Finding a partner to date can be intimidating, especially for people with social anxiety or other insecurities. If you’re too nervous to initiate a conversation, you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities to meet new people and perhaps kindle a romance. Many people grew up with shameful, sex-negative messaging that contributes to their timidity. Find out tips to overcome your social anxiety and gain the courage to start conversations below.
While it may be more comfortable to memorize a certain line or joke to say to strangers, it’s better to say something genuine, even if it’s not the most clever. Starting with a “how are you?” will go a lot further than any pickup line, which can sound clichéd. Or, if you have something in common, even better. If the person you’re interested in is at your favorite coffee shop, mention a special order that’s not on the menu, for example. Or if they are wearing a shirt from a band you love, point out that you’re both fans of the same music. A sense of humor is always a plus, but don’t try to be funny at the expense of your authenticity.
Know Your Strengths
If you’re not an effortlessly outgoing charmer, don’t try to pretend that you are. Not everyone is attracted to the same type of person, so you don’t need to act like anyone except for yourself. However, it is a good idea to showcase the best aspects of your personality at the onset of a conversation. If you’re a good listener, get ready to ask some questions. If you’re kind, maybe you’ll get the chance to demonstrate that.
Make Them Comfortable
The baseline for every good conversation is both parties being comfortable. So, in addition to the pervasive advice of smiling, it’s important to take your time. Don’t ask for their phone number right off the bat. Have a conversation, and make sure you’re enjoying yourself in the process. If not, it doesn’t matter how attracted to them you are, you’re not a great fit. Just tell them it was nice talking to them and make your exit. If the conversation flows easily, you can consider asking if they’d like to continue it at another time.
Try Not to Take Rejection Personally
When you meet someone new, they may not be interested in you romantically or sexually, and that’s okay. As you get to know them better, you may realize that you’re not interested in them, either. It’s practically impossible to determine whether you’d be a great match based on physical attraction alone. So, when you get rejected or meet someone who isn’t interested in having a conversation, it doesn’t have to be a big deal, and it shouldn’t make you feel ashamed. Think of this as practice; and you need lots of practice to make a habit of getting outside of your comfort zone and meeting people. And if they decline, be polite and leave with dignity.
If you’d like more help overcoming social anxiety and entering the dating scene, working with a trusted therapist can help. Contact me for a free consultation today.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to download the 101 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Hot checklist.