You’re looking for love but there’s one problem – you’re painfully shy and hate the idea of ‘singles events’ and getting yourself ‘out there’. Online dating is fine…until you have to stop hiding behind the computer screen and actually meet up in person. If being shy is stopping you from finding love, here are some top tips to help:
BEFORE YOU START DATING
Tip 1: Spruce up your wardrobe
If the last time you spruced up your wardrobe was when your mum bought you a suit for your graduation, it’s time to hit the shops! You don’t have to spend a fortune to look stylish. If you’re not sure about the dress code, smart-casual is always better than scruffy as it shows you’ve made the effort. Opt for a crisp, clean shirt and remember this top tip: women always pay attention to a man’s shoes. There’s no need to change your look drastically though, after all if you’ve met online, you’ve probably exchanged photos anyway. Always wear something that makes you feel good in yourself rather than what you think your date expects you to wear.
Tip 2: Grooming
Have a good look in the mirror and ask yourself: “does this hairstyle really suit me?” If you’ve been fond of your mullet since you were 15, it’s officially time for the chop. A new haircut can be a great confidence booster, so splash out on a visit to a decent barber and see what they can do. Make sure your nails are clean and trim and don’t let your facial hair get out of control either. If you’ve gained the nickname of ‘Mr Monobrow’, it may be the right time to grab the tweezers. A nice aftershave can make all the difference too, so why not treat yourself?
Just don’t go too far when it comes to the image revamping – if you do a ‘Ross from Friends’ and opt for a last-minute spray tan or teeth whitening session before your date, it could go horribly wrong…
Tip 3: Go to more social events
If you’re not used to social functions and spend most of your time alone, then you should start going to meet up events to build up your confidence before you start dating. There are so many things going on, from local networking events that are relevant to your interests to gallery open evenings, language/food classes or even the gym/your local sports clubs. Who knows, you might even meet Miss Right at one of these gatherings?
Tip 4: Make a list of your positive qualities
You may have been single for a while, but don’t let this get you down. Instead of thinking negatively about yourself – it’s time for some positive self-evaluation. Get into the habit of thinking of the pros rather than the cons and make a list of all the positive things happening in your life to give yourself a confidence boost. Whenever you’re feeling down, just picture a positive past situation or something that makes you happy.
Tip 5: Mirror check
This might sound a little silly to you, but if you usually avoid the mirror, then looking at yourself could reveal a lot about how other people see you. Is your usual posture a slouch? Are your shoulders hunched over? You might not have even noticed that your body language is revealing your nervousness. Practise standing confidently and greeting people with a smile (nobody is watching if you’re just at home in front of the mirror…)
DURING THE DATE
Tip 6: Avoid the limp lettuce handshake
You’ve scored yourself a date and it’s time to meet at last. The first 30 seconds are crucial, so don’t let ‘Mr sweaty palm limp lettuce leaf’ handshake ruin everything. The extreme alternative to the limp handshake is having a grip like a vice, so to avoid either of these scenarios, ditch the formal handshake and instead just give your date a hug (and a kiss on the cheek if you feel it’s appropriate).
Tip 7: Be assertive and take charge
Girls love it when a guy already has plans for a date, so pick somewhere you like and take charge of the evening. There’s nothing worse than a guy who agrees with everything a girl says. For example, when it comes to ordering off the menu, if you say: “I’ll have whatever you’re having”, and she responds: “well I’ll have what you’re having…” you could be talking about it all night! If she’s very shy too, take the initiative and order two different dishes and say: “if you don’t like yours, we can swap.”
Tip 8: Compliment her
There’s nothing that breaks the ice quite like a lovely compliment – so when you see your date, think of something nice to say about her image (whether that’s her hairstyle or her clothing choice for example). Women love to feel desirable and appreciate it when you notice the effort they’ve made to look good for the date. Just be careful when you’re nervous and thinking off the cuff and don’t say the first thing that comes into your head like: “Oh I’ve always loved that perfume! It’s the same one my Mum wears…”
Tip 9: Watch out for any nervous habits
Do you pick your nails, touch your face, fiddle with your clothes or drum your fingers on the table when you get nervous? The more aware you are of these nervous habits, the more likely you are to stop doing them so always be conscious of what your hands are doing.
Tip 10: Eye contact
Eye contact is really important when it comes to good communication. If you look your date in the eyes when you speak to her, it shows she is the focus of your attention and it really helps you to connect. If you don’t feel confident making eye contact, why not make an active effort to focus on this with people you talk to before your date?
Tip 11: Write a ‘cheat sheet’ of topics to talk about
If the thought of awkward silences on dates fills you with dread, why not prepare a note on your phone with a shortcut to topics you can talk about? This can be anything from your hobbies and interests, to the things you know your date is interested in. Sometimes if you’re both shy, it’s good to have a list of these cues to fall back on. If the conversation isn’t flowing, you can pop to the Gents and quickly check the emergency cheat sheet in the notes on your phone. Don’t start looking at your phone when you’re with your date though as she might just think you’re being rude and texting someone else!
Tip 12: Eat food you’ve tried before
Never feel like you have to conform to impress your date. If she’s a sushi lover and you’ve never tried it, don’t plan a first date at a sushi restaurant or you may find your dinner slipping off the plate instead of into your mouth. Also avoid any messy foods or acquired tastes – there’s nothing that ruins a date quite as much as a guy running to the bathroom! Watch your table manners too – if you eat like a caveman when you’re at home (chewing the meat off ribs then throwing the bones on the table for example) this isn’t the way to act on a date.
Tip 13: Photos on your phone
If you’ve forgotten what’s on the cheat sheet and the conversation isn’t flowing, your phone is the perfect fallback for those silent moments. Show your date some interesting photos of your friends, family, pets or any places you’ve been to recently (Note: just be careful when scrolling through your gallery that there isn’t anything there that you don’t want her to see…)
Tip 14: Imagine you’re with your family and friends
Are you shy when you’re out with your best friends? I don’t think so…
The only reason you are shy is because you’re on your own, this is a new person in your life and you’re putting too much pressure on yourself and the ‘situation’. Imagine it’s a pressure-free environment and act like you would with your friends and family. Don’t try to over-think things, instead just be yourself and focus on having fun.
Tip 15: Pay attention to her body language
Is your date looking away from you? Checking her watch? Does she look bored? Does she move away every time you move closer? Maybe she keeps talking about her ex. If you’re observant, you should be able to tell if a woman is into you or not, and this could save you the embarrassment of a rejected kiss (or a slap in the face) on her doorstep.
Tip 16: It doesn’t always have to be a ‘one-on-one’ date
If it’s the one-on-one scenario that terrifies you, there are plenty of other dating options. Why not opt for a double date with your mates or a singles dinner party? Perhaps you could go speed-dating with a couple of friends, or if you’ve met someone online, suggest you all meet up for a night out as a group. On the upside if you don’t fancy her, she may have a friend who’s even better…
AFTER THE DATE
Tip 17: Text to check that she got home ok
Nothing spells out ‘true gentleman’ quite like a guy who checks a girl got home safely and texts to say he’s had a lovely time. She’ll be impressed that you care and are thoughtful enough to message her.
Tip 18: Remember any ‘clues’ from the date
If she spent the whole evening telling you how much she loves the theatre, why not suggest a second date watching one of her favourite musicals? Women subconsciously always drop hints and it’s over to you to pick up on them.
Tip 19: Play it cool…
The date went well, you feel on top of the world and all you want to do is inundate her with text messages and see her again as soon as possible. STOP. Just because you’ve had a good first date, this doesn’t mean that you’ve found ‘the one’ and you might scare her off by being too keen. If you send her eight messages in a row and she doesn’t respond – don’t persist. Play it cool and wait for her to get in touch with you…
Tip 20: If this one didn’t work out – plan the next date with someone new
You’ve got the new outfit, you were brave enough to go on the date – but it didn’t work out. Should you feel despondent and stop dating because of this one experience? No! See it all as experience and know that every date you go on, the more confident you’ll feel…
Shy guys can be very endearing – they’re not arrogant, they don’t brag and they’re lovely to be around, so don’t see your shyness as a bad thing. Act like you do around close friends and family and recognise all your good qualities rather than focussing on the negatives. If you feel good about yourself, this will shine through when you meet others. So get planning your next date and go find the girl of your dreams!
Image via weheartit.