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For women who are more extroverted and gregarious, holiday parties and mixers can bring excitement. However, they can also stir up a great deal of anxiety in women who tend to be shy.
Well rest assured dear introverts, this article is for you. Together we will break down the common dating obstacles so you can move forward toward getting what you want — a happy relationship.
Dating for the introverts can feel like navigating a Tough Mudder competition — initially agonizing with lots of electric fences and free falls along the way. The hope is there is a bountiful reward waiting for you at the end of the course.
Most people want companionship, but the urge to avoid the anxiety that accompanies dating often derails one’s desire to jump into the dating scene.
For some, online dating can be a step in the right direction. The problem becomes when it is time to meet face to face, it’s met with great hesitation and even perhaps self-sabotage.
Shy folks, do not feel alone. It is in fact quite common and experienced across a spectrum.
Shyness can range from mild to moderate to hive-inducing anxiety. Some people are overwhelmed with intense and persistent fear of being judged and/or humiliated in a social situation.
This is known as social phobia. Social phobia can interfere with one’s social, professional and family life. Seeing a therapist to treat social phobia can be incredibly helpful and even alter your future by learning new skills to cope.
If you fall into the shy category, including social phobia, remember you’re not alone.
Many people, in fact 40% of respondents in a study, identify themselves as being shy. Shyness is characterized as feeling worried, awkward or tense when socializing.
Many shy people ruminate over what they’re going to say in a conversation, hesitate when initiating a conversation or speak really fast, in hopes of pushing through the conversation.
Remember, even if you’re anxious, it’s likely the other person doesn’t see just how anxious you feel. Just keeping this in mind might help mitigate your anxiety levels.
Shy people are infamous for being their worst critic and nitpicking every detail of their interaction with others.
My first advice is to have compassion for yourself. Keep things in perspective.
“Taking smart, calculated risks will
likely lead to a positive outcome.”
Do you critique (or notice) every behavior other people make? Probably not because you are so conscious of your own actions.
Well most likely the other person is equally concerned about the impression they are making on you!
My point is you are not alone, so take a deep breath, be in the moment and let the conversation flow.
Here are six tips for shy LGBT daters.
What’s so bad about being shy? In fact, shy people are commonly viewed as good listeners, humble and mysterious.
Embrace being shy because there’s nothing wrong with it. Imagine if everyone in the room tried to be the center of attention, the world would certainly be a chaotic, loud and overwhelming place!
Tackling a challenge vs. avoiding it. This is the hallmark for reducing anxiety.
Positively influence your feelings by positively changing your behavior. This means going to events that make you anxious, staying for at least 45 minutes (usually anxiety will reduce after this time) and giving yourself credit for trying something different.
Note how you feel before you go to an event and afterward. Most likely you will have experienced positive feelings (reward) after attending an event (risk).
Do this in small steps. Ask a co-worker how their day is going, call an old friend, go out with a friend/family member with a goal of meeting one new person.
Set realistic goals and start with a new behavior you could begin today. Building confidence by socializing can change your view of self and challenge distorted beliefs that otherwise would increase anxiety.
If you believe “No one will like me,” what factual events in your life prove that thought to be wrong? Make a list of those events/facts that prove this emotionally driven thought is inaccurate.
You will find yourself creating a new, “balanced” thought. Try new behaviors to test if your thoughts are distorted.
A hint: Black and white thinking such as “it’s good or bad,” “never,” “always,” “what if” or any other extreme statements are likely to be distorted.
Once identified, change distorted thoughts to factual “new thoughts” and your mood will change.
Anxiety helps us to plan for situations, so channel it in an effective way. Problem solve for the different “what if” thoughts you may have.
If you are thinking, “What if I say something embarrassing?” write out how you could realistically handle that situation.
You will come to realize just how effective you could be in different situations.
If you’re anxious to take someone out to a new restaurant, go there a few days before the date to see how parking is, try the food and get comfortable with the place.
All of this pre-planning behavior can reduce anxiety.
What can you gain from going to an event?
Stay in the moment and try to enjoy the small things. Additionally, change expectations and give yourself permission to observe the party vs. expecting yourself to be a socialite.
Hopefully by now you can see how important state of mind is in anxiety reduction.
What is also important is to face your anxieties by taking smart, calculated risks which will likely lead to a positive outcome.
Doing this on a regular basis will bolster your confidence and reduce your anxiety, perhaps even make it a thing of the past!
Desensitization is the process of reducing sensitivity. This occurs by repetitively approaching situations for a long enough duration, which will ultimately reduce the intensity of your emotions.
There’s no time like the present, and what better time to try out your new skills than this holiday season?
These tips will hopefully shed new light on one’s tumultuous relationship with shyness and embrace the many strengths it holds! Have a wonderful holiday season!