“Find Your Soul. Find Your Soulmate.”
Episode #36: The Introvert’s Guide to Dating
Are you Terrified of Dating? I know how scary it can be when you’re a shy person. I have a few suggestions for you if you’re a bit of an introvert.
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So you’re a little bit shy. Maybe you have a hard time putting yourself out there, or maybe the idea of going to a social event alone is terrifying. I’ve been there, believe it or not, I have a podcast, but I talk and a lot of people listen, but I used to be terrified most of my life. I considered myself an introvert and kind of still do. I just had to learn how to become more outgoing and more social. I was scared to death of going anywhere by myself and it wasn’t until I found myself a stay at home mom with no other mom friends anywhere that I realized I had to do something about it. I had zero friends with kids nearby. I was bored to tears. There was no one for me to talk to and I started getting really lonely.
So what did I do? I didn’t want to suffer anymore. I joined a Mommy Group and I forced myself to go to mommy meetups. I hated it. At first it was super scary and it was so hard to get myself to just even go. Even just to commit to going. But after a while it wasn’t so scary. After enough meetups, I began to meet other moms who really were feeling exactly the same way. They were nervous, just like me. They were feeling really insecure. A lot of us were new moms. We had no freaking clue what we were doing. Um, you know, the ones I ended up hanging out with are the ones that weren’t afraid to admit that and the ones who maybe were putting on a show or acting like they had it all together…well, I wasn’t really into those moms and I made some really, really good mom friends that I still am friends with to this day.
My son is nine and when I joined he was nine months old. I think he was like nine months old. So we’ve been friends for like nine years, 10 years. So, you know, right before I walked into an event, I just reminded myself that they’re nervous. They are just as nervous as I am and we’re in the same boat. And it did make it a little bit easier and I forced myself to go and each time it got a little bit easier. I actually started my own mommy group eventually. Um, I got kicked out of one that I was in, which is hilarious. And, um, I’d be happy to tell that story and it’s not really that great of a story, but you know, I like to think I’m cool man. Like I got kicked out of the Mommy Group, what’s up? But, um, anyway, moving on.
But I started my own with those women that I talked about that, you know, we just clicked, we got along with, um, and I made really great friends. I had to try out a few different groups, like I said before, I found my people, um, but I’m still friends with a few of them to this day. In fact, one of the moms was a huge source of support for me when I decided to leave my ex. Thanks Andrea. Um, you know, you know who you are, Miss Andrea Bacle. Cut to my life after my divorce. I was a bit better at meeting people since I forced myself to meet other moms by joining Mommy groups and I wasn’t completely terrified of meeting new people, but the idea of dating was very scary and this was a whole different ball game. I mean, rejection by the opposite sex is the worst, right?
So are you terrified of dating? I have a few suggestions for you if you are. If you’re a bit of an introvert and I know how scary it can be when you’re a shy person or maybe you’re just feeling a little insecure lately because maybe you did go through a divorce or a bad breakup. I mean, we can be especially insecure after a breakup or a divorce. The wound is still so fresh and we just, it’s scary. Listen, I promise you, you’re not alone. A lot of people are in the same boat. And the suggestions that I’m going to talk about, they might terrify you a little bit at first, but they work. So just bear with me. So I want to talk about a term in psychology and it’s called desensitization. And if you don’t know what it is, to keep it simple, it basically means that you expose yourself to whatever it is that you’re afraid of continuously until you’re no longer afraid of it.
It works. You must expose yourself repeatedly so that you are desensitized to it. Makes Sense, right? I mean it might sound terrifying, but if you force yourself to do it enough times, it becomes easier and the anxiety becomes less and less each time. So if you do it it, it will get easier. You just have to remind yourself that it’s going to suck the first few times, but it will get easier and soon you find yourself okay with meeting new people and it’s not such a huge challenge anymore. And if you do it enough, you can actually find yourself switch to autopilot when meeting New People, I promise I did it. And it works. It’s called desensitization.
So again, this may sound super scary to you and I get it. I really do. But let me tell you a few things before you say no freaking way I’m doing any of this. I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life. It was so bad at one point that I would get panic attacks when put into certain situations or any social situation. At one point I would literally have to run out of the room. It was horrible and terribly embarrassing. So listen, if I can do it, then I know you can do it as well. And who cares if we feel stupid? Sometimes you know we all look stupid. Sometimes we get so afraid of looking stupid. We’re all stupid. We all do stupid stuff. Listen, if you’re terrified of dating, it really means that you’re afraid to meet new people and put yourself out there. You’re afraid of rejection. And if you’re having panic attacks, like I was then you may need to do a bit of work on yourself in addition to what I’m going to talk about.
And you know, I talk a lot about self awareness. So if you’re new, keep listening to the episodes and you’ll get a huge dose of what I’m talking about. But anyway, before you begin dating, I suggest that you begin simply meeting new people first. Just meet New People, the pressure is way less. Meet New People first without the added pressure of potential romance. Ease yourself into dating by just getting better at simply meeting New People. You’ve got to find your social family. This is so important and this is something that until I did this, I had no life. I had no really good friends. I was bored. I was lonely because I was afraid to put myself out there. You need to find your social family. You need to schedule one activity each week with other people. You’ve got to find your people. You should have one activity where you interact with other human beings each week.
It can be anything at all that you want it to be. You should do an activity where you’re interacting with other people. This is your chance to do things that you enjoy and in the company of other people. Do something that you really want to try… Something new.. Non Stressful things that are a group effort. So no, simply getting a gym membership and hoping to meet people at the gym. Also going to the bar is not an activity. There should be a meetup that is scheduled around an activity or an event. I’m not saying you can’t go to the bar and blow off some steam with whoever you want, but that doesn’t count as an activity. Getting wasted on the weekend or every weekend, um, that doesn’t count. Sign up for activities that require interacting with other people. When I decided to do this again, I was terrified, but I just forced myself to do it.
I knew I had to just get over it. I knew I had to put myself out there and just get comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t think about how terrifying it was. I changed the message in my mind, and we talk about this a lot. It’s the negative self talk and learning how to change the message in your mind from this, I changed it from, this is so scary too. I just have to do it and get over it with. So I signed up for something. I committed to it and I did it. I did it. No matter how stressful or scary it was, I walked into a new place with a smile on my face and an open mind. I opened my mind up to possibilities that were unknown. Don’t think about it, just do it. I talked about this in another podcast episode.
Nike’s slogan is brilliant. Just do it. If people just just do it already, just rip off the bandaid. Begin the desensitization process. It was so hard at first to put myself out there and meet new people, but guess what? Again? The more I did it, the easier it got and before I knew it, meeting New People became second nature to me. It truly did, and I’m not saying that I don’t still get a little bit nervous, but the thing is is I’ve learned how to overcome that nervousness. I recognize it when it starts turning on (you know, the anxiety and the nerves), and by putting myself in that position over and over and over again, my body learned how to overcome it and how to turn it off even.
So let me tell you something that should help you get over that first hurdle. Not everyone will like you. Who Cares? It’s okay. I mean, you don’t like everyone you meet, right? You’ve got to find your people and you will put yourself out there enough and you will find your social family. Accept yourself and know that you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Just go with the flow. Find people that you like and don’t worry so much about being accepted. Your peeps are out there. It will get easier, but you must put yourself out there. There’s no getting around it. You have to, do it and you can.
So let me ask you, are you extremely self conscious? If you’re self conscious it just means you need to meet more people like you. That’s it. That’s all. Go find your people. You need to meet people like you that validate you. If you meet and have things in common, then you validate each other. Find people with common interests, similar opinions and validate each other. This will make you less self conscious because there’s other people like you out there. You’ve just got to find them. And one of the best ways to do this is to sign up for a charity that you’re passionate about. You could do that. Volunteer and find people who have the same beliefs as you. You’ll also feel great about yourself when you give back. It’s an amazing self esteem and confidence builder. Do something good and you will feel good.
And also think about this. I often laugh about we, we as women, you know, prepare and we’re getting ready to go out for the night or attend an event. We worry so much about what we’re wearing and how our her hair looks and our makeup and our shoes and our jewelry and our handbags and blah, blah, blah. We can get pretty fixated on the smallest of details. I laugh, although I still do it myself. I mean, if I’m attending an event, that’s even the slightest bit stressful. But what’s funny is that I can’t tell you if my friend did her hair and makeup differently. I can’t even tell you for sure what her shoes look like unless I loved them. Because I love shoes. I really don’t remember what people were wearing so much, or their jewelry or their purse, forget about it. Unless we absolutely love something and a stands out to us, we don’t really pay much attention to the other details were so consumed with ourselves that we often don’t pay attention to the details of others.
So why do we care so much? It’s pretty silly. You know, I’ve found as as a woman I can put in as little or as much time into getting ready for the night. I mean, I’ll put makeup on, get my hair done, but depending on how much effort I put in, whether I spend a lot of time on my hair, a lot of time on makeup or if just do it real quick. I don’t really look that much different. Maybe a little, but I don’t change my appearance drastically because of what I’m wearing or how I styled my hair. Your face is still your face people. I mean, most of the time we’re so worried about ourselves and how we look that we don’t even notice the details in others. So think about this before you put yourself out there and think about this before you head out for the night, most of the stuff you’re worrying about people aren’t even going to notice.
So are you afraid you may say something dumb or maybe you won’t react to someone in the best way? Maybe the last time you went out you were nervous and something you said came out the wrong way. Maybe something you said didn’t mesh well with your company. Are you obsessing over it? I’ll tell you a secret, unless you did something blatantly crazy, nobody remembers. And if they do remember, they’re not thinking about it as much as you and they probably don’t care that much. That person most likely = hasn’t even thought about it since it happened or he or she is probably too busy obsessing over something dumb that they said. I mean maybe nothing really did happen. Maybe it’s just your perception because you were nervous. So listen, don’t obsess, don’t fixate, just move on. It is what it is. Bottom line, we’re all too busy obsessing over what we ourselves could have done or should have done.
And so we don’t really pay much attention to the details of others unless you really piss someone off, I guess. But I mean if you make someone mad or pissed someone off then clearly something’s up. But let’s face the facts. Most nights we go out, nothing much of consequence happens. We go, well maybe we’re nervous, but the night typically ends without drama. It’s just another night. I mean if you make someone mad, then that person is clearly not going to be in your social family. So who cares? If someone wants to not like you because of whatever reason, then so be it. I know I’m not for everyone. And guess what? Neither are you, you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. There you go. You’re welcome. You got to just find your wolf pack, right? You know the movie the hangover, your wolf pack. It’s so true. If you never put yourself out there, you won’t find your people.
You have to put yourself out there. So my advice is go out and just be yourself, right? I know. Shockingly new information, but it’s so true. Just be yourself and enjoy yourself. Have Fun. Be Yourself, and you will eventually attract others that are like you. And don’t be afraid to be who you are. Who cares if you don’t say something perfectly, who cares if you didn’t get the joke? So it’s not your type of humor. Go find someone who has your humor. Your people are out there, I promise, but you won’t find them by staying home and never going anywhere. You’re never going to meet someone if you don’t get out of the house. You never get to meet someone if you sit at home watching Netflix and Hulu every night, you’re not. You’re not. You have to leave the house. You have to go. You got to go places. You got to put yourself out there. I guarantee you there are others at this event or party again that are just as nervous as you and maybe even more nervous than you. You are not alone. And a ton of people are very shy and introverted just like you are. Go find those people, be yourself and your people will come. Learn to be comfortable meeting new people before you begin to date again. Build your confidence up first by simply meeting New People.
So are you out for the night? Did you take my advice? That’s great. Now pay attention to your body language. This is so important. You can completely change the experience you have by simply paying attention to the way you carry yourself, right? So here are some tips. Do Not Cross your arms in front of you. When you do this, you look closed off and unapproachable. You can even look like you’re pissed off about something. You will repel people with your arms crossed in front of your chest, so do not cross your arms in front of your chest. No hunched over shoulders and have good posture. When you’re hunched over, you look tired and even sad or depressed even if you’re not. It’s just how you look. So most people don’t think you want them to approach you. If you look tired, they think maybe you want to be left alone. They think maybe, or even grumpy and in a bad mood. No one will approach a potential grouch when they too are just as nervous as you are. Think about that.
So no hunched over shoulders and maintain good posture. The next one, sit up and smile. Smile. This makes you look open and approachable. Everyone is afraid at some level of approaching a person. If you look happy and open, then they think their odds are better, that you will be more receptive. They think you will be nice to them and not brush them off. So look approachable. That’s so important to remember. When you’re introverted and are super introverted and very shy, then you have to really pay attention to your body language. You’ve got to make sure you look approachable and you will increase the likelihood of actually being approached. And here is a biggie and I talk about it a lot. You’ve got to get off your phone, that’s it. Just get off your phone and keep your head up. If your head is down, then you won’t see anyone.
You won’t meet anyone pretty straight forward, right? So I hope after listening to this that you’re feeling a little bit more empowered and maybe not so afraid. Maybe you’ve even gone out and try this a few times and you’re back listening again. Listen, why don’t you approach the person who looks shy and anxious or maybe approach the person who has all the wrong body language because they don’t know. They didn’t know any better. Approach that person Help someone else to come out of their shell a bit. I hope you know that you’re brave and you can do it. I hope you know there are people out there just like you who are just a shy and nervous and anxious as you are. There’s people who enjoy the same things that enjoy the same activities and have the same viewpoints as you. Go find your wolf pack.
Your Wolf pack is out there, I promise. So don’t be afraid to be you. Be Yourself and your people will come. Practice meeting new people before you begin dating again. Introduce yourself to the world and be confident in who you are. Then find someone special to share your life with. Thanks for listening today. If you’d like to hear, hear more, um, I gosh, once a week I put out a new episode also. You can check me out at nikibooker.com. I offer private coaching. If you like what you heard, please subscribe and hey, leave a review too. That would be amazing. I’d appreciate it and hey, take care.
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