By Salama Marine, Resident Psychologist at EliteSingles

Salama is on hand to help!

Salama is on hand to help!

Shyness can play a very important role when two singles meet for the first time, particularly when it's been a while since your last date. Whether online or in real life, shyness can become a real problem for some people and prevent them from writing their own love story.

There are four types of shyness:

- The fear of failure and not being good enough

- The fear of exposing yourself and talking to other people

- The fear of judgment from the other

- The fear of saying no or imposing yourself

Registering with an online dating service can really help people who suffer with shyness; it allows them to go through the first steps of meeting someone new, without the difficulty of being face to face. These first steps, like small talk and initial introductions, can often feel embarrassing in real life. However, at some point, the time will come to meet your online date in real life. Therefore, it's better to prepare for this moment in advance.

So, how can you prepare? There are a number of daily exercises that can help - ensuring you no longer see your shyness as a social handicap, but as a character trait that enhances your personality.

Accept and recognise

An essential first step is to learn how to recognise what kind of shyness you're experiencing and then to accept it as part of your personality. If you're an introvert by nature, you may be putting too much pressure on yourself and expecting too much. If this is the case, it's important to stop with the negatives ("I'm not good enough," "I'll never make it," "I have nothing to say," etc.) so you don't damage your self-esteem.

Don't overcompensate

This is one of the mistakes made by a lot of shy people: to overcome shyness, they adopt a persona and play a role that can often be excessive. For example, they overcompensate by dominating the conversation, which can be a real problem on a first date as it leaves no room for the other person to express themselves. It's important to learn how to measure your own behaviour to find the right balance.

Face stressful situations

Of course, avoiding stressful situations would be much easier. However, if the time has come to start dating again, it's time to confront them. Gradually, push yourself to go out and meet new people. To ease you in, it doesn't need to be a first date. Take the pressure out of the situation by inviting a new colleague for lunch or talk to someone new at a party or work event. Start off with just one person to put yourself at ease. These situations, that you once considered stressful, will help you to realise that there is nothing to fear.

By taking these small steps and setting up goals for yourself, shyness will soon be a thing of the past, leaving you with the confidence you need to enjoy your dating journey.

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