(404) 874-8536 johnballew@gmail.com

Romancing the Shy Guy

You’ve met someone you think is really special.  You get clues that he thinks you’re interesting, too: a certain smile, maybe a little eye contact, dancing nearby at the club, maybe even word-of-mouth from his friends. But when you try to make conversation, he seems to disappear.  What’s up?

Perhaps you misread his signals.  Or maybe you’ve encountered a guy who has anxiety in social situations.  It may seem counter-intuitive.  You’re the one making the move, right?  What does he have to be anxious about….

But shy men experience a lot of ambivalence about getting close to someone.  They may want it more than anything – but they are so self-conscious about making contact that they avoid getting exactly what they most want.

What to do?

For some men the answer is obvious:  if the guy doesn’t express interest in them, they move on to the next fella.  Nothing wrong with that; it’s completely your call whether or not to pursue someone who doesn’t seem to want to be pursued.  And if your experience is that “most” men seem to be too socially anxious to respond to you, the problem may be your approach rather than the other person’s shyness.

There’s nothing wrong with trying the direct approach first. “Want to go out for coffee sometime?” is direct and uncomplicated.  Sometimes being direct will help disarm the introvert’s self-consciousness.  It’s worth a try.

If that doesn’t work, try the opposite. Make no demands whatsoever with that guy who sidestepped you at the gym.  Instead, just practice being subtly friendly.  Smile and say hello.  That may make him more comfortable around you.  Try again in a few weeks.

Sometimes patience is rewarded.  Your low-key approach may be exactly what this man needs to help him open up.  You may find that he’s an interesting and fun guy underneath the shy exterior.  Introverts don’t have it easy in life, and good guys are worth the extra effort.

But beware.  Pushing someone beyond his comfort zone is not a good way to end up with a date – at least, not one you’d want to actually be on.  And that’s part of the danger with romancing the shy guy.  At some point, shyness turns into something else.  If someone really doesn’t pick up on the cues that you’re interested in going out, or if they get what you’re asking but can’t respond with a reciprocal interest, it’s time to call off the hunt.  You don’t want someone who is simply caving in to pressure when he goes out with you.  You want someone who’s interested in you and excited about the possibility of relating to you.

When someone tells you something like “I’m not ready for a relationship” or “You’re too good for me,” it’s almost always best to assume he is telling you the truth.  And if it becomes really clear that the object of your affection simply isn’t interested, learn to let it go.  You may be building castles in the air by imagining yourself with this guy.  It’s time to move on.

About John

I have been  licensed by the State of Georgia as a professional counselor for more than 25 years.  My areas of specialty are relationships, intimacy, sexuality, anxiety and depression.  My passion is helping people build happier lives and stronger relationships. 

I know it isn’t always easy to talk about problems.  My approach to counseling is nonjudgmental and compassionate.  If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about working together.

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Whether you've worked with a therapist before or are exploring counseling for the first time, you probably have questions.  It is important to have the information you need to make a good decision when selecting a therapist.  I welcome your questions -- about your specific situation, about me or about my approach to therapy. Making things better can start with an email, or you can call me at (404) 874-8536.