How Can a Shy Introvert Become More Approachable?
You and other dating coaches often note that women need to be warm to attract men. I understand how warmth puts people at ease and openness allows for connection to develop. What do you recommend for shy and/or introverted types, especially ones who are abstract thinkers and not immediately relatable to most people?
People often write me off as snobby and aloof when they first meet me. I have made great efforts to reduce the frequency of making this impression, but it still happens. Sometimes it is shyness and being overwhelmed by stimuli around me that makes me go “deer in the headlights”. Other times, I am absent-minded, caught up in my daydreams and thoughts, and I know I am difficult to engage. I struggle with very literal chit-chat, being at a loss for words. People do say I am a great listener though!
I know shyness can be worked on, and as noted, I have worked on it a lot over the past 10+ years (I am in my early 30s), but it seems it is still not enough. I have been more conscious of smiling and body language, but at times it can seem contrived, which also turns people off. I still find myself mostly misunderstood when I first meet people, and everyone tells me I am perpetually single because I am too reserved, unless in the company of close friends/family. In general, men do not approach me or take any interest in me. I am fit and considered pretty in the face, well-groomed, and more interested in people’s internal qualities, not superficial stuff like height or money. However, I notice women who are really emotionally gushy and talkative will grab most of the male attention.
I don’t really make apologies for introversion, understanding it not to be a flaw, but having its own set of equally valuable traits. The problem is that these traits are not immediately discernible, and people will project a lot of negative traits onto you in the meantime. Good friends admit to me they had a negative impression of me at first, and even once they got over it, they say it took yeeeeaaars to really get to know me. Once people get to know me, then they tell me I am very kind, patient and empathetic, so I am not a cold person at heart.
What can I do to convey my positive qualities more readily and make better first impressions (namely, be more attractive with my demeanor), without putting on a fake personality?
I pride myself on a few things:
- – Offering ten years worth of thoughtful, balanced, data-driven blog posts on dating and relationships.
– Always trying to get better, to evolve, to understand women and men at a deeper level, to offer both empathy and constructive criticism to help my readers find love.
– Admitting when I don’t know something.
I gotta be honest with you, Michelle: I don’t know how to answer your question.
Hold out for a guy who will appreciate you as you are…
I’m well aware of the introvert’s Bible, Quiet, which provides insight and validation to introverts who struggle in a world dominated by extroverts.
But apart from telling you two things you already know, I don’t know what I’ve got for you:
- a) Hold out for a guy who will appreciate you as you are (even though you come off as aloof and it takes “yeeeeeaaars” to get to know you).
- b) Keep working on becoming more extroverted and social. Not because there’s anything “wrong” with introversion, but because it’s more “effective” in dating to be warm and engaging.
Keep working on becoming more extroverted and social.
If you have 90 minutes to make a strong first impression on a date, it’s hard to do it if conversation with strangers makes you uncomfortable and self-conscious.
Sadly, that’s all I’ve got. But I’d love to learn how to help my introverted clients in a more tangible way.
So readers, what do you have for me and Michelle? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.