How To Talk To A Girl If Shy

Men's Dating

Expert Opinion: How to Talk to a Girl If You’re Shy (5 Tips)

Hunt Ethridge

Written by: Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge is the co-founder and CMO of the as well as senior advisor and board of directors at other firms.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!

We’re not really taught any sort of interpersonal skills specifically when we were growing up.  You just kinda had to pick it up along the way.  Some studies in England are looking at ways of bringing lessons on interpersonal skills into school curriculum to help everyone learn to be more social or to interact with others well.

If you didn’t have an extrovert take you under their wing, or you had parents that weren’t great at communicating, it can seem extremely daunting to just….go up and talk to people.  A lot of people get really shy at this point, and that can keep you from inserting yourself into situations where good things can happen!  In fact, one of my most popular articles ever was “Do guys find shy girls attractive?”

And on Wikihow, there are over 1 million views on a post on this topic.  Well, like everything, the good news is that it’s something that you can definitely practice and get good at.

1. Practice on People When There is Nothing at Stake

One of the first things that stops people is what’s called approach anxiety. The very fact of walking up to someone, them noticing you and entering their area, is no small thing! It can feel like walking up to a land mine and make you feel totally anxious. So practice on people with whom there is nothing at stake for you. Nothing at stake for you means you don’t want to date them or become friends with them, or really even strike up a long convo with them.

Practice with workers in stores, customer service agents, cashiers, and other people you interact with in daily life. Now let me be perfectly clear, this is not an excuse to hit on anyone captive in their job – this is simply to practice interactions. Even if the person is a guy, still do it, because it’s going to give you practice.  

Photo of a man talking on the phone
Practice making conversation while on the phone with customer service reps.

This is not time to try and find a date. I was on a really annoying call with my insurance recently that lasted an hour. In that time, I found out the agent had moved out to North Dakota to be with his girlfriend, but she dumped him and now he’s trying to figure out if he should try and build a life there himself or move back to his hometown and lots more! Just making conversation. 

Now, the point is to be polite, smile and be brief. Something like, “Can you point me in the direction of sneakers?  Thanks!” and [while checking out, noticing the name tag] “Afternoon, Sharise, how’s the day treating you?” or maybe “Which of these two shirts do you like best? Awesome, appreciate it.”

2. It’s Not About What You Say in Your Approach

I had a client who absolutely believed that you HAD to have the perfect pickup line/approach/phrase to make it work when attempting to talk to a new person. To prove a point, I asked him to give me any sentence in the English language.

Him: “Huh?”

Me: “I said, ‘Give me any sentence in the English language, and I will use that sentence as my approach sentence to the next group of people we speak to.’”

Him: “Oh, OK! [Not very creatively] Um, ‘I like to eat oranges.’”

Me: walks up to group of people, “I like to eat oranges.”

Them: *silence*

Me: “…is what I’d name my boat if I won the lottery! What about you?”

Them: “Oh, that’s funny, I’d do…..”

Him: *silent amazement*

The point is, you absolutely do not need to have the perfect thing to say, so don’t worry about that. It’s more about the fact that you did muster up the courage to come and say hello.

Most people are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt if you come up to chat with them. Once you understand that a bit, just walking up and sticking out your hand, smiling and saying, “Hi, I’m Hunt. Nice to meet you! What’s your name?” is all you really need!

3. Speaking of Smiling…Smile!

We all need to smile more. Newscasters do it all day, every day. When they speak, they smile.  We don’t necessarily notice it consciously, but we do at a deeper level, and it makes us feel safe and secure and happier. 

And yet when we speak to dates, we often forget to smile.  In fact, sometimes we do the opposite, we can scrunch our face out of nervousness. Even while it’s nervousness that drives it, your face could look mad or angry. So practice one simple sentence while smiling in the mirror.  

Yes, I said it, practice in the mirror!  “Hi, I’m [insert your name here], nice to meet you!” That’s it. But it will feel weird in your cheeks because you’ve not used those muscles while speaking before. So get the muscle memory going and practice how you look when you introduce yourself.

4. Wait for the Right Moment

Wait for the right moment to go talk to someone. When they’re buried in their phone is not the time.  When they’re busy rushing down the street — also not the time. And asking women to take off their headphones to have a chat is definitely not the time!

Photo of a woman on headphones
Don’t approach a person if they’re busy listening to something else.

Instead, wait for your opportune moment. Go where people have a little bit of disposable time. Coffee shops, museums, art galleries, book stores, commuting, waiting in line, etc. Some will say the gym, but I don’t think that’s a great place. Hopefully, you and the girl have met eyes, or she’s taking a break and walking around stretching or she’s just gazing. Once there’s a natural break, it’s a good time to approach.

5. Admit Shyness and Weakness Into Strength

“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu is an ancient book on battle tactics. Now, dating isn’t a battle, but everything is a tactic. One of the points he makes is to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

I once had a client with a large mole, and he would get embarrassed when people noticed it. Eventually, he started approaching people and saying, “My mole and I would like to buy you a drink.” And it slayed! The ladies loved it. He turned something that, to him, was an insecurity and used it to do something no one else could.

If you are shy, admit it! Acting a little withdrawn or non-communicative can come across as not interested or any number of other emotions. But if you said something like, “’Scuze me or my silences.  I’m a little shy and you’re really pretty,” she’s going to understand the reasoning and most times, it’ll actually help you. “Oooooooh, no problem. Yeah, I used to be really shy too. Where do you go to school?”

Shy Guys Have Their Own Appeal in the Dating World

Loud and extroverted people may seem like they always get the advantage, but that’s because a nice, quiet, intense romance doesn’t necessarily sell movie tickets. Plenty of people prefer shy folks because they’re perceived as more trustworthy, loyal, and intuitive.  

Don’t go to all the loud places expecting to find a good mate. Figure out where the shy people go. Where do you go? Try that, and hopefully you can find a fellow soul mate to sit in companionable silence with you.