Dating can be an absolute nightmare for shy individuals. You want to satisfy the ideal person, but you’re too scared to do anything about it.
Introductions–sticking out one’s hand and looking another person in the eye–can be terrifying. The brain locks up as you scramble to think of something relevant to say. You fall apart as soon as you’re asked what you do for a living. You stammer. You think to yourself,”Why would anyone care about me? I am really not that interesting!”
Fear not. Many shy people have succeeded in meeting new people and forming lasting, happy relationships. With a little practice, you can too. Here are a few tips for taming your social terror.
- Prepare a pitch. Is bound to come up, so have a ready answer. You don’t have to brag about capturing the company Tidy Break area Award; just state clearly what you do for a living and do not apologize for it!
- Ask questions. People like to talk about themselves (okay, except for people like you), so ask questions. Produce a list before you leave the house, i.e., How did you get into that line of work? Where did you go to college? Have you seen the new Brad Pitt movie? And so on.
- When you fumble, turn the topic to another person. Whenever you find yourself longing to throw a blanket over your head and crawl off, consider saying something like”And what about you?”
- Listen to what the other person is saying! This is important. Instead of fretting about what you’ll say , still the wheels of your mind and listen. If a guy tells you about his weekend on the golf course, and you know absolutely nothing about golf, just ask him what he likes about it, how he got into it, etc..
- Smile. People respond well to people who smile. No need to smile like an idiot, but a disarming smile will get’em every time. Smiling conveys friendliness and approachability. Display teeth whenever possible. Avoid looking like a figure at a wax museum by practicing in a mirror before you leave the house.
- Breathe. Whenever you feel your heart racing, breathe deeply and slowly. If you really begin to feel uncomfortable (your face has become so hot you could use it for a wok), excuse yourself and go to the restroom.
- Compliment another person. Sincerity is key, so find something you like and mention it. You may be freaked out by the concept of complimenting a guy on his soulful eyes, so mention his watch, suit, tie, or even his shoes.
- Stay on top of current events. You don’t necessarily want to bring up your stand on Bush v. Kerry during a first meeting, but be able to discuss less contentious issues intelligently.
- Bear in Mind the weather! Some people have the”gift of gab,” the ability to make strangers feel like they’ve known them forever. They are fearless about talking about the weather, gas prices, whatever. Shy individuals fear that talking about mundane things will make them appear stupid. But seemingly dull subjects like the weather affect everybody. People relate to them.
- Hold up your head. It’s the easiest, most efficient way to appear confident. Good posture, coupled with that fabulous smile of yours, gives you a”winner’s vibe.” You’re guaranteed to be a hit!
Be warned: These tips will not help you in case you do not leave the house. It’s simply too easy to watch a Friends rerun for the umpteenth time rather than meeting people, but I promise you that Prince Charming is never going to climb through your bedroom window.
Talking to strangers can be uncomfortable, but with practice it will certainly get easier. If you have a bad night, congratulate yourself for making the effort. When you’ve got a good night, realize that you earned it. Know that countless wonderful nights are on their way to you.