Dating advice for shy people?
October 28, 2012 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Dating advice for introverted/shy women (or men!)?

I'm a little shy, very introverted and not at all aggressive. I tend to have two related problems in dating:
1. I don't know how to approach/ask out guys I'm interested in.
2. The only guys who ask me out are bold and aggressive, when I'd rather be with someone sweet and low-key.

I think my shyness makes me seem hard to approach or intimidating to people who are shy themselves. I don't make any moves on my own, and the only people who feel comfortable approaching me are outgoing enough to not be deterred by the wall I unconsciously build around myself. I'm ready for this to change. How can I make myself more approachable? How do I stop giving off this vibe that makes only aggressive guys confident enough to ask me out? Has anyone been in a similar situation?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Obvious suggestion, but have you tried online dating? It's no panacea of course (it hasn't worked very well for me at all), but it does at the very least help overcome the initial difficulty of asking people out.
posted by DRMacIver at 2:18 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

You don't know how to approach guys you're interested in. But if you're interested in them they must be okay dudes, so it should be alright to talk to them like they're normal people. It only takes 10 seconds to ask someone if they want to go somewhere or hang-out. You don't have to be extroverted to pull that off. Obviously you might get burned, but that's the worse that can happen.
posted by jumelle at 2:38 PM on October 28, 2012

I think number 2 is a really good point for anyone. A guy needs to get a little bold to ask someone out. I think, in the short term, you might have to do the asking. Think of movies where a girl says, "well, aren't you going to ask me out?"
posted by jander03 at 2:52 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm a shy (in person) guy -- I have never been good at asking out women in person. I would strongly encourage you to look online: not only because it will be easier for you to find guys, but also because sweet and low-key guys will be more comfortable approaching you.

Please do not get dating tips from movies.
posted by modernserf at 3:23 PM on October 28, 2012

From an introvert, who prefers to date other introverts: Body language is big on seeming approachable. Smile at them. Meet their eyes. It's amazing what a difference that can make. Sometimes as a shy person you're not too aware of your outward appearance. A lot of shy people can come off as stand-offish if their faces appear too serious (which attracts mainly aggressive guys who want a challenge). Uncross your arms. Take off any headphones you may be wearing. Look up from your book periodically. Interestingly, this can help you to *feel* more open. (And recognize that if a guy appears stand-offish, he may simply be shy also!)

This book was helpful to me in understanding some unconscious signals I was sending as a shy person. Likewise, you can watch for the body language of aggressive guys, and steer yourself away from the Alpha Male.

If you like a less forward guy, suggest an opportunity to hang out casually (as some of the others have recommended). Go on little adventures. After awhile, find a way to brush his arm or hand. If you give him enough hints, and he likes you, he'll figure out a way to ask you out. Chat on instant messenger in between (or text every so often). Drop flirty wink faces. If all else fails, be direct. The worst he can say is no.

I found online dating helpful (I recommend OKCupid -- free and a lot of variety), because many introverts hang out there. It's a good way to practice communicating in a low-risk environment. The words of dating can come easier verbally once you use them in writing.
posted by iadacanavon at 3:31 PM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could go up to a seemingly low key, shy guy you like, and say "you seem like a pretty low key guy. do you avoid asking out girls like me because you're shy, because you're polite, or because you're not interested?"
posted by davejay at 3:50 PM on October 28, 2012

SIRC Guide to Flirting
posted by rhizome at 4:46 PM on October 28, 2012

Smiles will attract a guy who otherwise might be put off.
posted by Postroad at 5:51 PM on October 28, 2012

You might just have to ask them out yourself, and explicitly use the word "date." There are some really dense men out there. I say this as someone who recently found out that a female friend may have had not-wholly-platonic intentions when she walked up to me in the middle of a grocery store half a decade ago and invited me back to her apartment to hang out.
posted by d. z. wang at 6:17 PM on October 28, 2012

Eye contact is a good way to let a guy know you are interested, but why wait? Just go up to a guy and say "hey, would you like to get a cup of coffee?" It's that simple.
posted by adamrice at 7:31 PM on October 28, 2012

Yep to OKCupid. Also sit down and really try to imagine yourself meeting a shy, sweet guy. How would that happen? What would be the circumstances? How would it begin? How would it build? How we he communicate his interest? How would that make you feel? How would you respond?

When you're done, put yourself in the place of the shy guy and go do what you imagined he would do.
posted by vecchio at 11:12 PM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

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