If you’re shy or socially anxious, dating can be a potential minefield that’s difficult to navigate – but with some simple tips there’s no reason why you can’t be successful.
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety when they’re dating; it’s a natural response to going into a new situation. If you’re shy, that anxiety can become acute and may even deter you from ever moving from online connections to real life dates. Here are some useful tips to help even the shyest of people have the best chance of making meaningful connections.
Get out of your own head
Part of the reason that shyness can be so crippling is because it often involves extreme self consciousness. One strategy for dealing with this is to develop ‘other’ consciousness. This means becoming more aware of the other person – their mannerisms, speech, non-verbal communication and appearance.
Practice at home
When you’re with friends and family practice mirroring them. Watch what they are doing with their hands or their posture and do the same. Play a game where you look at someone and then turn away and describe what they looked like and what they were wearing.
These things will help you become more aware of other people and less aware of the mental processes in your head telling you that you’re not good enough or have nothing to contribute. It’s vital to master this internal dialogue if you want to develop an intimate connection. How will you believe someone finds you attractive if you keep giving yourself such a hard time?
According to experts approximately 80% of communication is non-verbal. If conversation is not your strong point master the art of good non-verbal communication to let your date know you’re interested.
When you’re waiting for your date, be sure to look approachable – shoulders back, chin out and look up rather than at the ground. Keep your arms and legs uncrossed as this will make you appear open and less defensive.
Eye contact is especially powerful and forms the first connection with someone. Even if it’s difficult, try to maintain eye contact when your date is talking to show you’re listening and interested in what they’re saying.
The ability to master your own body language and read others, will give you a huge advantage on the dating scene. There are many books and articles available on the subject.
Show some emotion
We tend to form connections with people who seem to understand us and are on the same wavelength. One way of showing this is through our expressions and emotional responses. Laughing, smiling, nodding and mirroring emotions all contribute to making your date feel accepted and as though you’re in tune with them. Again, this involves being responsive and aware of what they’re saying and how they’re feeling rather than being absorbed by your own anxiety.
In your own time
The most important thing to remember if you’re overcoming shyness is that the more you do it the easier it’ll become. Try to relax and take it at your own pace. Meeting a match for a quick coffee is much easier than arranging a long dinner date. If the coffee goes well your confidence will grow, if it doesn’t go well talk it through with someone. Go from start to finish and see if there was anywhere that you could have done something different and got a different outcome. Sometimes it just isn’t meant to be and your shyness isn’t the reason why. Don’t lose heart.
If you’ve had a good date with someone and walk away feeling as though you’d like to see them again, follow it up with an email or text telling them so. Don’t be afraid to show your appreciation and say how much you enjoyed meeting them. This will let them know that you’d like to see them again. Even if they don’t feel the same way, you’ll have managed to overcome your shyness enough to go on a date and be honest about how you feel – that is success!