Okay on to the third installment of my Dating Asian Guys Series! A few ladies through comments and email suggested I give some advice on dealing with guys while being on the shyer side, and I wanted to tackle this issue. So actually this has turned out to be one of the more challenging things I've written for a few reasons.
For one, although I do live by some of the other things I wrote about when it comes to dating Asian men, I didn't want people to take them super seriously which is why I littered them with funny pictures and what not. However, I think dealing with shyness and possibly anxious isn't something that should be taken as lightly, and I wanted to make sure what I say here is cohesive, but also doesn't come off as cynical or goofy as the previous two articles.
That being said, I'm definitely not an expert on dealing with being shy and like many other people, I ended up doing a massive Google search to find out about how people deal with being shy. Additionally what I'm writing here will also be a bit based of my own person experiences because I have had my moments of clamming up and what not. It really wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that I did fully gained confidence in myself and it's honestly something I wished I worked on earlier. So this blog will be a mix of the two.
And finally, I wasn't sure if I wanted to put this under the Dating Asian Guys category as the other articles. At least the last article specifically referred to Asian guys because they do meet wacky girls all the time ready to make them their anime-loving boyfriends. But with this post, I think it's hard to just specifically relate this just to dating Asian men because from what I've seen, many people's shyness isn't always so narrow. So I'm apologizing in advance if I seem to be talking in very broad terms and get more specific at times.
This is a LONG post! So I finally Google how to make HTML anchor tag thingies for links to certain parts of it.
Key Things to Rember
Handling Yourself in Certain Conversations
Having a Conversation
Understand your level of shyness.
There are a few different ways shyness manifests itself. Some people are open, but get a little quieter or clam up when they are around a guy they like. Others feel a bit anxious when they enter a room filled with people they don't know. Some people are perfectly fine talking to one gender, but not so fine talking to both. Are you like person one, two, or three? It's good to first figure out what type of situation you have the most difficulty with so you can work on it.
You have to get over being so self-conscious!
I know this is probably a serious case of easier said than done, but people, stop spending so much time thinking about what others think of you! Yes I undertsand that it's important to have an idea of what some people think of you, like you certainly don't want your boss to think you're an asshole. But spending too much time wondering what that random guy walking down the street sees when he sees you will just make you paranoid and stress you out more than you need to be. Stop worrying about the things that are "wrong" about you and focus on what's "right." Hello, you are an awesome person. Remember that and let other people know!
Try not to let awkward moments or rejection get you down.
Remember, we all have those moment where we're getting shut down or potentially embarrassed. But you can't let that completely shut you down. Make sure you take a moment so you collect yourself if it's a light situation like being called a "friend" by a guy you like or you trip on the curb. But keep it moving ladies! So what, there was an error. Girl, you're still alive and well, and not alone--we've all been there. And also don't waste thinking about the negative things that could happen. Don't worry about the chance of you tripping or the chance of him calling you a friend. Nothing happens until you go out an do something and letting you pre-worries sink in means they'll stick with you forever because you didn't do anything to actually get a result. So let it go!
Have a "burst" moment.
A "burst" moment is that time you completely let yourself go, and do something that makes you happy. It's a moment that will probably get attention from others, but you get so wrapped up in it you don't care. For me it's when I hear a good song on MP3 player and I may dance or sing to it a bit. For someone else it may be a short sprint or thinking about something funny and laughing out loud. Once you have the moment and you catch someone looking at you, give them a smile and move on. Do you think you're crazy? Who cares! That moment was all about you. Who knows, it might actually get you cool points with people for being so outgoing and spontaneous.
Have good body language and facial expressions.
Good body language is so underrated and something that gives the appearance of confidence. Some shyer people like to shrink back a bit, eyes on the floor, speaking in a softer tone or hiding in the back. Stop doing that shit! Look up when you're walking and you will NOT turn into stone if you look people in the eyes. If push comes to shove practice around your apartment or room, with close friends or family. Remember not to cross your arms so much and stand up straight. When you're interested in someone or something, let your face show it. Now I don't mean you have to smile like an idiot over things--and I know some people hate to be told to smile. For me, I use my bushy eyebrows to express myself. When I nod in agree sometimes my eyebrows go up in reaction, especially when I'm happy about something. And I like to pull "The Rock" eyebrow every now and then too. Soft-spoken people, I'm not going to tell you to start shouting. But make sure your lips are actually moving and your speaking clearly. I think it's okay if you work on raising your tone a bit to make sure the person or the few people in front of you can hear what you're saying.
Be cautious when considering making physical changes to yourself to gain confidence.
So you're hoping that maybe if you change the way you look, you'll become more confident, people will pay more attention to you, and you'll lose that shyer side of you and open up more. I get that some pople hate their glasses or their short hair or want to lose wait. Think careful about making these kind of decisions. Do you really think these changes will help your confidence? Do you think you can maintain this confidence months or years after tou make the changes? Most importantly you need to do these things for yourself. It's not about other people. I remember when I did the big chop with my hair, some people assumed I did it to show I was a "strong black woman." But I was like, "I did it because my hair was fucked up and uneven and I looked damn good with the short cut." It was about me, not other's perceptions of me. So if you decided to make changes make sure it's something that will truly make you happy and comfortable with yourself.
Okay so those were the basic things. That's the stuff to at least get you out the door. But you need to take your ass away from the door and out to meet people! You need to get out to apply some of my suggestions.
Dealing with active group situations
When I wrote my initial contact blog post, I touched on this a bit. Hello, good looking guys do these things all the time so take your ass out to try something new! I think a good way to learn to interact with people and be open is to do something you really haven't done before and/or keeps you active. Think like a city scavenger hunt or lazer tag or playing a sport. You can even be bold and do karaoke. LOL don't worry everyone sounds like shit when they do karaoke so no one will really care about your vocal talent. Anyway, sites like Meetup.com are loaded with activities. You'll be around a lot of people that are probably new to these things too. Meanwhile the person who organized the event will be the one working to make sure the group gets along, often employing simple icebreakers and the like. And you'll spend more time learning about the activity to think about how your clothes look, if they're laughing at you etc. In some cases you'll probably have to partner up with one or two people. Some events may have a competitive angle but people generally don't get to crazy or pissed when others are doing well good or really bad at something.
Dealing with non-active group situations
So the only event going on that week isn't adult kickball, but a happy hour. And the idea of going to this event makes you nervous because there's less movement and it's much easier for people to see you trip up or watch you blank out when someone asks you a question. First, relax. And second, GO! Yes this situation is completely different because the purpose of this type of event is to talk to people. There's little room to be a wallflower here because someone will spot you sitting by yourself in the corner and ask you why'd you even bother to go out if you're just going to sit in the corner. Don't let things get into that point. Remember the importance of body language. I'm sure your knees are shaking with nervous, but keep that head up. If you see a larger group of people engaging in a conversation and the conversation sounds like something that interests you make your way to the conversation. There isn't a need to immediately burst into the conversation, you can just listen. Use your facial expressions to show interest in the conversation and laugh when you think a joke is funny. Then if there's a moment and you have a comment, make it. In most cases, the people speaking probably noticed you roll up on them a while ago, so they won't be shocked and in awe when you make a comment. Try to stick to the topics and chiming in until you feel comfortable enough to take over the conversation and change the topic.
Dealing with the one-on-one situations
What I mean by an individual situation refers to those moments when you get to talk to someone in your class or at your job. Or it's someone you may talk to in a grocery stores. It's moment when it's you and that one guy. These moments are probably much more nerve wrecking because you don't have the cushion of others getting a conversation going. So it's up to you and the guy to keep each other engaged. This is where you'll have to fight harder to break out of your shyness to make sure this guy is talking to you and only you. If a guy approaches you, first get over the shock of this guy striking up a conversation with you. Perhaps he was attracted to the fact that you walk with your head up, makes eye contact, and was too busy churning out some awesome artwork to wonder if other people were staring at you. So swallow that ball of nerves and look him in the eyes. Smile at him, and make sure your lips are moving when you're speaking. Ask him questions about himself and answer him when he's speaking to you. If you approach him--stop rolling your eyes and giving me a frustrated, "hello, obviously I have trouble talking with guys and your expecting me to be the one to start the conversation!?" Well sure why not? Same rules apply as above.
So we've gotten past boosting your confidence a bit to put yourself out there enough to get some attention. And I did a lot of writing here about starting and entering conversation, but I haven't spent much time really discussing what kind of things you should do when holding the conversation. Yes good body language is important, but so should be what's coming out your mouth. So here are a few tips when it comes to the actual chat part.
Whether it's a group conversation or awith just one person, remember that this person is talking with you because they think you have something interesting to say. So keep calm and well...talk!
Make sure they're laughing with you and not at you.
I'm a girl that likes to do a bit of self-deprecating humor. I'm well aware of my height, my skinny arms, my overbite, etc. So I don't have a problem with making jokes about how I'm too damn tall to fit into the room or how I can barely carry a dictionary because of my boney ass arms. I know how to laugh at myself. But doing too many of these jokes can actually just make look insecure. There's not need to go on and on about your braces or the short legs. And if you feel comfortable about making fun of yourself but not someone you just met, let them know. If you don't want things to go sour too soon, you can jokingly say, "hey we're not that close yet! You get to hold off on the jokes!" If the guy isn't an asshole he'll stop because he wants to get to know you. If he still goes on, excuse yourself to the ladies room and move on.
Have a list of generic topics and answers.
Like I mentioned in the Initial Contact article, have things to talk about. You know, the "what do you like to do" and "did you see the latest ___ movie?" But you also need to make sure you have answers to these questions too. Don't be too long winded. If someone asks what you like to do, just mention the things you like to do the most and not everything in the world you like to do. Ask questions from those generic questions. He says he likes to play tennis...ask him how long he's been playing or where he likes to play. If you want to be bold, you can ask himt o teach you someday (if you actually have an interest in it). Or if he offers to teach you, (LOL and you actually have an interest) TAKE UP THE OFFER!!!
Accept a compliment.
If he says you hair looks nice or you're cute or you're a talented dancer, say "thank you!" Don't be one of those people that feel the need to tear themselves down immediately after getting a compliment. I'm sure some people do it to appear humble, but it's like self-deprecating humor...at some point the constant, "no I'm nots!" makes you look insecure. Appreciate the compliment and offer one yourself. You don't have to immediately jump with "You're shirt makes you look hot!" after a guy says he thinks you look good in a dress. But if he mentions that he recently won some kind of award, telling him he's an awesome person for getting the award will work. Sorry I'm using the word awesome a lot, I'm being lazy with the adjectives.
Brain farts are normal.
Sometimes what you're thinking doesn't come out the way you want it to when you say it. And some people just decide not to talk at all for fear of immediately saying something wrong or forgetting how to describe certain things, blah, blah, blah. Well guess what? Everyone has these moments! If you forgot how to describe something and someone offers that description, thank them but keep your conversation moving. If you say something and you notice the reaction is much more negative than you expect, it's okay if you feel a bit embarrassed. LOL depending on what you said, if you decide to tall yourself an idiot for what you say probably wouldn't be considered self-deprecating, but you owning up to your actions. Keep the conversation going, but maybe change it to a much lighter tone.
Don't blurt out your feelings in the first hour.
Too many times people get so wrapped up in the idea that they won't be able to express their feelings that they decided to tell someone they love them after talking for like 20 minutes. Yeah...don't do that. If you feel a spark with a guy early on, you can give him a hint of your interest. I'm sure he'll probably appreciate, "I'd like to get to know more about you" or "do you wanna hang out later," more than, "Marry me right now!" This isn't an issue of playing hard to get or what not; it's an issue of actually getting to know a guy first before you really decide if you like him.
From offline to online, maintaining the conversation.
Some shy people are totally at ease talking with someone online but defeat to the being a ball of nerves when they meet someone in person. Think about the reason you're meeting this person and the chemisty the two of you had when you were chatting online. Ugh, I'd hate to keep repeating myself, but again body language and actually holding a conversation is important. It's okay to ask someone in person some questions you may have asked them online already. Might be a good way to catch a liar, but it can also be used as a way to break the ice and get the conversation going.
Don't let the snarky assholes ruin your day.
Wanna know what sucks? When you finally get up the courage to talk to a guy that you think is cute and he turns out to be a total bastard. And you feel pissed that you put in the effort for this loser. Guess what? This is just because a story you can tell your friends. Don't assume that the next guy you decide to talk to will be a jerk and don't decide to never talk to a guy again because he'll be a jerk. Each guy is different and you won't know who you're talking to until you...talk to him.
If the conversation is a bust, that's okay. You tried.
Not every conversation with a guy you're attracted to will turn out well. I've totally had moments where I thought I was on the right track and the conversation fizzled out for whatever reason. At that point the thing to do is chalk it up to experience, be proud of yourself for stepping out of your comfort zone to talk to someone and put your attention on the next chance you get. The next conversation may go much better and you can find yourself dating a guy that is actually more interesting and fun than the last guy you talked to. Or maybe this one will be a bust too. LOL I'm not encourage to talk to every guy that crosses your path, but whether he's the one coming your way or you're the one starting the conversation, keep yourself open to options.
Wow that was a lot! that's all the advice I have concerning shyness. If you have a bit more reading in ya, below are a few sites that I think give some pretty good advice on how to deal with being shy:
20 Ways to Overcome Shyness
Internet Shyness FAQ
The Shy Women's Guide to Dating