Posted by Some Dude on April 18, 2012 at 11:40 am
Got a relationship question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at email@example.com, and watch this space for my answer! Today, I’m going to talk about overcoming shyness. If you are a shy girl, what can you do to overcome that reluctance? And if you’re a guy interested in (or already in a relationship with) a shy girl, how do you deal with it?
For afflicted women: you’re a lot better off than shy men, for starters. Shyness in women plays well to old notions of gender roles that die hard, so unlike men, taking advantage of your own shyness is an effective option. Overcoming it outright is a bit harder but also works very well, and is more empowering in the long run.
One important step in breaking the shyness logjam is to stop dwelling so much on others’ reactions. Recognize that you’re never going to be able to perfectly interpret nonverbal cues – no one can. Rapt attention to others’ nonverbal cues often leaves you not focusing enough on your own nonverbal cues. So instead of trying to detect hairsplitting subtlety, you’re much better off focusing your effort on getting others to give you obvious signs of their interest. And you do that by amping up the attraction.
You can use shyness to your advantage by playing up femininity. It works because guys find it attractive in and of itself, and it strongly contrasts guys’ masculinity, which can even make even shy guys feel comfortable (and therefore less shy). To do this, you first need to make sure that the passive ingredients to your attractiveness are the best they can be. This includes obvious things like dressing to flatter your body type, an appropriate hairstyle, and simple makeup. It also includes less obvious things like posture, hygiene, tone of voice, and so on. I go into these things in a lot more detail in this post. Then, you just need to be visible. One of the best ways for naturally shy women to express interest is simple eye contact. That single, simple step is easily manageable despite shyness, and is very effective. Your shyness won’t hold you back in conversation, because (thanks to ingrained gender roles) your bashfulness at worst won’t hurt you and at best can be very endearing.
Overcoming shyness works much as it does for guys: knowing that you’re doing something right gives you the confidence to continue doing it right, which will give you results, but the reason it works is a little different. For guys, confidence itself makes them seem more attractive; for women, confidence allows you to cast a wider net by being comfortable entering new social environments and approach specific individuals you find interesting. So, how to do it? In time you may find that using your shyness to your advantage will give you the confidence to overcome it naturally. Something else which will help you is improving your ability with smalltalk, which has wide applications outside of relationships; I became comfortable with smalltalk by reading a self-help book, but there are many paths to improving this skill. The essence of smalltalk is to have a conversation that the other party finds enjoyable and engaging. To that end, asking questions and listening well are more important than being confident talking about yourself, which if you’re shy makes mastering smalltalk easier than it might seem.
For guys interested in shy girls: Simply put, be obvious. Just kiss her already, dumbass. It can be scary, especially for shy guys, to just dive in, but diving in is infinitely better than endlessly circling and waiting for the perfect sign or moment – for much the same reason I gave above for women. There is no special approach to shy girls that is distinct from any other girls.
Special thanks to Matthew Kaiser and Marc Shell for reasons totally independent of this article. Email Some Dude at firstname.lastname@example.org.