Here’s What To Do If You're Shy On Dates & Struggle To Open Up

Dating can make even the most confident people feel at least a little bit jittery. Even as an extrovert, no matter how much prep I've done before a first date, the moment I meet someone IRL I still clam up. On a good day, I can usually do an OK-ish job of masking my nerves, but sometimes, feeling a bit shy is inevitable. Knowing what to do if you're shy on dates can be tricky. Any shyness that you feel at any given moment is a part of who you are, and the whole point of dating is sharing your genuine self with someone to see if you click. So, shouldn't you just be allowed to be your authentically shy self whenever and wherever the mood strikes? In short: Totally.

According to the founder of The Professional Wingman, Thomas Edwards Jr., there's nothing wrong with being honest with your date about how you're feeling. "When you’re able to acknowledge it, your date, who is likely also feeling shy or nervous, will appreciate the openness and begin to connect with you," Edwards previously told Elite Daily. "Being shy about someone you’re attracted to is a very normal experience. It is always OK to express vulnerability." It's also important to remember that even though you might not be able to side-step your nervousness, those who are more introverted naturally tend to do well in intimate settings, explained Edwards. "If you are an introvert, remember your 'superpower' is connecting on a one-on-one level, not with large groups."

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Once you've accepted the fact that feeling shy on a date is totally normal, there are some things you can do to make yourself feel a bit less anxious. According to Relationship Coach Nina Rubin, a great way to set yourself up for a successful date is to incorporate a fun activity so you don't feel too put on the spot. "Plan dates with activities like miniature golf or a hike, so you can just as readily focus on the fun task as much as on talking," Rubin previously told Elite Daily. If you decide to grab food or a drink somewhere, Rubin recommended always staying true to yourself. "Listen well and reply honestly," she explained. "Ask questions that you really want to know about your date. If your date plans a loud or crowded place, suggest another spot that’s a little quieter so you don’t have to shout. Express your true needs so you can be your best."

Behavioral scientist, relationship coach and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, Clarissa Silva, said it's also a good idea to avoid obsessing over making the "perfect" first impression. "Don’t over-stress yourself about making your best first impression," Silva previously told Elite Daily. "Find an outfit, hairstyle and makeup application that you are comfortable with so that you can enjoy getting to know the person instead of being self-conscious about your appearance the entire date."

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Even though dating can make anyone feel on-edge, with a bit of preparation and honesty, opening up can be a bit easier. Once you've taken the pressure off yourself to alter your natural feelings, trying to meet a date in settings that will help bring out your best is key. Ultimately, if a date is put off by who you are, then rest assured that they weren't a good match for you anyway.