I have provided some advice for a few dilemmas often experienced by for shy people.
Nancy Wesson, Ph.D.
Unable To Respond To Personal Letters
Although I would like to be able to write to everyone individually, as a psychologist I am unable to give online personal advice. If you have a subject you would like me to address please let me know and I will try to include it in a future posting.
I am a 27 year old man and I have never dated. I have spent most of my life going to school or working. Now I am finding that that is just not enough. I had a few friends in college or I should say we got together and went places. I hardly ever go anywhere socially. Please help me get started. I do not even know where to begin. I saw your website and I thought maybe you could help me.
Shy and lonely
Dear Shy and lonely:
You are in a difficult situation. More than likely you have been avoiding social contact for many years that is avoiding situations that make you uncomfortable socially. Now it has gotten hard not to do this. You have developed the habit of avoiding social contact. The good news is that this habit with perseverance can be broken.You must start with some very small steps in the social direction. Some of these may be smiling or talking to others, asking people to lunch. You can develop a list of steps for yourself. Each time you take a step reward or praise yourself generously. Everyday you must do this work until a new habit has developed. This work can be done best with the support and direction of a psychotherapist. If you experience actual panic attacks when you try to do this then you absolutely must have the help of a counseling professional.Good luck. This is hard work but bringing people into your life is very rewarding.
I really need your help. I am definitely too shy to see a counselor although I know I need it. I never to out of the house except to work. Going to the grocery store makes me so nervous I feel sick at times. It seems to be gettng worse and sometimes life does not feel like it is worth living.
Dear Too Shy:
You are obviously having a very hard time. I know you say you could not see a counselor, however, I believe it is very important for you to get professional help given how distressed you sound. To begin the process of finding a therapist call a few psychotherapists and leave messages for them. You will probably get voice mail at first. You can find some names by either using the Yellow Pages or your local psychological association can give you some names as well. When one of the counselors calls you back plan to talk to them on the phone first before going to see them at their office. Most therapists are easy to talk to and can help you feel comfortable. Let the therapist know that you are shy and have a hard time talking. After you find someone that you feel somewhat comfortable with, make an appointment and go and see them. Usually during the first question you will be asked to describe your problem and how you are feeling. Best of luck,
I am quite single and quite shy. Recently a woman at work started talking to me but now I cannot seem to get myself to go by her office to talk to her again. In fact, I have been ignoring her and I feel terrible about it. Do you think I should just forget the whole thing ? I like her and I want to get to know her.
It sounds as if this woman may be interested in getting to know you. If you “forget the whole thing” you may miss out on an opportunity to have a new friend or possibly more. When you tell yourself “you can’t” you are really limited your own behavior. Much of our behavior is controlled by self-talk. Is there some other easier way to talk to this woman? For example talking to her in the lunch or break room, calling her and asking her opinion about something or walking her out to her car? If you try another approach to the problem it may work better right now. The important part of this is that you take some action do not continue to avoid the situation.
I am a shy 32 year old single professional woman. My friends tell me I am very attractive. However I cannot seem to get anyone interested in me no matter how hard I try. I have even gotten myself to attend a few singles events although I was too afraid to talk to anyone.
want to be loved
Dear want to be loved:
Without seeing you in person it is hard to know what type of messages you are sending out to the men you meet. However this is probably the problem. In order for someone to ask you out that person needs to know that you are interested in them and that you are available to date. This needs to come across in a clear and positive way. You need to be able to convey these messages. You shyness may be getting in the way of how others perceive you.