Shyness around women is a common problem for introverts. How can an introvert overcome shyness?
We tend to be shy and quiet people anyway, which is only compounded by the social pressure of approaching the opposite sex or dating.
Luckily we can overcome this shyness and have a great sex/dating life, with some simple changes of mindset and a little bit of work. That’s not to say it’s going to be easy, but it is very much possible – if you want it.
First lets define some terms, which in itself is probably going to change your thinking.
Introversion, Shyness, Quietness
These 3 thing often come together as a package, but they are not the same thing.
When I was younger, I was definitely all 3. It’s important to differentiate between them. Failing to do so makes the idea of changing your social skills both difficult and unappealing.
Introversion is a personality type that opposes extraversion. Introverts tend to be ‘in their head’ and find socialising to be draining. Needing alone time to recharge.
Shyness is a feeling of awkwardness or apprehension around other people or certain situations.
Quietness is the tendency to not speak very much.
Clearly they all go hand in hand, but here’s where taking them all to be the same thing is problematic. If you’re naturally a quiet introvert who is shy, and you think you have to become an outgoing, talkative extrovert to overcome your shyness and connect with people…
That is a long way off from where you are now. It’s also fundamentally changing who you are. You might consider it not being true to yourself, or simply not see that it would be possible to become like that.
This line of thinking will of course lead to inaction and spending more time in your head, being more quiet and if you’re dissatisfied with your social/dating life now… well it will only get worse.
How Can An Introvert Overcome Shyness?
Shyness is the only one of these 3 traits I would consider to be a problem.
Introversion is your natural personality type which you cannot do much about anyway. Quietness tends to be situational. When you get talking about something you’re passionate about, around people you know and like, even the quietest of people tend to become quite the opposite. You’re probably much less quiet in a one to one situation than you are in bigger groups, and especially around people you don’t know.
Shyness doesn’t have a benefit for you. It just holds you back from meeting people, doing things and having experiences that you would like to have. The problem is, when you spend a lot of time in your head, and tend not to talk very much; doing the opposite seems like a big thing. Your shyness ends up becoming perpetuated.
You’re not particularly interested in interacting with people a lot of the time, and you tend to overthink things. Building everything up in your mind. Then when you do want to interact with someone, you’re not used to doing so. You don’t have that social lubrication, and you run through all these terrible scenarios of rejection in your head.
My belief is you should overcome your shyness, and part of doing that is understanding and being ok with the fact that you’re quiet and introverted. You don’t need to change those things. Just overcome the shyness and you can have a great social life and sex life.
Nobody Really Cares About You…
We build situations up in our head. We play mental movies of what people are thinking, what they will say to us or about us. We replay things that have happened and come up with a million different things we should have said or done.
The truth is, nobody gives a shit.
Nobody is thinking about you or what you did/said even 5% as much as you think they are. People are interested in their own shit. Probably having the same internal conversation about their own interactions. They really don’t give you more than a fleeting moments thought.
This might sound harsh, but really it’s the most liberating understanding into human nature you can have. Aside from your parents, nobody is really thinking about your life for more than a moment. People are too busy worrying about their own life!
Think about how much time you spend worrying about your own actions and what people think. Now compare that to how much thought you give to judging other people. You do it for 30 seconds and then move on, forgetting all about it, right?
When you understand this, it takes a lot of the pressure off. You can start to care less about what other people are thinking about you. Especially people you don’t know. People you’re never going to see again…
So what if you make a social faux pas? You’re not going to die. You’re not going to see this person again… It simply does not matter whatsoever.
The only place anyone attaches any significance to it is yourself, inside your own head.
When you stop attaching so much significance to random people, you start to gain much more social freedom. You will still feel the pressure around people you do know – these interactions have potential social consequences.
People in your social circle, office, school; interactions with these people do have more significance. The way to start coming out of your shell and overcoming shyness is to begin with people you don’t know. Truth is the people you already know have a pre-determined vision of you.
Your identity fits neatly inside this tight little box, and significant deviation outside of the box creates conflict, simply because you’re violating their beliefs about who you are. It’s true that first opinions last. It will take a long time for people to change their opinion of you. Don’t try to shove it in their face, and don’t try to initiate the changes in this situation.
Calibrating Your Changes
You’ve gotta start exploring your new identity around new people. They don’t have this pre-determined box they’ve put you in, so you can essentially be whoever you want. You can fuck things up without consequences, and that’s ok.
You will probably surprise yourself at how well you can read other people in social interactions. As introverts we tend to watch and analyse everything. We have high empathy and listen. We tend to know what is going on with other people, and this can be powerful.
You probably won’t fuck up as much as you imagine you will. You’re not as weird and unique as you thought you were. You’ve just never expressed yourself around people you don’t know in a way that gains social feedback before. Truth is, you’re probably pretty normal and people will likely react to you as though you’re a fairly average human.
Your confidence will increase simply through exposure. Interact with people and soon it won’t be such a big deal. Start small and low pressure. Make a little small talk with your barista or check out girl. Simply ask people how they are or how their day is.
You’ll be surprised how happy to chat people often are, and how much nicer they are towards you. Truth is, most people don’t bother to ask them how they are, so it’s a nice change.
Sometimes they might just grunt an answer back at you and obviously not want to talk. That’s fine. It isn’t your fault, they’re just busy in their own head thinking about their own shit. Probably worrying about their relationship, finances, social life, etc.
Truth is, that’s probably how you are when most people try to make small talk with you. Don’t hold it against people. We of all people can understand what it’s like to not want to engage.
But I don’t Want To Talk To Most People
You might be thinking right now that you don’t actually want to talk to most people. I completely understand that, and I feel the same way.
We prejudge everyone and it’s easy to decide we don’t want to talk to people anyway because they’re [insert reason here].
I learnt through exposure that it was true, I actually don’t like most people. It’s fine that you might end up at that position in the end. However, you have to give people a chance to learn how to determine the people you will like and do want to talk to.
Don’t use your prejudice as a crutch to avoid overcoming your shyness. You’re lying to yourself and selling yourself short. Yeh, maybe most people are idiots, but it’s better to talk to 9 idiots and meet 1 awesome person, than it is to be fucking lonely.
What Are Your Expectations?
What are your expectations of other people? What do you want from them and to what standard do you hold them?
Not everyone you meet is going to become a lifelong friend or a girlfriend. Most people will be nothing more than 30 seconds of pointless small talk.
I have always had very high standards for who I let into my life and don’t see much point interacting with most people, most of the time. That’s an INTJ trait.
To overcome it, you have to drop the expectations. This isn’t about them, it’s about you overcoming your shyness.
The only way to do it is through exposure. Talking to people.
Without expectations on where the relationship is going, you don’t need to put pressure on yourself. You’re just saying hello and being friendly. If you hit it off with the cute checkout girl… great! Then you can chat a bit more and take things to the next level.
Implementing Your Outgoingness Practice
You won’t want to do this most of the time. You won’t feel like being social. I know, because that’s exactly what I’m like. You’ve just gotta make yourself do it. You’ll actually find it’s fun when you get going.
You’ll probably find you’ve been lonely a lot, without realising it. I definitely did.
Once you’ve killed the shyness and you can talk to people, you don’t have to force it any more. You can go back to being closed off most of the time, but you now know that when the cute girl sits opposite you in Starbucks, you can strike up a real life conversation, rather than just playing it through in your head 27 times until she gets up and walks off.
Check out part 2 tomorrow where I’ll take this theory and give you step by step, actionable things to do to actually make this happen and start to kill your shyness.
Become The Attractive Introvert
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