A few days ago I was chatting with a (guy) friend of mine when he ruefully mentioned his mundane (non-existent) love-life. There are many girls he knows and likes but he hasn’t been able to muster the courage to actually “propose” them, i.e. go up to them and tell them how he feels. Let down by himself, he’s finally checking out the matchmaking sites, in search of a match for an arranged marriage.
Photo by Megyarsh
Shyness can be a real hindrance when it comes to dating and kick-starting your love-life. What can be a greater regret than liking someone for a long time, then seeing them taken away just because you could never voice your feelings? No, you don’t want that.
What is shyness?
Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci of the Shyness Research Institute (yes it exists) sees shyness as a sum of three components:
– You’re conscious of what you’re doing, what you’re saying, how you’re behaving and especially what people are making of you, particularly when around people.
2.Excessive Negative Self-Evaluation
–You have a negative view of yourself.
3.Excessive Negative Self-Preoccupation
– You’re too hard on yourself. Of all the things that you do, the ones which you’re doing wrong catch your attention immediately, but the ones you’re doing right don’t. Especially when you’re around people.
Where does self-consciousness come from? The first advice you’ll get when you ask anyone (including Google) about overcoming self-consciousness is that, “You’re far less important than you think you are,” or “People really don’t have so much time to think about you.” When I was in college, I came to know, through a friend, that some guys (guys, not girls) were making fun of me among themselves saying, “Why on earth does she wear strap shoes when she’s wearing a skirt?” Yeah right-I was thinking all along that they were giving me even more attention than this. The moral of this story is that no, you don’t have to believe that “you’re not so important” bu*****t. People enjoy talking about (and criticizing) others. Often more, not less, than you think. (Where did the word ‘gossip’ come from??)
BUT, not everyone is gossiping about the same person all the time. While you’ll be shocked at the levels of attention some people have paid you (the skirt-shoe thing) at some point of time, you’ll be equally surprised (pleasantly) to know how soon they forgot about you and moved on to dissect some other hopeless victim’s life. So learn to believe that you’re getting just about 50% of the attention you think you’re getting, at an aggregate level.
The first and foremost reason for people feeling shy around the opposite sex (particularly men feeling shy around women) is fear of rejection. Why is the possibility of rejection becoming so enormous in your mind? Because you often judge yourself negatively. You’re imagining you don’t have enough positive in you to offer to your love interest, and so the probability of rejection is higher.
Photo by Meddygarnet
Wake up!! We all have talents and shortcomings, including those gossipmongers who’re looking at you and judging you. The way to break free of overly negative self-images is treating social interactions like math-something that has to be practiced on a regular basis. Make it a point to initiate conversation with at least 1 person-preferably someone new-every day. Think of it as purely an exercise, with zero emotional involvement from your side in the conversation. Many a times the people you approach will not pay you any attention (yes for some mysterious reason people often forget that being nice is FREE). But equally often they will. Through this process you’ll realize you’re just another normal person-who’s not disliked in general more than any other person. And so the chances of rejection from your dream girl (or prince) are not abnormally high as you imagine. To reduce those chances even further approach her at the right moment.
Keep a journal with you. List all the things you’ve done right in a day. If you want you can also make a parallel list of the things you’ve done wrong, but I don’t think you need to (since picking your own faults is something you’re good at anyway). Once again you’ll realize you’re doing about as much percentage of all the things right as is the normal average person. And what’s more, you’ll realize you were not only noticing every wrong, but looking at them with a magnifying glass.
Make small promises to yourself everyday and keep them-like talking to a new person everyday, which I just mentioned. When you’ll realize that you’re able to keep these promises you’ll feel much more capable and confident. Approaching your crush will become that much easier.
Any other strategy you used to overcome your shyness around the opposite sex? Let us know through the comment thingy.