You look up from your book at the coffee shop and become paralyzed with nervous anticipation as you see the hot guy you’ve been smitten with from afar sit down at the table across the room.He’s alone today and what a great opportunity it would be to finally approach him and introduce yourself. But the anxiety is mounting as you visualize yourself doing this and you bury yourself back in your book.
You feel your face burning as you berate yourself for not having the guts to make yourself known. “He’d never be interested in me!” “I’d just die if he rejected me!” “And what if he did show some interest? What would I say? He’d think I’m a complete idiot and loser the second I’d open my mouth!” These thoughts swirl through your mind as you look up to find another guy has swooped in for the kill and has been invited to sit at the table with the object of your desire. Another missed opportunity!
If you’re a shy guy, and don’t want to be, dating can be a frustrating and daunting experience. When you’re out and about, it looks so easy for other guys to approach and cozy up to other men. Or if you do have advances made toward you, you just want to kick yourself when you freeze up and don’t know what to say and feel like you’ve made a bad impression and scare him off.
This article will shed some light on the symptoms and psychology behind shyness and offer some suggestions for breaking free of its chains that hold you back from experiencing a satisfying social and dating life.
Shyness ranges on a continuum from situational to dispositional. Some people tend to be socially inhibited in just certain types of settings or circumstances, whereas for other people this anxiety tends to be more of a personality trait that is a predominant way of life, manifesting itself in many different types of scenarios across the board.
Shy guys tend to be more introverted, preferring more solitary activities to their extroverted counterparts, who tend to like to recharge their batteries through social contact. Neither is better or worse than the other, though society does tend to favor the more outgoing personality-type and stigmatizes the more quiet, internal individuals. The more important aspect here is whether or not any negative consequences are experienced as a result of one’s particular leanings.
Although there are exceptions, generally speaking many shy guys tend to feel uncomfortable in social situations and dislike having attention called to themselves. This anxiety can be translated into stumbling on their words/stuttering, becoming easily embarrassed, and showing many physical signs of being nervous. They tend to feel judged by others and are highly sensitive to the opinions of others, wanting to avoid any type of criticism or rejection. They can feel inhibited, self-conscious, have a difficult time relaxing, and are very internal and self-focused in the sense that they are very preoccupied with their own thoughts, feelings, and physical reactions. They have a difficult time meeting people, struggle with initiating and maintaining conversations, dread group interactions, and can have a hard time standing up for themselves and voicing their opinions and needs. Unfortunately, many people can misinterpret a shy guy’s behavior as his being snooty, stuck-up, arrogant, or aloof and cold when that’s really not the case at all.
Shy guys often times shine when they are in settings where they feel safe or are around people they know well. They also often perform well in structured situations where the players interact in scripted-like roles where there’s little need for spontaneity or mingling without a purpose.
Positively speaking, shy individuals tend to be very creative and have great imaginations that can lend themselves remarkably well to relationships and situations of leadership and change. Their biggest culprit is the negative self-talk in their heads that minimize their competence and value; if this obstacle could be removed, their quality of life would boost to a much higher level.
[ Part Two - Tomorrow ]
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com