Q&A: How Can I Go Off Shyness?

Dear Juliette,

I find it uneasy dating a lady. The fact is, I am shy. How can I go off shyness?

My Dear Reader,

I am no psychologist but it seems likely to me that shyness is a psychological issue that you can probably train yourself out of. It has been said that women find confidence to be the most attractive quality in men, and one of my favorite expressions relates to it : Fake it till you make it.

confidenceI am an example of the success of this concept, being a somewhat shy and introverted person in my teens. I was outgoing only around people who knew me well or if I drank. So inevitably, I always drank in social situations in order to ease my way out of my shell, talk to new people, and voice my many opinions. So, the drinking method DOES work as long as you can control it, which most people cannot. Also the hangovers the following day and griping over never wanting to drink again were often not worth the effort of talking to a few new people. So eventually I realized I needed to come up with a different way of easing my aversion to talking to new people, a way where in business or public situations when thrown a curveball, I could hit it.

This is where the concept of faking it began. If you sit and imagine (or even better, make a list because who doesn’t love lists?) the characteristics of who you would like to be, you will probably find that most of the qualities bear many similarities with your current personality, because as you grow up you are able to decide for yourself what types of interests, career, friends, hobbies you want to have. The only aspects missing might be a lack of confidence or a missing ability to talk to women. Then, think of confident figures (be it in real life, history or fiction) who you would like to be more like. James Bond, Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne come to mind…mostly action/super heroes…but that is just my own enthusiasm for action heroes talking. Think about how they speak to women, how they treat them, how they effortlessly find things to say to them. Then try to imagine yourself doing it. Watch movies, read books or watch interviews with the figures whose confidence you envy the most and then, go out and try to do it. Buy a girl a drink from across a bar. Make sure it is a drink you think she will like. Usually if a girl accepts, she is at least humoring you. It opens the door for you to go talk to her if she doesn’t take it upon herself to come talk to you. You might strike out, you might get laughed at, she might have a boyfriend (beware of jealous boyfriends, always) but with your newfound fake confidence you will be able to take it like a champ and carry on with your night like it is nothing. All women are different, but most women find charm in a classy confident man regardless of the particular type they usually go for. And with every attempt, you will learn a lesson about your technique and you will gain experience in talking to different types of women which will give you confidence in the very subject of your concentration. With faking the qualities you admire, you learn how to become the confident man you want to be.

This doesn’t necessarily come easily. The film “Crazy, Stupid, Love” comes to mind. It is an excellent story about a heartbroken middle-aged man who is taught how to date by a young strapping player with commitment issues. I am not suggesting going out and not calling girls again as this player character does, but the instructions he gives to the older man are accurate. The way you dress is important. The drink you choose and the way you drink it is important. Ask a woman questions while complimenting her and let her talk about herself. Those are very valid ways to keep women engaged in conversation with you.

I have also always said that pop culture trivia can be a very easy way to include strangers into conversations. For example, sitting with a group of friends arguing about who was the best Batman, or James Bond, who is the best Avenger. Once again these would be the types of pop cultural icons I would be interested in, and I am no ordinary girl. Pop culture in your part of the world concerning more feminine icons would probably work better, but the point is that it is a common subject that anyone can be a part of if they are interested in the group of people asking them. Then suddenly once they are part of your conversation regarding a non-creepy non-sexual topic, you are making introductions and talking about whatever you want.

Another suggestion if you do not have a large group of friends or do not frequent bar scenes is to join clubs or classes or groups where you are forced to meet new people. There is probably a public speaking class somewhere in your area you could take where you are forcibly required to speak in front of groups of people which may help loosen you up for more important endeavors such as talking to women. And who knows what type of people attend these classes, maybe the types of women you are interested in, maybe women who are shy like you.

And obviously, I will refer you to my favorite two websites; www.plentyoffish.com and www.okcupid.com where you can familiarize yourself with individual women’s personalities and interests before you meet them. You can email each other for as long as you want before going to the next step, so that by then you already know what you have in common. You might already have inside jokes, and know things about each other to making talking in person easier. From emailing you might want to talk on the phone for a while before you meet, however I do find that sometimes talking on the phone is even more awkward because gaps of silence are more noticeable on the phone than they are in a lounge or restaurant where there are other things going on.

The best advice is to find girls looking for what you are looking for (whatever that might be) on dating websites. You avoid the dreaded face to face smackdown, jealous boyfriends, and by the time you meet the woman, you already know she is at least somewhat interested in you. Email back and forth with a lot of women to become more comfortable with putting in place your fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence. If you hit it off with any of them, talk on the phone once or twice to set up a date and then go meet her in a public place and see how it goes being sweet and complimentary while asking her questions about herself. Keep the conversation about her to make her feel special, and throw in details about yourself as you go along.  Never forget to highlight your best qualities, but always remember to behave like the confident man you WANT to be, and eventually you will become that man. And if you really like her, pick up the bill. James Bond, Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark would never let a lady pay for her own drinks!

Anonymous and hassle-free, Juliette gives her honest opinion regarding online dating, and modern relationships. All questions submitted will be answered no matter how idiotic, or sexist, or crass, or naive, or bewildering. So don’t be scared…no one will know it’s you she’s mouthing off to if you ask a question you can’t ask anybody else. Juliette wants to scream her advice over the rooftops for the good of all mankind, so bring forth your questions dear readers! Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Juliette’s blog to ensure you get your answer.

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