It could be a lack of experience that's holding you back.
Not to toot my own horn here, but I’m good at a lot of things. I can play guitar, write, play video games, excel at my job with a brilliant sense of business, and I’m extremely tech savvy. I would even go so far to say that I’m a fairly kind-hearted individual. On paper, I feel like I’m not a bad catch. In person, you might never know about those aspects of me, even though I’m one of the least shy people I know. My employer demands it, and in the past, when I performed live at acoustic shows, being shy really wasn’t an option. So why can’t I talk to girls?
Why is it that, when I’m interested in a woman or I see a group of them herding together at the club, I suddenly turn into this timid shell of a person? I know this awkwardness is not uncommon — there's a battle waging inside of us that we just can't win. There are several of us hiding in the shadows of our alpha friends, and while they’re meeting the dream girls, we’re watching from a distance saying, “Hey, that could be me,” and then coming to that sudden realization, “But not back from here.” Yet, we continue to sit there, sipping our drink of choice alone. How does that self-pity taste? Salty, my friends. Salty.
If you often find yourself thinking, “I can’t talk to girls,” but aren’t sure why, then here are 12 reasons why you’re afraid to take that next step with potential love interests.
You Think Your Crush Won’t Be Interested
People who don’t approach their crushes often feel they can sense the outcome of what will happen, and they run away from that happening. Our friends will call it a wide array of things — lack of self-esteem, being too shy, no initiative, etc. — but the number one thing I have noticed is we believe we have a better idea of the social nature between two people, and therefore, we understand the girl in front of us will not be interested.
You Think Your Crush Will Sense Your Inexperience
Many of us spend the majority of our young adult lives crushing on the same one or two girls, and therefore, we never get to experience asking out other girls that often. This leads to a lack of dating experience when it comes to those social environments, which also explains why shy people excel in other social environments — just not ones in which meeting and talking to potential love interests is a thing.
You’re Afraid Of Getting Rejected
Maybe you’ve been turned down by the ones who count, and subconsciously, you feel like it may happen again. Let’s face it: It probably will. The idea of being shot down again isn’t appealing, but according to relationship coach Nina Rubin, rejection is simply a part of the process. “If you’re dating to get into a relationship, keep your eyes open and remind yourself that going out with various people is part of the process,” Rubin previously told Elite Daily. Whether they’re rejecting you or you’re the one who’s not feeling it, we can reframe our perspective and see each slightly awkward date or uncomfortable bar encounter as bringing us one step closer to finding someone.
You’re Too Self-Conscious To Approach
I’m a whopping 5’7'', which — for a guy — isn’t super tall. I’d like to think I compensate for it in other areas, but women don’t know that side of me, and sometimes, it’s hard to present that facet of our characters in 30-second introductions. It’s possible that, like me, you’re too self-conscious of your appearances. Whether it be height, weight, skin, or anything else, these materialistic elements play huge roles in the first impression you give to potential suitors.
You Feel Powerless Talking To Crushes
The reason why I excel at work but not in talking to women is because my job empowers me. I work in customer service, and if you come to me, then you need something; therefore, you give me the power to control the situation. In social environments, such as bars and clubs, or even in a more casual environment, I fear the unpredictability of not being able to control a situation, making me feel like I can’t talk to girls.
But Thomas Edwards Jr., founder of The Professional Wingman, would encourage shy men to play to their strengths. He previously told Elite Daily, "If you are an introvert, remember your ‘superpower’ is connecting on a one-on-one level, not with large groups.” Crowded clubs or bars may make shy folks feel out of control, but by striking up a one-on-one conversation, we can connect on a level with which we’re more comfortable.
Your Extroverted Friends Steal The Show
I can’t exactly walk into a bar with a sticker that says, “Hey, I’m single!” Sure, you can have a wingman or wingwoman, but in several instances, they end up going home with your crush instead or just giving up on you completely. Womp, womp.
You Fear What Comes Next After Approaching
So, we’ve made that first step. We introduced ourselves or we initiated text messaging, but we have no idea how to take it to that next level. “Ask her on a date,” you say? Psh, good one. While the “what’s next?” can be anxiety-inducing, don’t underestimate the power of finding interests the two of you have in common. As leadership coach Jenn DeWall previously told Bustle, "Shared interests can be a great starting point for conversation and can make it easier to open up and connect.”
You Feel There’s Too Much Risk Involved
It possible you’d rather take the safe bet than risk embarrassing yourself or — if you’re already friends with your crush — risk an otherwise acceptable relationship. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, but you won’t find out whether it’s worth the risk if you never take it.
You Make Excuses To Avoid Your Crushes
“She’s busy with her friends right now,” or “I would ask her out, but she probably has a busy schedule with finals and her work schedule.” Silly things like that. Maybe the answer to the question, “Why can’t I talk to girls?” is that you can, but you find reasons not to do so.
You Have Trouble Reading Signals
She wants to "hang out"? Is it a date or not? Could it transpire into being one? Does this winky face in the text mean she’s flirting with me? Or is it sarcastic? Or is it just a stupid winky face? Do these Instagram likes add up to anything? We ambush ourselves with questions by trying to analyze situations that may or may not exist.
You Overthink The Situation
In the midst of trying to analyze the situation and get a read on the girl, we tend to delve too much into the infinite possibilities. Dating isn’t that complicated, but we sure make it seem that way. Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and creator of Your Happiness Method, explained to Elite Daily, “Introverts tend to relive every single moment and replay all of the moments that they think went wrong.” Whether you’re overthinking a single text message, emoji usage, or one comment from a date, it can be easy for introverts to spiral. Instead, try to just give yourself a pat on the back. “Focus on the positives of the date and that you felt comfortable enough to take a chance with someone,” Silva added.
You Lack The Confidence Needed
People constantly preach the “just go for it" method. They believe that, if your crush isn’t into you, then so what. Well, on paper it might be that simple, but all of these different variables have created a huge hole of self-confidence. The only way to fix this one is to look within and do some work before putting yourself back out there.
So How Do I Approach My Crush?
Now, if you’re in this situation and can’t talk to girls, then I would love to offer advice. Unfortunately, due to my predicament, it’s one of those “take my advice, but I don’t use it” type of scenarios. Most of the girls I’ve dated are the product of either my friends setting me up, an overwhelming amount of effort, or the girl making the first move. So, to that end, here are some quick tips for potential success:
Ask Your Friends To Play Matchmaker
As juvenile as it may be, you have to start somewhere. If you have been deprived of dating for the majority of your life, then there’s no shame in trying to get your friends to set you up. As psychotherapist and coach Amanda Stemen, MS, LCSW, previously told Bustle, “They might know someone you could hit it off with and can facilitate a meeting. It doesn't have to be a formal blind date, maybe just a few friends getting together to do something fun."
Just Be Yourself
Ultimately, if you try to be someone you’re not, one day, someone will fall in love with the wrong person. That’s never smart and most certainly unfair to all involved.
Your friends and family will continue to badger you until you finally settle down. My sister continues to ask me when she’s going to be an aunt, and I always tell her, “Whenever one of your friends want to date me.” None of her friends have ever hit me up. She’s a terrible sister.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Alone
People often become infatuated with other people for the wrong reasons, such as the fear of being alone. Make sure you’re as objective as possible when picking out your soul mate and you’re not rushing into a relationship to call “the one” because you’re tired of being alone.
Get On Dating Apps & Start Talking
Apps like Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble have made it easier than ever to meet new people in your area who are also single and swiping. You have the ability to show who you are without risking rejection, and you even get the added bonus of a little confidence boost with each notification. While success rate varies for different individuals, dating apps have helped plenty of people find love at their fingertips. And no matter whether you’re looking for a one-night stand or The One, messaging on Tinder or another app is a great, low-stakes way to get practice.
Dating expert Julie Spira is on the same page. As she previously told Elite Daily, “Using dating apps when you're shy is the best way to come out of hiding in your shell. People tend to practice their flirting skills on dating apps because there's minimal risk involved. If you get rejected, you can easily move on to the next profile.”
Don’t Shy Away From Opportunity
As Rumi — a poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian — once said, “Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” The number of girls I've dated is fewer than what I can count on one hand. Ultimately, this has led to a lot of missed experiences in my life. One day, I'll find someone or someone will find me, or better yet, we'll find each other. Maybe, we've found each other already and we just haven't taken that step yet — I don't know.
What I do know is that being the “shy guy” is a rough lifestyle, but one day, if we continue to be who we are with the utmost transparency and patience, we will eventually have soulmates to call our own.
Nina Rubin, relationship coach
Thomas Edwards Jr., founder of The Professional Wingman
Jenn DeWall, leadership coach
Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and creator of Your Happiness Method
Amanda Stemen, MS, LCSW, psychotherapist and coach
Julie Spira, dating expert
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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