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Too Shy To Date: 13 Tips To Help You Start Dating

by Sonya Schwartz

Someone makes eye contact and you shy away. The thought of going on a date and having a conversation with a man for a couple of hours instantly brings on a panic attack. The butterflies in your stomach are definitely not because you’re excited and happy. Sound familiar? It’s okay, I can relate. 

I was a quiet kid in high school. Unless it was a dare or to somehow pretend I wasn’t shy, I refused to approach people. It was awkward. Dating was not something that came easy for me. As I got older, I worked a lot on myself. I dated a little bit more. More than anything, I learned a lot that has actually helped me break out of that shell. I’m a pro at getting to know your conversations and filling in awkward silences. 

How To Date When You Are Shy

Some of this was learned through communications classes in school. A portion of it was a life experience. Then, there are the parts that simply came from being forced out of my shell (public speaking classes were mandatory, and so was group work.) I’m going to break all of that down into these thirteen steps to help you get out into the dating world. 

1. Look at shyness as something that lessens with time

Even if you’re too shy to date in the beginning, it’s important to remember that it will slowly fade away as time goes on. You simply have to get comfortable with the other person. This can help change your perception of yourself being shy. 

The end result is that it will make you less nervous and self-conscious about the fact that you’re shy. This can make entering the dating world a bit less scary. 

2. Practice date a friend

Practice date a friend

When you haven’t been on a date for a while, it can be awkward to go on a date. That’s why you should remember that practice makes perfect! Head out to dinner with a guy friend. 

Go on a blind date with a guy you met on Tinder from another city so that if you embarrass yourself it won’t matter because it’s unlikely you’ll ever run into him. Going out to dinner or on practice dates will help put the dating process into your comfort zone. 

3. Educate yourself on conversation skills

Communication and social skills are pretty similar. When someone talks, you respond. There are some other ways that you can make sure that the date is not awkward for either one of you. These include: 

  • Avoid taboo topics (like the ones you accidentally mention when you’re nervous)
  • Skip talking about exes or your childhood
  • Learn and memorize some ice breakers (do you like to travel?)
  • Learn how to ask open-ended questions (they don’t end in yes or no) like if you could have one superpower what would it be and why? These are some things that you can fall back on to make the first date less awkward. First dates are always awkward, but they’re especially awkward if you’re already shy and nervous. 

4. Consider a double date

Everything is better when you do it with a friend! Shy individuals are more likely to open up if they have someone they are comfortable with right next to them. This is far less nerve-racking than going on a first date solo. 

5. Carefully consider the activity for your date

When I’m feeling really nervous, I like going to the movies. If it’s really awkward, you can simply watch the movie. When you instantly click with the other person, you can lean over and whisper throughout the movie or go to dinner afterward. 

People that aren’t a fan of the movie idea can go do something fun for a first date. This can help calm your nerves and serve as a distraction from the thoughts in your head. Bowling is a great idea. Hiking is another one if you enjoy the outdoors, and you can point out pretty things along the way to make some conversation. Any activity will work!

6. Calm your anxiety

Learning about conversational skills is a great fallback plan, but calming your nerves is what will really help with your shyness. A great way to do this is to take a video of yourself. I used to do this for my public speaking class. 

It will show you how you come across to other people, and help you see areas you can improve on. It’s also going to show you how awesome you can come across by simply smiling when you say hello. Keep doing this until you’re comfortable with it. Then, you’ll feel more comfortable in your dating life. 

7. Fidget if you’re feeling anxious

Fidgeting is a great way to help with nervousness. Put your hands in your pocket and rub your pointer finger and thumb together, applying just a little bit of pressure. Slowly glide the fingernail of your forefinger along with your thumb. Take off a ring and play with it. There’s going to be a table in between the two of you, so men won’t be able to see what you’re doing!

8. Tell him you’re shy

Shyness is simply a part of your personality in the beginning. If that’s the case, try just being honest. Tell people I’m shy in the beginning or I’m a little slow to warm up. Being honest in the beginning guarantees that people don’t mistake my shyness for not having a good time or being quiet for some other reason.

9. Get sociable

Get sociable

It’s time to break out of your comfort zone and start talking to people! Join a club. Take a class for a hobby that you’ve always been interested in. Smile more at the grocery store so that you’re more approachable to strangers. (Not creepy strangers, but the nice old lady that is also baking a homemade apple pie.) 

Say yes when your friends invite you out to dinner or to a party. It’ll help if you keep doing it. 

10. Try online dating

Online sites are a great way to meet men. When you’re stuck in a routine, you simply don’t have the social opportunities to meet a new guy that you did when you were younger. 

Websites can help with that. They can also help you slowly work your way back into the online dating world as you make small talk with potential candidates. This is a great way to jump in and go on a few first dates too! 

11. Look for deeper roots about why you’re shy

Some people simply have a slow-to-warm-up temperament. This is common in individuals that have been abused in the past or had some rocky relationships. Others might simply be like this. 

However, there are other things that might be contributing to your shyness that you aren’t aware of. Low confidence is a common problem. It’s hard for people with low self-esteem to feel comfortable opening up around people because they are scared that they won’t be liked. In fact, self-esteem is the most common reason for being shy. 

Social anxiety is another common factor. Low self-esteem can cause both shyness and social anxiety. However, some people with social anxiety don’t have another situation that they need to work on. They simply have social anxiety. 

Once you discover the underlying roots of your shyness, you can work to overcome them. If you have low self-esteem, check out these tips for improving your confidence. Social anxiety might take some time to go away, but these ideas are great for coping with this disorder. 

12. Consider therapy

Therapy gets a bad rap. Most people think professional help is for people that have been through traumatic situations. That is not true, though. 

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Therapists deal with a wide variety of issues, including being too shy to date. They can give you valuable tips to help you learn how to navigate through this chapter of life. Even if you’re happy, you can benefit from a session or two. 

13. Start small

Talking to men makes you nervous, so going on that first date makes you want to throw up. That’s because it’s such a big step! Instead of jumping right into going to dinner, start a little smaller. 

First, get used to talking to people. Compliment a person while you’re at the store. A simple “I like your handbag” can help you get used to talking to people. As a bonus, it can make their day too! If someone approaches you, make eye contact and small talk. 

If that’s too much, take it a step back. Instead of doing it in person, try reaching out to people online first. A quick message that says hi is a great place to start! Remember, you have to crawl before you walk. Once you get comfortable with one thing, move on to the next step. You’ll be in the dating world before you know it!

FAQs

How do you date if you are shy?

Try online options. Give your date a heads up that you’re a shy woman. Go to the movies for a first date. If not the movies, opt for an activity that can help distract you, like bowling. Work on your self-esteem and any anxiety that you might have. Slowly open up and let him see what an awesome woman you are!

How do you overcome shyness when dating?

Talk to people while you’re out. Make a video of yourself saying hi and asking icebreaker questions. Keep going on dates, even if the first few are a total bust. The more you do it, the more you will be comfortable with it. Working on conversational and communication skills can help, but won’t make you any less shy. 

Is it bad to be shy in a relationship?

No, there is nothing wrong with being shy. The world is full of shy people. Being shy due to low self-confidence should be addressed. However, if being shy is simply a part of you, embrace it. Always remember that your boyfriend is with you because he thinks you’re a great woman. 

Is it worth dating a shy guy?

Yes. There are a lot of great things about shy guys. They are better listeners than extroverts. Shy guys tend to be deep thinkers, which means that they put more thought into things like anniversary presents. This also makes them great problem solvers. Shy guys can be really fun too. 

Is dating hard for introverts?

It’s harder than it is for extroverts. The social aspects of dating can make it emotionally draining. Introverts can need more time to recharge after a date. They also don’t go out as much, which can make it harder for them to meet new people unless they opt for online dating or blind dates from friends. 

In Conclusion

Dating can be hard for anyone, especially shy people. Aside from the tips mentioned above, what advice would you give to other shy people that want to start dating?

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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