So you’re a little bit shy? Do you have a hard time putting yourself out there? Is the idea of going to a social event alone terrifying? I’ve been there. Throughout most of my life I considered myself an introvert. I was scared to death of going anywhere by myself! It wasn’t until I found myself a stay-at-home-mom with no other mom friends, 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 was very lonely. What did I do? I joined a mommy group and forced myself to go to mommy meet-ups. I hated it at first. It was super scary, but after a while, it wasn’t so scary. After enough meet-ups I began to meet other moms who felt exactly the same way. They too were just as nervous as me! I reminded myself of that right before I walked into an event and it made it a bit easier. I forced myself to go and each time it got a little bit easier. I actually started my own mommy group eventually. I made some really great friends. I had to try out a few different groups before I found my people. 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.
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. I wasn’t completely terrified of meeting new people, but the idea of dating was very scary. This was a WHOLE different ball game. Rejection by the opposite sex is the worst.
Are you Terrified of Dating?
I have a few suggestions for you if you’re a bit of an introvert. I know how scary it can be when you’re a shy person. Maybe you’re just feeling a little insecure as of late? That’s okay. We can be especially insecure after a break-up or divorce. The wound is still so fresh! I’ve got your back and I promise you are not alone. A lot of people are in the same boat. The suggestions I give below may terrify you at first, but they work. Just bear with me and read along.
Do you know what desensitization is?
It’s a psychological term. To keep it simple, it basically means that you expose yourself to whatever it is you’re afraid of continuously, so that you’re no longer afraid of it. You must expose yourself repeatedly so that you’re desensitized to it. Makes sense, right? You might still feel apprehensive about it, but if you force yourself to do it enough times, if becomes easier and the anxiety becomes less and less. Soon you find yourself okay with meeting new people and it’s not such a huge challenge anymore. If you do it enough, you can actually find yourself switch to auto pilot when meeting new people. I promise. I did it and it WORKS.
This may sound super scary to you and I get it. I really do. Let me tell you a few things before you say “No way, I’m not 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 new social situations. I would literally have to run out of the room! It was horrible and terribly embarrassing. Listen, if I can do it then I know you can do it as well.
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. If you’re having panic attacks like I was, you may need to do a bit of work on yourself in addition to doing what I describe below. (I talk a lot about self-awareness so if you’re new to my blog you can read more about that here)
So here goes…
Before you begin dating, I suggest you begin simply meeting new people FIRST. The pressure is way less. Meet new people first without the added pressure of potential romance.
Ease yourself into dating by getting better at simply meeting new people.
Find Your Social Family
Schedule one activity each week with OTHER people. 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 in the company of other people. 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 meet-up that is scheduled around an activity or an event. (Read here for tips on how to build your social calendar)
Sign up for activities that require interacting with other people. When I decided to do this I was terrified, but I forced myself to do it. I knew I had to just get over it. I knew I had to put myself out there and get comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t think about how terrifying it was. I changed the message in my mind from “This is so scary” to “I just have to DO IT and get OVER it.”
So, I signed up for something, committed to it, and 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.
Begin the desensitization process.
It was so hard at first to put myself out there and meet new people. Guess what? The more I did it, the easier it got. Before I knew it, meeting new people became second nature to me. It truly did.
Let me tell you something that should help you get over that first hurdle.
Not everyone will like you. So what! Who cares!
That’s okay! You don’t like everyone you meet, right? You will find your people. 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. Don’t worry so much about being accepted. Your peeps are out there! It will get easier but you MUST put yourself out there.
Are you Terribly Self-Conscious?
If you’re self-conscious it 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. One of the best ways to do this is to sign up for a charity that you’re passionate about. Volunteer and find people who have the same beliefs as you. You also will 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.
Also, think about this…
I often laugh about how we as women prepare when getting ready to go out for the night, or attend an event. We worry so much about what we’re wearing, how our hair looks, our make-up, shoes, jewelry, hand bag, etc. We can get pretty fixated on the smallest of details.
I laugh although I still do it myself sometimes if I’m attending an event that is even the slightest bit stressful. What’s funny is that I can’t tell you if my friend did her hair or make-up differently. I can’t even tell you for sure what her shoes looked like, (unless I loved them because I love shoes). I really don’t remember what he or she was wearing. Jewelry? Purse? Forget about it.
Unless we absolutely love something and it stands out to us, we don’t really pay much attention to the other details. We’re 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 actually. I’ve found as a woman that I can put in as little or as much time into getting ready for the night, and I really don’t look THAT much different. 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!
Most of the time we’re so worried about ourselves and how we look that we don’t even notice the details in others. Think about this before you put yourself out there. Think about this before you head out for the night…
Are you afraid you may say something dumb, or maybe 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. If they do remember, they probably don’t care that much. That person most likely hasn’t even thought about it since it happened. He or she is probably too busy obsessing over something dumb they said! Maybe nothing really did happen? Maybe it’s just your perception because you were nervous? 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, right? LOL.
If you piss someone off, then clearly something is up, but let’s face the facts. Most nights we go out, nothing much of consequence happens. We go out, maybe we’re nervous, but the night typically ends without drama. It’s just another night. Basically, if you piss someone off then that person is clearly not going to be in your social family! If someone wants to not like you because of whatever reason, then so be it. I know I’m not for everyone. Guess what? Neither are you!
You are NOT everyone’s cup of tea. There you go. You’re welcome. You’ve got to just find your wolf pack right? Yes, I stole that from the movie “The Hangover,” but it’s so true.
If you never put yourself out there, you won’t find your people.
So, my advice is go out and just be YOURSELF. Enjoy yourself, be yourself and you will eventually attract others that are like you. 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. You won’t find them by staying home and never going anywhere. You must put yourself out there. I guarantee you there are others at this event, or party, that are just as nervous as you. Maybe even more. You’re not alone and a ton of people are very shy and introverted just like you.
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.
Learn to meet new people first without the added pressure of potential romance, and dating will get easier.
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. Here are some tips below.
- 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 about something! You will literally repel people with your arms crossed in front of your chest.
- No hunched over shoulders. Maintain good posture. When you’re hunched over you look tired and even depressed! People don’t think you WANT them to approach you if you’re tired. They think you want to be left alone. They think you’re grumpy even. No one will approach a potential grouch when they too are just as nervous as you are!
- Sit up and smile. This makes you look open and approachable. Everyone is afraid at some level of approaching a person. If you look happy and open, they think THEIR odds are better that you will be receptive. They think you will be nice to them and not brush them off. Look approachable and you will increase the likelihood of actually being approached!
- 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 straightforward.
Feeling empowered a bit? Have you gone out and tried this a few times? Why don’t YOU approach the person who looks shy and anxious? Approach the person who is sitting with all the wrong body language! Help someone else to come out of their shell a bit.
I hope you know that you’re brave. I hope you know that there are people out there just like you. People who enjoy the same things, enjoy the same activities, and have the same view points as you.
Your wolf pack is out there. I promise.
Don’t be afraid to be you. Be yourself and your people will come.
Practice meeting new people before you being dating. Introduce yourself to the world and be confident in who you are. Then find someone special to share your life with.
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Do you feel like you’re ready to begin dating? Read here to learn how to build your dating roster.