Just make a decision before you get there: If you love the place then have confidence in it. You like what you like, and you like this Tiki bar. You tell him how difficult it was for you to pick out an outfit. You explain, in detail, that you thought it was just sexy enough without coming on too strong. Imagine how awkward that would be if that was your escape phone call. Is that your escape phone call?
Why do you keep doing this to everyone?
Are you playing matchmaker for your date? Am I doing okay? On a scale of one to you want to leave right now, how bad is this? Besides, what if he is a serial killer? Also, always bring mace and never let a first date pick you up in his car. And maybe one of them will be a talker who will appreciate silence to fill. Or maybe one of the will be a non-talker who will appreciate someone who can co-exist in companionable silence without having to natter on all the damned time. Your particular personality may make you a good match for a lower percentage of the population than someone chattier, but there are people out there who appreciate people like you, and for them, you're going to be part of the relatively small percentage of the population that they're into.
It's just a matter of finding the right kinds of people and dating those people. There's an old saying about how even if you're one a million, that means there's people just like you. With population growth, that's now people, so, hey, your chances are increasing. I agree with Ghostride about activity dates where conversation will be a smaller piece of the pie and also be provoked more naturally.
But also, what about the idea that dating will make you better at dating? You don't have to be successful on the first try, or on the forty-fifth. And yeah, therapy and a book about projecting confidence wouldn't be a bad investment. Lots of people aren't "super interesting"—like, no nuclear physics degrees, they've never been to Antarctica, etc—but I enjoy spending time with them nonetheless. People will enjoy spending time with you, too. I know this because it's statistically near-certain and also because you mention having friends.
I didn't have your anxiety issues, but it still took me awhile to become a "good boyfriend. It's not easy and they don't teach us, although they do teach us algebra and that's far less useful. If you don't date, how will you ever get practice with learning how to talk with people you're dating? Your low self-esteem is crippling you. Don't let it -- fight those feelings of inadequacy and definitely seek therapy for your social anxiety.
My husband is usually the silent guy at the table in a group of friends. But he and I talk all the time. Pretty much ever since I randomly joined him at lunch and he didn't try to get rid of me, we've been talking. Neither of us could have known. So, data point for you. And yeah, stop looking into therapy and just give it a shot or three. Maybe you should date someone who loves to hear themselves talk, so you can just nod silently and they'll be, like, self-entertained.
Most of them aren't a lot of fun, though. But here's what I don't get. You say, "I'd feel weird asking someone out since I'm not very impressive or interesting. You know what else the world is filled with? Unimpressive and uninteresting people. They're having fun, making friends, falling in love. So it isn't about not being impressive or interesting - it's about the way you've chosen to look at it. You've basically given yourself an excuse to bail on the whole deal. You've made a trade-off. What it leaves out is the possibility of success.
It leaves out the opportunity for joy. Good news is, it really is about the way you've chosen to look at it. See, you can choose to look at it differently.
Online Dating for the Socially Awkward
But lets talk about anxiety for a second. Anxiety is a physical thing, right? Heart hammering, breathing strained, chest tight, hands clammy, eyes dilated. Anxiety is a thing your body feels. Anxiety is like a negative thrill. It's all the sweat and palpitations and none of the fun. But it doesn't have to be that way!
You can transmute anxiety into exhilaration! You can train yourself to fool your own lying brain! But it takes stepping out of your comfort zone. But that's ALL it takes, because once you are uncomfortable, you get anxious, and bam, there you are! Sit in that anxiety for a minute. What does it really feel like?
What can you control, and what is involuntary? What are your hands doing? Really sit and feel that anxiety. Don't feel it in your head, feel it in your body. It's almost like being on a roller coaster, isn't it? Like leaning against the handrail at the scenic overlook.
Now go find another boring, uninteresting, unimpressive person. And introduce yourself, and smile, and listen. You are an introvert. Perhaps surprisingly, you can do well dating an extrovert. Extroverts love to talk. All you have to do is listen. Learn some active listening skills and you'll be fine. Extra bonus if you date an extrovert -- they can handle small talk at events or parties you go to.
My girlfriend does this for me all the time. As for what you're providing an extrovert-- often two people with outgoing personalities can clash, which can be frustrating. Just being stable, there, and supportive can help people with extroverted tendencies feel balanced and secure. I agree with the advice to date an extrovert.
As an introvert myself, I once thought that finding someone introverted like myself would be a good match. It's just led to some excruciatingly awkward coffee dates, because neither the other person nor I were good at carrying the conversation. So definitely look for an extrovert, or at least, someone who's only partially introverted.
I have social anxiety and I am an introvert. I never dated, ever.
Online Dating for the Socially Awkward
Surprisingly, I did have boyfriends and I did get married! My family is still amazed by this. I am sure you are interesting. I agree with others, find an group activity you like and go.
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Join a pizza tasting group, an old architecture tour group, ceramics studio, what ever you like. Don't just go once, keep going until people get to know you. Just keep plugging away. If you are an introvert, if you want, you can meet and date other introverts, but maybe you need to explore some ground rules and expectations. A date in a coffee shop where you have to sit and look at each other amid caffeine-fuelled examples of 'normal' interaction, and then interact, is probably not a good date for two introverts. Maybe going to an art exhibition at a museum might be. Though I'm probably not super interesting I think you probably are.
In "Over the Hedge," the persian cat falls madly in love with the lady skunk. He thinks she is gorgeous and he had no sense of smell, so he doesn't care that she stinks. Moral of the story: Every trait you have is a feature, not a bug, to somebody. I am very chatty.
I get a lot of flack from folks who wish I would shut up already. One of my favorite movie scenes is in "The Bourne Identity" when the girl apologizes for talking too much and Bourne tells her it was soothing, his headache was finally starting to go away, and please keep talking. In real life, I had a boyfriend at one time who, like you, was quiet and didn't say much. I was initially very uncomfortable because I felt I was dominating the conversation and not letting him get a word in edgewise.
He told me he liked listening to me and that he was a good listener. And he really was. He would make brief remarks but it was clear he really listened and was engaged. He told me once that I did not talk more than other women. I adored him for saying that. We were together for several years and I was crazy about him. I eventually learned to accept that I did most of the talking and it really was okay. Some people will love you for being quiet.
You just need to find those folks. Also, seconding that dating per se isn't necessary. I am not a fan of dating and was married for 22 years.
Dedicated to your stories and ideas.
Try some online dating. People with interesting profiles often have several things you'd be interested in learning more about, so you've got some conversation fodder before you even start, and once you've gone on a few dates with various people, you'll start to loosen up and hopefully start being able to enjoy them more as interesting activity, regardless of whether it might lead anywhere.
Once you're enjoying dating simply as a usually enjoyable way to spend part of an evening, then that simple fact renders moot a bunch of things you're worrying about. It sounds like your struggle isn't with being quiet, it's with poor self-esteem. That is something to work on if you'd like a good relationship. The best conversationalists aren't people who talk about themselves - they're people who ask thoughtful questions and then listen.
Just because you don't like talking about yourself doesn't mean you have to sit in awkward silence. This sounds like a self esteem issue to me as well
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