I've been instinctually shy for as long as I can remember. In a big room with lots of people, you will find me gravitating toward the corner. Large groups freak me out. Speaking in front of a crowd, or even a handful of nice folks, is pretty much my biggest fear. My palms start getting sweaty. I tend to nervously tap my foot a lot. The words begin to float around in my head, but refuse to make full sentences... Ask A Dude: How Do I Handle a Shy Guy?
I've gotten better about my shyness as I've gotten older, but I still have to consciously force myself to smile and act like I'm not in pain, to stop being so socially awkward and start talking to the new people I meet on a day-to-day basis. Once I've gotten to know a person fairly well, life is good again. Conversation flows easily. But with relative strangers, it is a constant challenge. And there is one situation where I always seem to revert back to old habits:
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Whenever I meet a guy I am attracted to. Shocking, right?
Several days ago, I found myself in a big room, with a large group of individuals—when a good-looking guy showed up. I was doing fine, until this minor detail derailed my mental clarity. I choked on the air, and my heart slammed into my ribcage. I averted my eyes out of some latent, irrational fear that he might actually talk to me. I reminded myself that would not be the worst thing in the whole world. It took me about ten seconds to get myself together and begin to act like a normal human being again. Crisis diverted? I wish. My Faith Is Keeping Me Single
It's not that this is a new experience for me, but this particular day was different. Normally, I would just give in to my shyness and pretend that I didn't notice an attractive guy was a little more than an arm's length away. Act aloof and disconnected. Which I did, initially. But this day something snapped inside me: I actually had the urge to say something to him.
I didn't know how I'd do it exactly. I would work out the details of my conversational technique once I'd gotten a "hello" out. I was just drawn to him—enough to completely throw out my natural tendencies for a moment. But only for a moment.
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I'd wanted to say something. But I didn't. For some reason, I couldn't cross the gap between us. My mouth wouldn't open, and I never got that "hello" out. And pretty soon, the moment disappeared, he was gone, and I was disappointed. I thought the disappointment would pass, but it hasn't. It's grown worse; bad enough that I'm still thinking about it days later. 10 Easy Steps to Become Irresistibly Approachable to the Opposite Sex
It's not even that I thought a "hello" wouldn't be well-received. Watching his body language, he seemed open. His face was kind, and his demeanor friendly. So what held me back in those few seconds where I felt uncharacteristically ready to abandon my inherent shyness? At first, I couldn't figure it out. But I think I finally know what it was: