rewards. If you beat yourself up, you are programming your sub conscience in a negative way.

No one is saying that you have to stand in front of a mirror and chant positive affirmations, but you should try to identify times where you are simply too hard on yourself. Think about the situation and try to figure out if you are looking at things properly. If you aren’t, replace those thoughts with something more realistic.

7. Have realistic expectations when searching for your soul-mate. This is a big one because if you are choosing the wrong type of person, you may be making things a lot harder than they have to be. In particular, if the person you are going for is out of your league, you are going to have a tough go. That is not to say that you wouldn’t be able to pull it off, but chances are against it. Do you even know where you place in the dating world? I have a feeling you do and if you don’t, try getting some honest feedback from your friends or family. If you are feeling particularly brave, you could pin your photo on one of those “hot or not” sites. I don’t recommend this if you are feeling vulnerable or if you know you have a thin skin – people can be brutal.

While you may be tempted to date someone who is a bit out of your league, you also have to consider that this person is likely to be more outgoing and sociable than you are. This isn’t always the case, but you can bet that anyone with good looks and/or a great personality is going to have more on the go socially. They are going to have more friends and are likely to be always doing something with someone. You may also notice that they are going to have a lot of friends of the opposite sex who would like to be a little more than friends. Are you okay with other people flirting with your future boyfriend/girlfriend? It stands to reason that a person like this is going to be in higher demand. Sounds like a small thing, but that can be a little intimidating to someone who is not used to it.

By no means am I telling you to avoid this type of person, but you have to ask yourself if it is going to contribute to your long term happiness.

8. Always be mindful of the fact that the person you are interested in could also be shy. You do not own shyness and there are many others out there just like you. This can be a problem when you try to initiate contact and you get a cool reception. Though you may take their quietness as a sign that they are not interested, the fact of the matter is that they are just as nervous as you are – maybe even more. This is one major mistake many shy individuals make, yet they are unable to get past it. They can’t help but feel negativity because that is how their brain is wired.

Imagine this: Frank, who suffers from social anxiety decides to muster up the courage to talk to Cindy at a party hosted by a mutual friend. She is just as shy as he is and it takes her a long time to warm up to people. She is always self-criticizing, quiet and does not have a friendly appearance as a result of her anxiety. Frank does not know this. He approaches her and says “Hi.” She is taken back by this introduction out of left field and scrambles to find her voice. Panic sets in as she glances up quickly and then stares at the floor. “Hi,” she mumbles. To Frank, it looks as though she is pissed off that he approached her at all. She is not smiling and has a bitchy look. Right away, Frank assumes that it is him and this goes to confirm his suspicions that he turns people off. He introduces himself and she is still not opening up. This causes Frank to become more self conscience and he starts over thinking things. His face is now filled with anxiety and she takes this as a sign that he thinks she is unattractive. And so the cycle goes until neither one is talking. Sound familiar?

Here is the thing. Possibly, the only one who would be able to break her out of her shell is an extrovert with a kind and patient soul. This is not the girl for Frank because the social signals are feeding off each other in a bad way and spiraling out of control. No one is to blame for this, it is just a bad match. So the next time you feel as though you are being ignored and rejected, take a second and consider the fact that this scenario could be playing out in front of you in real time. Don’t judge a person by their first impression because their mind could be racing, not knowing what to do.

9. If you are looking for a woman/man, try increasing your odds. Okay, there is no doubt that the dating world can be very competitive. As a shy person, you are at a further disadvantage because all the outgoing people are beating you to the punch. But don’t fret, it just means that you are going to have to become a little more creative.

If you don’t do well in competitive environments, then you simply must even the odds. Go to where there is an abundance of the opposite sex. It is simple human nature to want what we cannot have and a male or female in an environment dominated by the opposite sex is going to have ample opportunity to meet someone. For a shy person, it is a very desirable situation because your success is almost assured. That, in itself, can chase that anxiety away and allow your personality to shine through.

If you are a woman, you are going to want to place yourself in an environment where you are in demand. One in which there is going to be an uneven ratio of men to women. For a woman, this is going to be relatively easy as all you have to do is go to a bar or club and you are going to see many more men than women. Another thing you could do is sign up to a dating site, post a photo and profile and wait for the emails to come in. Because of the male to female ratio, it really is that easy. If you are not into clubs and online dating, you could try to get into a male dominated occupation or take a male dominated course like auto mechanics. Guaranteed, you are going to be the bell of the ball.

For men, things are not quite as easy, but it is possible to be at the right place at the right time. Forget clubs unless you have something all the other guys don’t – that is a no-brainer. Instead, you could try to get into a career where the numbers are even or slightly in your favor. No one is saying that you have to become a nurse or hairdresser (though admirable professions), but you could get into an industry where there are just as many women as men. Some occupations that would not be ideal would be construction, trades or the like.

You also want to stay away from dating sites where there are sometimes 10 men for every woman. Who needs that kind of stress? Instead, why not take a night class or course that is dominated by women. Things like crafts and cooking would be something you could look into. I guarantee you that you are going to get all the attention if you are one of the few males in a cooking class. They are going to be in competition just to sit with you, be your cooking partner, etc. That is the way it is when you have an uneven balance like that. It is simple human nature.

10. Meet people just as people. If you suddenly stop looking for a partner and start meeting people as just people, you are going to be amazed at how the anxiety melts away. Don’t put any expectations on yourself and accept things as they pan out. So you didn’t make a connection with that pretty woman at the cash register – so what? You weren’t looking for it anyway. So you didn’t have a great conversation with the cashier, no problem, she may have been having a bad day – plenty more opportunity out there. This is an almost stress free way to meet people and potential dates. Certainly, it is the slow route, but the other advantage is that it is not going to look like you are trying to pick them up. That means that you are going to have more opportunity to get the person who would never allow themselves to picked up like that – and there are a lot out there.

The key to success here is to talk to everyone you can during the course of a day. You are not going for quality, you are going for quantity in the beginning. That does not mean that you can’t put effort into it, it just means that you aren’t going to worry about making each encounter perfect – you have a lot of people to talk to. Yes, maybe it is going to take many more encounters/conversations before you finally ask out that woman at work or the person that you see every morning at the bus stop, but eventually, you are going to experience the fruits of your labor.

People are going to respond much more positively if you treat them as a fellow human being instead of a romantic prospect. For a shy person, nothing could be more ideal because you probably don’t do well when there is romantic interests at stake anyway. And the worst thing that could happen is that you are going to meet someone interesting even if they aren’t the one for you in a romantic sense. One can never have too many friends. And speaking of friends – Do not fear the friend zone. Some of the deepest relationships are crafted from the friend zone.

11. Eleven? Well, it’s a bonus. Okay, finally, one thing you are going to have to avoid as a shy person is getting attached to someone simply because they are the only thing that is going on in your life at the moment. In other words, you are building this person up to be something they are not just because you have no one to compare them to. A very common problem! And a problem that can make your life complicated and sometimes just plain weird.

In some cases, individuals could develop feelings for people who are actually a little taboo. They could develop feelings for people who are in their lives, but are not datable. An example of this could be a friend’s husband/wife – boyfriend/girlfriend. This is especially true if this person is paying attention to you just because they are interested in you as a person. The furthest thing in their mind may be any romantic intention, but you see something differently. There is nothing wrong with you for thinking this way, yet it is something that you are going to have to address and put an end to. The real reason you are attracted to them is that it may be the only attention you are getting from the opposite sex.

In extreme cases, people have been known to develop feelings for sister in laws, brother in laws and that is just a major disaster waiting to happen. Your shyness is preventing you from getting out there and meeting someone who is single and unattached. The only way you are going to fix this is by forgetting about any feelings you think you have for someone and meeting people on a regular basis.

So, there you have it, 10 (11) things a shy person should be doing in the dating world.

There is no reason why you should have to accept anything less than your outgoing counterparts do. Yeah, you’re shy and more quiet than most, but so what? That does not make you any less deserving. You can have a normal love life – all you have to do is get a little creative.

But What If You Are Beyond Just a Little Shy

Okay, that is all well and good, but what if you are too shy to even start the ball rolling? What if you are beyond shy and you suffer from social anxiety disorder? Yeah, it is one thing to tell people how to become more sociable, but something else entirely to do it.

I hear you, believe me. In fact, extreme shyness can be dibilitating. Is it any wonder that some shy individuals have simply given up? If this sounds like you, there are really only two choices: continue on with things as they are and hope that you are going to luck out some day, or be just a little proactive and make a change. Life is a one shot deal – how much of it are you going to waste? How much have you already wasted?

Look, having extreme shyness just means that you have to take a few steps back. It is not the end of the world and does not mean that you cannot get out there and get the guy/girl of your dreams. Isn’t it worth investing a bit of extra time?

Ready to make that change? Here is the Shyness and Social Anxiety System