Will all the shy girls please stand up? (Or sheepishly raise your hands?)
On this season of “The Bachelor,” the viewing audience got a rare glimpse of what it’s like for a shy girl to date in real time. Lauren B., one of 29 women vying for (and eventually winning!) the love of bachelor Arie Luyendyk, was granted her first one-on-one date in episode six. Yet, she walked into it paralyzed by fear that Arie would deny her a rose and end the relationship because she’d fail to open up.
Welcome to the inner dialogue of a shy girl in every dating situation.
We feel the pressure to open up and figure out if there’s a spark, but the expectation to do so on a timeline that doesn’t play to our strengths is paralyzing.
In a world of options and instant gratification, shy girls don’t stand a chance. Let me explain.
Shyness isn’t usually considered an asset — in school, at work, as a neighbor, etc. The assumption is quiet people are aloof or uninterested — I know, because I’ve made these same assumptions. As a self-identified “shy girl,” I’m my worst enemy.
But in no other situation is it more demoralizing than in dating. Guys often equate shyness with lack of interest and move on because they can. If I had a quarter for every time a guy said, “I didn’t think she was interested” to one of my friends, I’d be rich! (Just kidding, I’d have $1.75 in my pocket, and that’s generous.) The point is this has happened to me more times than I can count, and every time they’ve been wrong. I was interested, I just needed more time.
So, on behalf of all the shy girls out there, let me plead our case. If you’re interested in a girl that seems uninterested in you, consider that she might be shy.
Here’s how to approach the lucky lady and date her on her terms.
Adjust your timeline. Shy girls need time to open up, which means you can’t date at the same pace you would otherwise. If she looks good on paper, and you have things in common, consider slowing down to give her the time she needs. It’s the only way you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether you are a good match for each other.
Call her out. Nothing builds intimacy and trust like letting someone know that you see them and you know them. Acknowledge the shyness, reiterate your patience, and I guarantee there will be progress in your relationship.
She likes you if she shows up physically and emotionally. Does she agree to dates? Does she ask questions about you, your interests, your family, or your dreams? Does she check in with you throughout the week? Then, guess what? SHE LIKES YOU, AND SHE WANTS TO GET TO KNOW YOU BETTER.
Ask her questions. Not only is this girl shy, but she’s probably an introvert. This double whammy means she most likely won’t offer information about herself, her interests, her family, or her dreams, but she will if asked. ASK HER QUESTIONS.
As is the case with most things in life, there is a flip side. If you date a shy girl for three months and there is no spark or forward movement between the first date and the 47th date, then obviously you’re dating the wrong person. There’s a fine line between someone who needs time to open up and someone who is wrong for you.
My plea is this — shy girls aren’t shy forever. If she looks good on paper, and you have things in common, I recommend giving her the time she needs to open up. Don’t assume she isn’t worth your time and “swipe left.” The girl you get to know on dates 1-5 will not be the girl you meet on dates 7-9 because the more she knows you and trusts you, the less guarded she’ll be.
Choosing patience over pride, or patience over every other romantic experience to date, could be one of the best decisions you ever make.