A dating guide for shy guys

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If you are a shy bloke, meeting people online may seem like an ideal dating solution. You don’t have to summon up the nerve to walk up to a perfect stranger. You can carefully construct your profile to present yourself in the best possible light. When you do connect with someone, you can think up some charming, clever banter without being put on the spot. You can cultivate a rapport before she’s even heard your voice.

It’s the next part – moving out from behind the screen and into the real world – that gets tricky. “Most men perceive that women expect men to be confident and suave,” says dating coach Colin of Day Game Dating. “It’s unrealistic, but the pressure exists regardless. Men are exposed to a lot of social conditioning that dictates how they should look, be and act. Feeling that they don’t live up to this perceived social standard, combined with inherent shyness, makes dating especially challenging.”

So how do you handle the first phone call? The first date? The first kiss? How can you overcome your shyness, and the nerves that go with it, to navigate the murky waters of coming on too strong or not strong enough? To appear confident and in control, even when you’re not? Here are some expert dating tips especially for shy guys to help you sail through.

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Challenge your inner critic

As a shy male, you probably have a little voice inside you telling you you’re not good enough. Turn that negative thinking around. “It’s a good idea to have a mantra, motto or affirmation on hand for these moments,” says psychologist and relationship expert Melanie Schilling. “Set it up as a daily reminder on your phone; choose an image that represents the uplifting phrase and make it your laptop wallpaper; or write it on a Post-it note and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. This will jolt your unhelpful voice out of its patterns and shift you into a lighter, more constructive and confident place.”

Be honest

Resist the temptation to create a misleading image, Colin cautions. “If you over-embellish in your dating profile, then you will find it challenging meeting up in person. Keep your profile honest so when you go on dates you can feel comfortable that she won’t be disappointed.”

Choose your first-date setting wisely

Seek out an environment you know you’ll be comfortable in. “I would avoid going to the movies or any particularly loud venue,” advises Colin. “Also avoid places that are too intimate, as it could be awkward, and other people listening is a concern for many shy people. I like weekend daytime dates or an early coffee after work, which could lead to dinner if things go well. The first few dates should be very casual until it’s obvious you like each other.”

Focus on your body language

Boost your confidence before you even leave the house with this easy hack, recommends Schilling: “Stand in a powerful posture, shoulders back, chin slightly up, using open gestures and smile! Adopting high-status body language can make you feel more confident and psychologically prepared.”

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Get in the moment

“When you are shy, you are in your head – meaning, you are self-focused,” Colin points out. “What you have to do is get out of your own head. Take a breath and switch your focus onto her. Learn about her and what her interests are, as opposed to how you’re coming across and how well you are doing.”

Own your shyness

Being a shy man is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, as Colin says, “Shyness can be attractive, as can confidence.” Schilling agrees. “Many women love a shy guy or ‘beta male’,” she enthuses, “especially those who have been hurt by extroverted or overly confident men. These women will be drawn to your humility, kindness or generosity, and won’t care that you’re not the life of the party. It’s important to play to your strengths and focus on what you are, rather than what you are not.”

Read her signals

“Women constantly give you signals about their level of attraction to you,” Schilling says. “You just have to pay attention. Watch her, listen to her; it will soon become clear if she’s into you or not. In the current #metoo climate, it’s more important than ever that you get this right.”

Don’t be afraid to step up

If you feel your first date went well and you built up a good rapport, be forthright about asking for a second date. “This is sometimes easier said than done,” Schilling acknowledges, “so take advantage of the range of communication mediums available to you. You don’t have to ask her face-to-face – you can send a text, an email or a social media message.”

Go for the first kiss on the second date

Initiating the first kiss is always a risky move, whether you’re shy or not, Colin points out. “But taking a risk and going in for a kiss is part of dating. It is never guaranteed that she will kiss you back, but failing to make a move can also lead to rejection. Look for signs that the date is going well. Do you feel a good connection? Is she laughing regularly, even touching you occasionally? These could be signs that she would be open to a kiss. If she has agreed to meet up again and is displaying any of the aforementioned behaviour, the risk is worth taking.”

Remember, above all, that dating is fun

“Take the pressure off yourself before you even go on the date,” advises Colin. “Remind yourself that this is not a job interview, it’s a date. This is about two people connecting. Keep it fun, keep it light and if it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. There will be other dates in the future. It’s all a learning experience, isn’t it?”

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