Single's Guide to Beating Shyness

By Kelly Jones


First impressions are not only important, they're lasting -- whether they're accurate or not. For shy people, making a strong first impression is tough. Often, shyness is mistaken for indifference or arrogance, terrible attributes for singles. So how best to beat bashfulness? Read on...


Confidence is hot. I'm not talking too-cool-for-school cockiness; I'm talking about letting that inner self shine and showing other singles what you're all about. So no more avoiding gazes, no more shying away from new faces, no more worrying that you'll say the wrong thing at the wrong time.



First impressions are too important. In fact, lifetime-lasting snap judgments are made just seconds after laying eyes on someone. Master a few simple tricks and you'll have the power to conquer shyness and boldly go where you've never gone before.


If You Envision It, It Will Come


It's impossible to go from shy to bold in just one day. It takes practice. Tap into your sanguine side by simply smiling at someone on the bus or in an elevator. Another fab technique for boosting confidence and nurturing that gift of gab is visualization. By playing out all realistic possible scenarios in your mind beforehand, you are in essence going through a dry run of the experience. Visualize yourself being confident and successful, and the real thing will be easy beans.



Let 'Em Judge Your Book by Its Cover


The last thing you want to wear when you're meeting new people are threads that need adjusting. Fidgeting makes you look nervous and unprepared. Don something that highlights your sexiest body parts but doesn't need turning, unfolding or aligning. Being at ease in your salacious skin exudes the confident air you seek. Don't forget to stand or sit up straight (a folded, hunched-over posture signals that you're closed to people around you), unclasp those hands (instinct tells us that closed hands hide weapons), and keep both feet planted on the floor (crossed feet exude an unconfident, off-balance impression).


Eye for an I


Our animal instincts make eye contact extremely meaningful. In fact, our peepers are the most demonstrative part of our body--can you think of one emotion they can't express? Eye contact may speak louder than words--but beware the message: staring too long implies aggression, while not long enough screams insecurity. Remember to avoid over-blinking; Is that a pookie in your eye, or are you just nervous to see me?



A Room with A View


Walking into a room full of strangers is one of hardest things for shy people to do. Thankfully there are three things you can do to give the impression of confidence. First, fight your instinct to hide under the welcome mat. Instead, pause just inside the room, smile subtly, and count to three in your head. As you're standing there, suss out the space. Is there an empty bar stool or interruptible host? Make eye contact with the people your baby blues pass over. Finally, put one Adidas in front of the other and walk toward your chosen target. But don't skirt the room's edges: walk right straight through the middle with slow, convincing strides.



Meet Your Match


When greeting someone new, look into their eyes with a happy, open but not too needy expression. Say their name when you're introduced. Touch is a powerful tool that breaks barriers and makes people feel immediately more intimate. So put out your paw and shake hands. Repeating their name as you do this not only helps you remember them later on, but it makes them feel top-drawer and at ease with you. Beware the flimsy finger grip, the death grip, or the politician's handshake (using both your hands to sandwich theirs).



Talk the Talk


Two singles spending time in the same place already share one thing in common--location. So mention something about your shared environment. Or look for something about them that you can comment on ("nice boobs" or "too bad about that bird poo on your jacket" are not good conversational forays).



Many people scan for quirky tidbits when reading the news, drawing from a stored cache when there's a lull in the conversation. And then there's the foolproof method: asking people about themselves. It not only charms their pants off, it detracts attention from you, lessening any feelings of shyness. Listen to their reply and ask a question related to their answer, rather than spacing out as you try to think of another, unrelated question.



Having an opinion is sexy, so don't be afraid to gently disagree with them, and drop in some personal tidbits without bombarding them with me-me-mes. Once you engage in small talk a few times a day, it will start to feel more natural and instinctive, and shyness will fall to the wayside, opening the door to your brave new world.


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