Dating when shy

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Dating when shy Empty Dating when shy

Post by reboot on Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:21 am

This topic came up peripherally in Monday's DNL . As a not shy, never shy person, it struck me that dating while shy must be very challenging, so I wanted to throw the topic to the shy people out there:

What are challenges you face as a shy person in dating/relationships?
What are some methods you have developed to address those challenges?
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:00 am

Maybe this is pointing out the obvious, but initiating the conversation where you ask the person out, and then getting to the part where you do that, and then doing that, are each things that can take a great deal of psyching-up. As there are different flavors of shy, I can imagine certain people having more trouble doing that one-on-one, but I found it more difficult in group settings (people in the background, e.g. at a bar, don't count, but if when there's company...).

It probably had an additional negative effect on the outcome, but I would just adopt the same attitude I always take when faced with an unpleasant thing that I have to do. "This needs to be done, so get it over with." Well, I asked her out, but people probably don't usually like being asked out with ruthless efficiency.

Not entirely sure how much is shyness, how much is pride, how much is trust issues, or how much is just my weird tendency to assume I have to do everything myself (which may directly follow from the other things), but I'm...really bad at asking for help. Advice is easier ('cause it's mostly asking people to tell me what to do), but like physical assistance with a thing = I can't say the syllables. So the idea of "winging" is kind of foreign to me, among other things. Of course, even if I could make myself ask somebody to do something like that, their presence would probably just make things harder (see first paragraph re: company)!
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Mel on Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:05 am

My biggest challenge as a shy person dating was meeting people and getting the ball rolling... Once I've started talking to someone and they're responding well, I get a lot more comfortable and often don't come across as shy at all. But starting conversations with people I don't know or don't know well is very anxiety-provoking for me, and I have a lot of trouble continuing a conversation with someone who is at all standoffish or reserved themselves--it's like I need the other person's energy to feed off of so I can become more engaging. Which is a bit troublesome because with my personality and interests, I tend to get along best with other more introverted people... who often have the same difficulties I do. Razz

A parallel problem which is probably to some extent related to the shyness/social anxiety is that I apparently come across as fairly unapproachable even when I'm trying my darnedest to be approachable. I can be smiling and making eye contact and I think there's still something in my body language that I can't totally control that indicates I want to keep my distance. (Probably because some part of me does want to keep my distance even when other parts want to meet people.) So I've hardly ever had guys approach me even in unpleasant ways. Between that and having trouble approaching myself... Yeah, pretty tricky situation.

In high school this wasn't as much of an issue because I crushed on guys I went to school with, and usually only started crushing on a guy once I'd had a couple conversations with him and felt we were getting along, which alleviated the shyness enough that I was able to initiate further conversations and friendly interactions. I found the high school atmosphere wasn't very conducive to being upfront about one's feelings, so what usually ended up happening is I'd be friendly with a guy and try to show I liked him without throwing myself at him, in the hopes that if he was interested he'd make some kind of move, and that could go on for quite some time. I did try to set up scenarios where I would have felt comfortable making some sort of move myself--e.g., getting the guy's phone number to ask about something school related with the plan that if the conversation went well I'd invite him to do something; inviting a guy over to study together with the plan that if that was going well, I'd suggest an actual date--but that was generally when it became clear that the guys weren't that interested in me even as a friend, so I'd never get to the second part of the plan. So really I guess my biggest problem then was crushing on the wrong guys and not figuring out they weren't into me soon enough to move on sooner?

After high school things got a lot harder, because I wasn't in those situations where I was seeing the same people regularly and getting to know them to make a warmer approach. At that point I turned to online dating, which worked out well for my particular personality and skill set. I'm more comfortable communicating in writing than any other way, I wasn't nervous about "approaching" when I didn't have to face people in person, and getting to know the guys a little through messages before meeting in person gave me some of that comfort level to ease off on the shyness--as did knowing that they were definitely considering me as a romantic option rather than being in that limbo of "do they have any clue what I'm hoping for?" Every boyfriend and every date I've gone on happened through online communications one way or another.

If for some reason I was back in the dating scene, I'd probably go back to online dating for that reason. Though I think with age and reading blogs like DNL and Captain Awkward, I'd also feel a little more confident asking people out if I happened to hit it off with a guy in person.
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by azazel on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:23 pm

I'm perfectly capable of striking up conversations with strangers, it's just that I can't ask anyone out without a very clear indication of interest.
Sadly enough, the clearest IOI's I received in my life (apart from a drunk man asking whether I wanted to follow him to his room) were ultimately just mixed signals and nothing more than platonic stuff was intended.

Trying OLD didn't help, sending initial messages triggered as much anxiety attacks as asking someone out in real life, and although I could conceivably message some girls that rated me highly since it can be assumed they wouldn't mind me messaging them, screw that. If you're taking the easy way and just rate people in the hopes to get messages, well good for you. If you then also complain in your profile that people shouldn't send you just "hey" as a message, well that just makes you a giant hypocrite.

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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Gman on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:29 pm

As a kind of shy person myself, I have to say that this, combined with my anxieties, is the main reason that I have barley dated anyone so far. 

My main problem, as far as I can tell, is that I have difficult time in developing connections with women. I always feel that something is somehow cramping my style and I feel VERY awkward talking with a woman in more public situations. Sometimes I feel that it's inappropriate to go and talk with women who I find attractive when I'm at a bar with a friend, for example, because I don't want to "abandon" him/them when were out hanging out. But most of the time, I just don't know what to say and how to develop a conversation with people I don't really know, but especially with women who I find attractive. This is especially true in the dance scene, where it's the social norm to dance with someone and beyond some basic "Hey, wanna dance? My name is ****" and "Thank you very much for the dance" not to talk beyond that...

Like most shy people (though dancing is most definetly an activity that is for very NON shy people, LOL), once I DO manage to talk with someone and to get to know them better, I feel way more comfortable sharing things and talk more freely around them. 

Frankly I don't really know how to handle my shyness/awkwardness problem. I guess that I just try to take things as they happen and then simply hope for the best...  Neutral

azazel wrote:I can't ask anyone out without a very clear indication of interest.

Also, this. I have a big issue with this too - especially because I also dance some more up close and personal dance styles, where it's the norm to dance with more intinamcy without it meaning anything more than just a dance. It's a TON OF FUN, but kind of frustrating too at the same time. I already tried to ask out a few women out from the dance scene, but so far nothing... so yeah.
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Gman on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:33 pm

Oh, forgot to add, that I don't really like online dating. I tried it a bit a while back on OKC but barley got any responses and I did get one date that wasn't all that great. Ever since I started dancing I realized that while interacting in real life is HARD, it's FAR MORE SATISFYING than anything online dating can give me when it DOES work out :-)
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Mel on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:49 pm

azazel wrote:Trying OLD didn't help, sending initial messages triggered as much anxiety attacks as asking someone out in real life, and although I could conceivably message some girls that rated me highly since it can be assumed they wouldn't mind me messaging them, screw that. If you're taking the easy way and just rate people in the hopes to get messages, well good for you. If you then also complain in your profile that people shouldn't send you just "hey" as a message, well that just makes you a giant hypocrite.

This seems to me a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I mean, I totally get being annoyed and deciding not to message people who complain in their profiles. But to decide not to message anyone at all who's rated you highly because they didn't also immediately send you a message... Granted, I haven't used OKCupid and I don't know exactly how the rating system works, but I'm going to guess from what I've heard that it's the sort of thing some people use it as a simple way of indicating interest when they don't have time to write messages to every person they might find somewhat interesting. Deciding you're not going to message them, even if you find them interesting and attractive, simply because they didn't message you first... is a lot like deciding not to talk to someone who's just smiled at you, because if they liked you enough to smile at you, dammit, they should have come over and talked to you! Which totally ignores the many reasons they might not have happened to approach (in whatever way) at that exact moment that could be totally understandable.

Why is someone who's at least tried to make it easier for you by giving you some sort of opening less deserving of your attention than someone who's completely ignored you, if everything else is equal? Would you really prefer if some woman sees your profile and thinks you're cool, that she just move on rather than give at least some indication that she liked what she saw even if she isn't going to message right then for whatever reason? scratch It just sounds like you're eliminating the people most likely to respond positively to you, and whom you'd be able to contact with the least anxiety, with nothing more than an (at least sometimes) unfairly negative generalization about their intentions as justification... Like it matters more to you to make some sort of point they're never even going to be aware of, than to possibly connect with someone who's into you. If you actually do want to connect with people, you'd make it a lot easier on yourself if you can give them a little more benefit of the doubt.

I dunno, maybe I'm off base because I haven't used the system, just my 2 cents.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:17 pm

Mel wrote:This seems to me a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

This.

While I get where you're coming from, Azazel, at some point I decided that since I know exactly why I would rather leave Visits and Stars/Likes than compose messages to the Silence, if I reacted super negatively to that sort of thing then I would be a hypocrite too.

I don't have a count of how many messages I've sent, but I've had to clear my "sent" box to make space at least once. I got replies so rarely that it became easy to imagine nobody was reading what I wrote anyway, and that made it easier to send out messages that weren't lovingly hand-crafted and seasoned to perfection. I've yet to see a really negative reaction, anyway.

All that makes OLD seem a lot easier to me than public interaction (and nothing's more public than a close friend's party/gathering thing). Definitely easier than "cold approach", too.

That said, I'm starting to reach a point where the only people I haven't sent some kind of message at yet are people I still have to kind of talk myself into considering. In a lot of cases it's basically distance—OKC might not think 15 miles is far, but if it's 15 miles outside of any public transit line then I'd have difficulty meeting them there. But yeah, my current inclination is to just sort of let my profile sit there for a while on the off chance something does happen with it, because so far actively sending messages hasn't improved anything.
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by eselle28 on Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:18 pm

I'm introverted and a bit awkward and have some social anxiety, though I don't know if I'm shy per se. I generally have plenty to say to people I'm comfortable around, at least.

I'm one of the people who has had some luck with online dating. I get anxious about sending messages and responding to them in the same way I do in real life, but at least with online dating, I have a window of a day or two when I can calm down my anxious brain and get myself into a place where I can write. Guys I'm interested in writing to or responding to don't come along all that often in my area, so that process doesn't happen frequently enough to cause much emotional turmoil in my life (sometimes messages I receive from men I don't want to date provoke negative emotional reactions, but those aren't from the same anxious place). I do all three of responding to messages, writing to guys who haven't seemed to notice me yet, and writing to guys who've come up as mutual stars, though I understand not everyone is going to want to do all of those things. When there aren't that many people who seem like good matches, it just doesn't seem like a high priority to me.

In terms of in person interactions, I sometimes have more luck doing the approaching first rather than being approached. When I start the conversation, I can go through the "Most of us are at the bar to meet people, and it's not going to be a big deal if he's not interested and the conversation trails off..." pep talk first. When someone approaches me, sometimes it takes me off guard and it's a little harder to respond and be my best self. When I was younger, I froze up entirely sometimes. Not so surprisingly, no one asked me out in those days, and I don't think anyone should have. More exposure has made it a little less intimidating, as has coming up with a handful of scripts - a few questions that can be asked to almost anyone to get them talking about themselves in depth and a few stories I've told enough times that even my anxious self can repeat them. They're not the most fascinating conversation, but like PUA scripts, they're easily called on when I can't think of what to say.

I also know other shy, quiet, introverted, or anxious people who've had luck dating friends, but to be honest, that's never really worked out that well for me. It's an alternative to people whose friend circles contain people who interest and might be interested in them, though!
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by azazel on Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:04 pm

Mel wrote:
This seems to me a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I mean, I totally get being annoyed and deciding not to message people who complain in their profiles. But to decide not to message anyone at all who's rated you highly because they didn't also immediately send you a message... Granted, I haven't used OKCupid and I don't know exactly how the rating system works, but I'm going to guess from what I've heard that it's the sort of thing some people use it as a simple way of indicating interest when they don't have time to write messages to every person they might find somewhat interesting. Deciding you're not going to message them, even if you find them interesting and attractive, simply because they didn't message you first... is a lot like deciding not to talk to someone who's just smiled at you, because if they liked you enough to smile at you, dammit, they should have come over and talked to you! Which totally ignores the many reasons they might not have happened to approach (in whatever way) at that exact moment that could be totally understandable.

Why is someone who's at least tried to make it easier for you by giving you some sort of opening less deserving of your attention than someone who's completely ignored you, if everything else is equal?  Would you really prefer if some woman sees your profile and thinks you're cool, that she just move on rather than give at least some indication that she liked what she saw even if she isn't going to message right then for whatever reason?   scratch  It just sounds like you're eliminating the people most likely to respond positively to you, and whom you'd be able to contact with the least anxiety, with nothing more than an (at least sometimes) unfairly negative generalization about their intentions as justification... Like it matters more to you to make some sort of point they're never even going to be aware of, than to possibly connect with someone who's into you. If you actually do want to connect with people, you'd make it a lot easier on yourself if you can give them a little more benefit of the doubt.

I dunno, maybe I'm off base because I haven't used the system, just my 2 cents.

Would you also think not responding to "hey" messages is cutting off your nose to spite your face? If not, what makes the difference to you?
IMO, they're both effortless constructs designed to make the other person make the first step.

nearly_takuan wrote:
Mel wrote:This seems to me a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
This.

While I get where you're coming from, Azazel, at some point I decided that since I know exactly why I would rather leave Visits and Stars/Likes than compose messages to the Silence, if I reacted super negatively to that sort of thing then I would be a hypocrite too.
Oh, I know exactly why people rather leave visits and stars/likes. Difference between me and them is that I don't stoop to that level. I'm now a member of OKCupid for two years, in which I sent exactly 8 messages. And yet, I'd rather die alone than use such a cheap trick.

nearly_takuan wrote:That said, I'm starting to reach a point where the only people I haven't sent some kind of message at yet are people I still have to kind of talk myself into considering. In a lot of cases it's basically distance—OKC might not think 15 miles is far, but if it's 15 miles outside of any public transit line then I'd have difficulty meeting them there. But yeah, my current inclination is to just sort of let my profile sit there for a while on the off chance something does happen with it, because so far actively sending messages hasn't improved anything.
Maybe a folding bicycle might make a difference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding_bicycle)? It's really handy to take with you on public transport, and makes it easy to bridge the distance between transit lines and appointments.

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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Mel on Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:26 pm

azazel wrote:Would you also think not responding to "hey" messages is cutting off your nose to spite your face? If not, what makes the difference to you?
IMO, they're both effortless constructs designed to make the other person make the first step.

Yes, I would, if the person looked at the other person's profile and thought, "This is a person I think I'd enjoy talking to" and yet decided not to attempt that just because the first message consisted only of "Hey."  I wouldn't blame someone for deciding not to respond if they didn't see anything in the profile that gave them a better sense of connection with the person than the "hey" had, but then, I wouldn't blame you for not messaging someone who didn't appeal to you regardless of what "rating" or whatever they gave you either.

I guess I'm just not sure whether it's actually effortless. I think women respond that way to "hey" type messages because a lot of guys seem to do that for every woman who's pic they find at all appealing without even bothering to check profile for compatibility etc. Again, I don't know how the rating system works, but it makes me think of the dating site I did use which had a system of "smiles", where you could "smile" at someone to indicate interest without sending a message (you had to pay to send messages, so there was a little more of an extra investment required than that, but time is still an investment). I only "smiled" at guys when I'd not just glanced at their pic but taken the time to read their profile, thought they might find me interesting but wasn't sure. That did take some effort. And if the guy responded simply by smiling back, I was fine with taking the step of writing the message--I just was hesitant to put in the investment without knowing (and I think that's especially the case for a lot of women because guys do tend to initiate more, so it's easy to feel that if a guy hasn't messaged you or indicated any interest at all, he must have seen your profile/pic and already dismissed it).

It just seems overly antagonistic to frame it as a "cheap trick" when I don't see any reason to assume plenty of women aren't using it the exact same way I described my using it above, which again, did indicate some effort to determine compatibility.  I guess if you're really hung up on reciprocity you could always simply respond to women who've only done that who you do find appealing by rating them back in return, and see if that prompts them to message you.  Or you could have a simple message that you could copy and paste, like "Hey, saw you checked out my profile, how's it going?" to reduce any effort on your part. *shrugs* But of course it's up to you.
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Werel on Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:27 pm

azazel wrote:
Oh, I know exactly why people rather leave visits and stars/likes. Difference between me and them is that I don't stoop to that level. I'm now a member of OKCupid for two years, in which I sent exactly 8 messages. And yet, I'd rather die alone than use such a cheap trick.

Well, I think it might be cutting off your nose to spite your face to have such open contempt for people who are using as designed the tools which are built into a website which you yourself are choosing to use-- similar to saying that using the "like" function on Facebook is a cheap trick to avoid the Good and Right and Proper procedure of leaving an appreciative text comment. Wink

Really, I think in something like online dating, people are entitled to put in exactly the amount of effort they feel like, and to expect commensurate results-- if you're happy with the results you're getting from a 4-messages-a-year approach, and somebody else is happy with the results they get from leaving stars or winks or pokes but not sending messages, and a third person is happy with the results they get from sending a deluge of simple "Hey" messages and/or not responding to them, are any of you doing it "wrong" or "stooping" or being "cheap"? I really don't think so.
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by reboot on Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:28 pm

I think OLD is a tool that people can use however they wish. There is no "better" or "worse", and certainly no " stooping" way of picking people you want to message. Each to their own, ya?

Anyway, back to the subject of shyness, I find it interesting that people are sometimes shyer online. That never occurred to me for some reason.
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Post by KMR on Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:47 pm

Mel wrote:My biggest challenge as a shy person dating was meeting people and getting the ball rolling... Once I've started talking to someone and they're responding well, I get a lot more comfortable and often don't come across as shy at all. But starting conversations with people I don't know or don't know well is very anxiety-provoking for me, and I have a lot of trouble continuing a conversation with someone who is at all standoffish or reserved themselves--it's like I need the other person's energy to feed off of so I can become more engaging. Which is a bit troublesome because with my personality and interests, I tend to get along best with other more introverted people... who often have the same difficulties I do.  Razz

This describes me pretty well also.

What I have a lot of trouble with as a shy person is initiating things, especially in the very early stages of meeting/dating people. This includes approaching and initiating conversations, telling someone I like them or asking them out, and taking those "next steps" like touching for the first time, the first kiss, asking if we can be boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. It makes things easier when the guy initiates these things for me, but that doesn't always happen (even when the guy is otherwise interested). I have a mixed record between taking the plunge and initiating something myself or just waiting indefinitely and giving up when the guy doesn't initiate. As I've gotten older and more experienced with dating, I've become better about getting up the courage to take that plunge, but it's still difficult and anxiety-inducing for me. Usually the uncertainty will just start to bug me after a while, so I just go for it because even a rejection is better than my over-analysis (which usually concludes with "either outcome is plausible" and is extremely unhelpful).

My shyness is somewhat context-dependent, so I try to control my environment such that I'm in situations that reduce my social anxiety. I'm considerably more comfortable interacting with someone one-on-one than in a group, for instance, so I always make sure that my first date with someone is in a one-on-one setting as opposed to, say, going to a party or joining a meetup group or tagging along with a group of their friends.

Online dating is an environment that works really well for me and my particular brand of shyness and introversion. For one, it lets me meet people without having to go out into group settings and force myself to be social just for the sake of being social, which I usually don't enjoy doing. I can also get to know people through messaging, a context that is less scary for me, before meeting them in person, which is a bit more scary. I've found that when I've had the chance to exchange messages with someone for a while first, I almost don't get nervous at all when we actually go on a date.

I also have a bit of an advantage in that I'm no more shy around men than I am around women, or men that I am attracted to than men that I am not attracted to. As a result, dating present no more special a challenge to me than making friends and socializing in general.
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by P_johnston on Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:08 pm

I will readily consent with most of the other shy people in this forum. Getting it started is the hardest part. Once I find a topic or two that both me and she are interested in I can usually do pretty well. The dilemma comes when getting to that point. The idea of approaching someone I don't know (especially someone of the attractive feminine persuasion) terrifies me more than flaming clown spiders. By contrast if I am able to initiate a conversation about something I find interesting in a way that doesn't force me to cold approach (hanging out with friends, work) it goes a lot smoother.

That being said another big downside is that I can have problems talking to people if it isn't about particular topics. Talking about a book, game, or one of my other hobbies, excellent. Making chit-chat about the weather or other small talk, might as well be trying to break Natzi war codes. I don't even know what to do.

I feel like a large part of that is practice. As someone who is shy I tend to initiate less conversations, be less active in big group conversations, and therefore be less practiced at the art of conversation.

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Post by KMR on Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:35 pm

I don't know if this fits well enough here or if it should be its own thread, but I'd be curious to hear from people who are significantly more shy and nervous around people they are attracted to about some of the reasons why they feel this way. I'm aware that this is a pretty common phenomenon and have some ideas of why this might be the case for some people. But since I don't have that experience myself, I'd be interested to get a deeper understanding of it.
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Jayce on Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:23 pm

P_johnston wrote:

That being said another big downside is that I can have problems talking to people if it isn't about particular topics. Talking about a book, game, or one of my other hobbies, excellent. Making chit-chat about the weather or other small talk, might as well be trying to break Natzi war codes. I don't even know what to do.


I have trouble doing that sometimes. I've found being curious and enthusiastic on what is being discussed helps.

What are challenges you face as a shy person in dating/relationships?

Recently I've been in a lot of situations where I'm invited to a social gathering where everyone knows each other very well and I barely know anyone. I find it challenging sometimes to just fit myself into the group especially when everybody is talking to everybody else on enclosed topics like ex. about that camping road trip they had a couple weeks back.

As for dating I have this belief that shyness is like a disease, men are not supposed to be shy(cause gender roles) and women will always see it as the biggest turnoff ever. I have been working towards thinking like this less by telling myself, I'm generalizing and being sexist, I have no idea what's she's thinking or what she likes. Whenever I feel shy it actually makes it worse for me in an approach situation because it makes me think that she won't like me. I also make progress towards being more outgoing and adopting more extroverted behaviour.

Another dating challenge that I face is that I get a bit nervous before I approach because I'm shy and scared. Then I would examine myself and I would say reasons for not approaching in my head. For example I'm not wearing any makeup, I don't look fashionable enough today, she probably already noticed I'm shy and wouldn't like me, I'm not sure if I'm fun enough, she's talking to this other group of people and I don't think I will be able to hold her attention etc... Since I also believe that negativity is probably extremely unattractive to all women, I would also tell myself that I am being negative and she won't like me. Fortunately sometimes I counteract all these thoughts by telling myself I have to approach because if I don't I will never succeed and I end up approaching. Other times I get drowned in the insecurity and say to myself I'll approach another time when I feel better about myself.


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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Guest on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:03 am

KMR wrote:I don't know if this fits well enough here or if it should be its own thread, but I'd be curious to hear from people who are significantly more shy and nervous around people they are attracted to about some of the reasons why they feel this way. I'm aware that this is a pretty common phenomenon and have some ideas of why this might be the case for some people. But since I don't have that experience myself, I'd be interested to get a deeper understanding of it.

Idk if I fit this bill in particular, but I can say for sure that I can't talk about my girl problems unless someone asks. I'm embarrassed and shy about the fact that I'm still single that I won't talk about it to anyone very much in the flesh. Only a few people can I talk about it with, I can't talk about it with my parents, neither of my siblings, or my best friend, oddly enough. I'm so shy about this stuff I can't talk to my own gorram family about this shyness.

I'm scared of getting my feelings hurt from rejection, it no feel goot. I know, suffering is optional, but goddamn...

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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by kath on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:05 am

I consider myself shy, in that I don't like starting conversations with people when I don't know them well ish (IE, have an established chit-chatty relationship with them) or have a specific context for starting the conversation. I don'[t want to like, impose on people. Also, I am scared people will say jerky stuff to me, and that really bothers me, so I would in general prefer to avoid interactions with people I don't have some context for. Even though most of the strangers I don't talk to are, of course, perfectly nice - and some people turn out to be jerks later. I will studiously avoid eye contact in public so people don't address me.

I also don't get approached romantically - Mel, I think I have the same way of looking like I do not want to deal with people, and people who know me at all tend to know I'm married, and I just generally am not at all flirty. So I don't give people much of a window. This certainly cramped my dating style as a teenager, but I was not particularly upset about it - I was kind of happy I didn't have to deal with it.

I didn't really solve shyness to date - I met my husband in high school - we were in the same social circle, got to know each other very well and just got closer and closer, then he asked me out, I said yes, and now it's almost 10 years later. He is also somewhat shy and awkward.

Eselle, I would love to hear your scripts for starting chatty conversations! I'm trying to work on that, because I feel like seeding the ground with more Positive Interactions with Strangers would probably overall be more satisfying than just trying to avoid strangers who might possibly not be polite. Also I have had some really great conversations with people I've just met (at something around a shared interest), so I know it can be fantastic. (Also, sometimes people will go out of their way to talk to a strange specifically to be a jerk, so it's obviously not a perfect strategy Razz)
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Lemminkainen on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:19 am

KMR wrote:I don't know if this fits well enough here or if it should be its own thread, but I'd be curious to hear from people who are significantly more shy and nervous around people they are attracted to about some of the reasons why they feel this way. I'm aware that this is a pretty common phenomenon and have some ideas of why this might be the case for some people. But since I don't have that experience myself, I'd be interested to get a deeper understanding of it.

In general, I'm the exact opposite of shy. But before I had a lot of relationship experience, I was much more shy/nervous around people I found attractive because I wanted to date/have sex with them and I was afraid of doing the interaction wrong and precluding that possibility. (Ironically, this wound up being way worse for my dating life than brashly interacting with people and sometimes screwing up.)

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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by azazel on Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:38 am

KMR wrote:I don't know if this fits well enough here or if it should be its own thread, but I'd be curious to hear from people who are significantly more shy and nervous around people they are attracted to about some of the reasons why they feel this way. I'm aware that this is a pretty common phenomenon and have some ideas of why this might be the case for some people. But since I don't have that experience myself, I'd be interested to get a deeper understanding of it.

This thread is a great example why I'm absolutely terrified beyond belief when expressing even the slightest romantic interest in someone: http://nerdlounge.canadian-forum.com/t154-staying-friends-words-vs-actions

As far as I am personally concerned, let me express it in a formula:

Let Vf be the value of a new friend on your general well being, and let VGf be the value of having a girlfriend on your general well being.
If Cdate is the chance that someone you ask out says yes to a date, and Cshun be the chance they say no and are too awkward to interact with you anymore, then VGf * Cdate - Vf * Cshun is strongly negative. Since the expected value is not in my favor, I therefore have to hide any romantic interest I have in people, hence being more awkward around people I'm attracted to.

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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Oct 17, 2014 5:09 am

azazel wrote:And yet, I'd rather die alone than use such a cheap trick.

Somehow I missed this line earlier. I guess we just want different things, then.
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Guest on Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:09 pm

reboot wrote:

What are challenges you face as a shy person in dating/relationships?
What are some methods you have developed to address those challenges?

Like pretty much everyone else said, initiating anything is deeply frightening for me. Which confuses the holy hell out of the friends I've admitted this to. "C'mon man, just talk to her, what's the worst she can do?" Sure, in context all of that makes perfect sense, and I know I'm just attractive enough to where a woman will not respond to my greeting with revulsion.

I have this trouble even when starting conversations with people non-romantically. I can rationalize my way out of talking to anyone.

Example: me and my friend were at a coffee shop. I notice a cute girl. I notice cute girl is on her computer. I think, "hmm, she's on her computer, that's a clear sign she doesn't want to talk to anyone."

I go to the bathroom, and my friend is talking to her and got her number. This happens a lot with that friend. He's completely unafraid of initiating things. The difference with him is that after a certain point of attractiveness, he reverts to a "Glides state." So as long as he thinks she's uglier than he is, he does perfectly.

That being said, I know confidence helps wonders with helping someone even as "eh" as me to get some.

But even if I somehow accidentally get a girl to like me, I'm still shy no matter what. Even in the single relationship I was in, I never initiated anything. I would simply feign apathy in order to look manlier to her, since I was deeply scared even then of trying to kiss her and be rejected. It was a very chaste relationship, and I later learned she kept me around to keep other guys away from her.

So that is a gigantic problem, because I'm simply too chicken to initiate even the beginning of a conversation. If I do somehow get the balls to do it, the conversation almost never lasts longer than a minute, being eyed with the haughty "you are nothing" look the entire time, a distinct look of "get the hell away from me, you night troll."

I don't really have any methods to combat this. It's almost unavoidable that if I start a conversation with a girl I don't know, one on one, it will not end well. Most of the female friends I have now are girls I used to have a crush on for this very reason.

I know what the indicators of wanting to start a conversation with me are. Repeated looks in my direction and looking away, an inviting smile, I know what they all look like because I've seen every IOI repeatedly thrown at literally every other person I know except me. So if such signs were ever given to me, I would know. They almost never are.

But luckily, I'm learning to live with it, and craft a perceived image of myself that doesn't match the reality, so my only other method is to pretend to not care when my friends get another number and I don't. After all, I only want sex for the social status (I know exactly how wrong that is, no need to remind me) and I don't give a rat's ass if it feels good or not. I have basically embraced my forever alone status, since it's an integral part of my identity, no matter what the Doc might say for your clicks and shares.

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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by C-Bass on Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:08 pm

I don't describe myself as being shy anymore; for me shyness is a fear of approaching new people and social situations, and since I don't have a problem with doing that these days I don't describe myself as shy.

The method that allowed me to get over my fear of approaching women and new social situations in general was to just push through my fear and go for it, though not at an extreme level; I didn't do any of those dumb ass 'approach 50 women in one night' PUA boot camp style things, which I've heard described as taking an unfit person and making them run a marathon.

I set myself the goal of approaching 3 new women a week, and gradually increasing the numbers form there up from there. It was scary at first but the rush of pushing through that fear was amazing.

I haven't asked any women on dates yet but I'm going to follow the same pattern as I did when learning to approach.  
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Dating when shy Empty Re: Dating when shy

Post by Coin-op Adjutant on Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:33 pm

Ye gods, where to start?  Currently going through CBT and all that jazz for social anxiety, so I might as well offer my 2 cents.  Probably nothing that hasn't been heard before, but why not?

To begin with, the worst part of being shy is the underlying admittedly-poor-but-sort-of-improving self-confidence issues.  Had 'em since I was 5.  It's a difficult thing to shake.  A thing of circular-feeding logic and the most irritating sort of Catch-22 situations.  I'll touch back on that later, because that last sentence is really relevant.

I've always had issues initiating interactions with other people, but primarily women.  Virtually all of my hobbies are rather solo-oriented (not without incident), and really tend to veer on the side of "women don't largely give a shit about it."  Jesus, finding common ground with just about anyone seems to be hard enough.  Actually taking it to a level where I can use it in conversation is something else entirely.  Then again, most of the people in my peer group fall under the "not very well socialized" umbrella, which probably does me no favors on that front.  Even when I find something in common to work with, I still can't always maintain a decent conversation.  I can try, but whoop de do.

The worst part is doing approaches.  Oh my god, the approaches.
Usually, I don't bother.  And on the occasions I do, I'm nervous as hell, which means I approach like a wrecking ball.  "EXCUSE ME, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, BUT I SAW YOU <doing x from y> ANDIJUSTWANTEDTOSAYHI."  [I wonder what it means if she just jumped three feet into the air and oh god what she's clutching her chest WHAT DID I DO THIS TIME].

Stop.  Stop before it goes any further.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Ugh.

But the few approaches I do are pretty much my only practice, because I don't get approached in public.  Or in private.  Sometimes I get stares when I start talking to people, but that's really about it.  Not sure why I get stares, but I try not to think about people looking at me.

After all, I don't really know whether or not people looking at me indicates any interest--being in the mindframe of "invisible until goofups occur" will do that to a person.  And of course I'm not going to be watching people's expressions, because that could be interpreted staring at them, and if I'm the one doing it, it's probably grounds for being "creepy."  Check off "doesn't really know body language" and add it to the list.  Goes right up there with "may have a guy version of 'resting bitch face'."

Actually, that's probably the worst part of it--knowing that the brain I was given is arguably the very thing that's holding me back in all this.  Can't just think my way out of it.  "My usual approach is useless here."

I could go on, but I'm leaving in a bit to try and do some approaches this evening rather than stay on the computer.  I can pick up later, though.
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