I wish that I was an outgoing, vivacious woman like you. Instead, I am usually quiet and reserved and somewhat socially awkward, depending on the situation. I'm afraid that most men aren't attracted to my personality type, even if it matches theirs. How can I find and attract a man who loves me just the way I am?
Thank you for all of your help. I enjoy reading your Ask Wendy email every Friday.
Diana M. — via email
Thank you for the kind compliment of saying I’m outgoing and vivacious. Do you want to know something? I bet some of my dates thought those same qualities were too intense, obnoxious, over the top, or too forward. Everyone has their own preferences and tolerances, which is a good thing because you are just the right amount of perfect for someone—many someones, I’m guessing.
Here’s my game plan for you: Since you’re reserved, your best choice is to meet someone online. You’ll have access to people who are not in your everyday world, and you’ll have the space and privacy to think and respond in a way that is comfortable for you—unlike, say, at a bar or club meetup. Try Tinder, and another site like Match or OKC.
Even if you’re nervous, show up to your next date with a smile on your face. Be your lovely self and use your quiet, somewhat socially awkward ways to your advantage. If you’re happy to be there and comfortable in your own skin, you’re going to be charming just by being you. And hey, socially awkward can totally be endearing.
Pretend that he’s already your friend. How do you act when you’re with your best friend? Try to put yourself in that headspace and roll with it!
If you like him, show him you like him. You can literally say the words, “I like that about you” when he’s sharing something that interests you. Authentically expressing your appreciation for who he is as a person can go a long way. Combine that with your mad listening skills, and you just might turn out to be the best date he’s ever had.
Every date I went on during my dating years was different. There were some dates where I did most of the listening and very little talking. Those dates were wildly informative, and at the end of them, oftentimes the guy across the table from me thought I was an amazing conversationalist. He might not recognize you’re reserved when you give him space to talk as long as you’re actively engaged.
Get into his world and enjoy his willingness to share instead of worrying about if you’re sharing enough. Use his world as a distraction to your own nervousness, and pretty soon you’ll be opening up, too.
If you do or say something that you feel is awkward, say it. “Wow, that was awkward.” Then smile. You don’t have to be bold or confident to call it like you see it.
And most importantly, if you can shift your focus from “How am I doing with him/does he like me?” to “Do I feel comfortable with this guy? Is he making it easy to be me on this date or am I feeling more awkward than normal?” That can help you take the temperature for how it’s going between you two.
Good luck out there!