Do you consider yourself to be a shy type of woman?
Whether you’ve always been quiet and reserved at parties or timid and nervous when having to make a presentation, almost everyone can probably admit to feeling at least a little bit shy to a certain degree at some point.
If you’re like me, then you consider shyness to be a part of your identity.
Perhaps you’ve always been shy, and you can’t imagine ever not being shy, because it’s just “the way you’re wired.”
But a certain degree of shyness can sometimes get in the way of becoming the type of person you want to be and finding the guy you’re meant to be with — to the point where something needs to be done if you’re serious about coming out of your shell and finally meeting Mr. Right.
All of us may be “wired” in a very unique and intricate way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t untangle some of it for our own benefit.
Here are some very practical and actionable tips that have helped me open up.
Take a deep breath and write down all the situations that trigger your worst states of shyness around men.
Pull out a piece of paper and make a list of every situation that makes you want to curl up into a ball until it’s all over.
To start, you might first identify that you feel shy around men you’ve just met, guys in authoritative positions, men you find physically attractive or even men you really admire for their accomplishments.
Now you can elaborate on this.
If you get shy around men you’ve just met, you might add “attending parties” or “online dating” to your list.
If you’re shy around men in high professional positions, you might add “men with corporate jobs” or “men who have more than a Bachelor’s degree.”
Ask yourself, “How do I react in these situations?”
Your shyness might cause you to blush, avoid eye contact, stutter, sweat, tremble, feel your heart rate rise, tense up your muscles,or be at a loss for words.
These are all normal reactions, and they always seem far worse to you than what others can see.
Write down your reactions next to each situation item from the first step.
Now ask yourself, “What am I thinking when I’m reacting this way?”
Embarrassing reactions that stem from shyness feed off of your thoughts and end up looping over and over again.
So, if you think you feel ugly when talking to an attractive guy, you might end up blushing, and then you think you look even uglier because of how red your face is, so you blush even more.
For each reaction, write down as many thoughts as you can that trigger those reactions.
Be as detailed as you can.
Look at each situation from a different perspective to challenge your typical thoughts and reactions.
For this step, it helps to put yourself in the guy’s shoes by imagining a situation where you’re interacting with a woman (a.k.a. yourself) who’s experiencing the same thought processes and reactions as you usually do.
Write down what you’d see or feel about that person.
For example, if someone blushed in front of you, would that automatically make them unattractive to you?
Probably not, in fact, you may hardly even notice them blushing.
If you were a guy who worked in high finance and you were talking to a woman who worked as a cashier, would you be able to know how intensely small and insignificant that woman feels on the inside compared to you?
Certainly not, and even if her shy reactions did show a bit, you likely wouldn’t judge the whole of their character based on the slight tremble of their voice or sweaty handshake.
This helps open up your mind.
It doesn’t exactly solve the problem yet, but it’s a start.
Stay aware of your thought processes and choose to react differently next time you’re around a guy.
The first four steps were easy.
Now comes the hard part, where you have to actually change your behavior in those situations when shyness tends to overtake you.
Try to start with something small, and look at it like you’re conducting an experiment.
Get curious about whether your original thoughts are true or not by pushing through rather than going into hiding, regardless of what reactions might occur.
So, for example, let’s say you think that the guy you just started dating is talking to his friends about you.
When you finally meet his friends, you might keep your head down or turned toward your side to avoid looking directly at their faces.
Instead, try keeping your head forward and eyes fixed on everyone to determine whether your hypothesis is true.
You might blush anyway, but you’ll also find out what happens, which will likely end up being far more in line with some of the other thoughts you wrote out in the previous step.
Consider the outcome with an unbiased and open mind.
You can never truly know what another person is thinking, even when you do carry out these sorts of experiments.
In many cases, people who do this sort of experimentation discover that their thoughts stemming from shyness don’t always accurately reflect what’s going on in reality.
This type of experimentation can also help take the attention off of yourself and allow you to come to more of a neutral conclusion when answers aren’t quite clear.
For example, maybe the guy you’ve been dating has only said nice things about you to his friends — and even if you did get an awkward look from one of his friends upon meeting them, there’s a big possibility that it had nothing to do with you at all.
The fifth step is often hard to do, because it’s not intuitive and involves accepting that things won’t go perfectly and you might blush, sweat or tremble anyway.
With enough slow and steady experimentation, though, real progress can be made and your entire thought process can eventually shift.