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Shyness, not Introverted, is Hurting Your Dating Life

When men seek dating advice, they far too often start their question with: “I am an introvert…”. They will also regularly refer to this as a limitation in their ability to employ the typical strategies and techniques that work in meeting and attracting women and seek some other alternatives.

While there are alternatives to being successful with women that do not necessarily depend on ‘extrovert qualities’, and while there are plenty of women who prefer introverts, the reality is there is no true substitute for doing the things that are known to work when it comes to dating. And unfortunately, one quality in particular common in introverts, but not the same as being introverted, gets between many men and their ability or willingness to do what is known to work. That trait is shyness–and if you think you have a problem with women because you are an introvert–there might be some truth to that, but your bigger problem is likely that you’re shy.

Introvert isn’t your problem, shyness is.

Being an introvert is not a significant hindrance with women. Preferring intimate one on one time or personal alone time versus being the life of the party is far from a deal breaker. Thinking before speaking is also a pretty nice quality that many women actually admire in an introvert. The main negative being an introvert has when it comes to dating is less desire to regularly be out and about in social situations where one might meet women. But once in a social situation, an introvert should be able to perform just fine. Those who do not aren’t suffering from a case of “the introverts”. Their problem is they are shy.

And, generally speaking, women find shyness unattractive.

Of course, as I mentioned, that’s a generalization. Women are each unique and what one finds attractive another might not and vice versa. However, I have seen too many examples where shy behavior “lost” the girl, and bolder, confident behavior made things happen. I have seen it with myself countless times–when I’ve been shy and reserved, versus when I’ve been confident and outgoing. It’s not introverted that’s your problem, it’s shyness.

Why is shyness unattractive?

Shyness is unattractive not only because of what it is, but also because of what it is not. Shyness is not necessarily confidence. It is not necessarily boldness, and it is not necessarily assertive. Confident, bold, assertive men are typically found attractive by women, and exhibiting those traits while being shy is often difficult.

Furthermore, to differentiate between shy and introverted, a shy man does not necessarily want to spend time alone, whereas an introverted man might. A shy man spends time alone because he is scared of the potential social interaction ahead of him. Scared is not an attractive trait. Wanting to spend time alone is not necessarily unattractive. Being afraid to spend time with others is unattractive.

What can you do about it?

If you want to maximize your chances with women you’re interested in, the best approach is to tackle the root of the issue head on. Trying to find detours around the problem to remain in your comfort zone will almost always lead to sub optimal results.

Depending on the severity of your shyness–whether it falls into the realm of diagnosed social anxiety disorder or simply “shy” will impact the logistics, but the solutions, in my view, are all behavioral–push yourself to incrementally confront the uncomfortable scenarios, and use repetition to reinforce the behavior you want, as opposed to the behavior that comes naturally to you.

If your shyness is severe you may want to consult with a psychologist or psychiatrist to get guidance from a trained medical professional. However, if you think you’re “just shy”, here are several ideas on how you can tackle that shyness incrementally, depending on setting.

Shyness on a date

Are you shy in individual settings? Feel awkward engaging out of fear of saying something dumb or unattractive? If so, here are some tips to help you overcome that.

  • Come up with conversation topics in advance — It sounds cheesy, but this is actually solid advice even for men who aren’t shy. It’s always good to have a fallback in case there are lulls in conversation. If you’re shy, lulls are more common, and hence a fallback plan, a topic you are interested in and aren’t nervous about, can help get you engaged with your date on your own terms.
  • Assertive body language — Communication is both verbal and non-verbal, and sometimes, the non-verbal queues are what scream shy. Pay attention to the following when you aren’t speaking:
    • Posture — upright, shoulders not hunched
    • Eye contact — make it! Don’t worry about appearing “creepy”, if you’re shy that will almost never happen.
    • Arm position — Minimize folding your arms
    • Facial expressions — Smile!
  • Volume — It sound silly, but when you do speak, speak up! This simple tip can make a huge difference, and it’s easy to implement.

Shyness in large gatherings

In large gatherings, shyness can be even more stressful–with everyone around, you may constantly feel like you’re being judged for not participating as much as others in the festivities. A few steps that might help you in these situations:

  • Show up with friends — Bringing a friend or two that you can rely on will make it much easier to get involved in the party and not sulk away in the background.
  • Volume — As with our date advice, when you speak, speak up!
  • Proximity — You don’t have to speak to participate in a group conversation, if speaking up and being a vocal participant is still way too uncomfortable, work on at least being in the proximity of the action. Don’t hang back, even if you don’t have much to say.
  • Don’t fear interrupting — Interrupting people all the time isn’t polite and also not necessary–however, in a big gathering, it’s hard to wait your turn all the time. If you have something to add to a conversation, and you feel that spark of confidence, do it. No one is going to just roll out the red carpet for you to contribute if you don’t show some indication you want to.

Tackle your problem head on

Women are generally attracted to bold, confident, assertive men. If you are shy, it will be harder for you to demonstrate any of those three qualities. You may be tempted to seek a shortcut to a woman’s heart without having to get out of your comfort zone but this is not the right approach in my opinion. The best approach is to tackle it head on and work to overcome it. After all, wouldn’t you want to not be shy if you could choose? Most likely, you can choose.

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