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Eveningstargazer, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 155
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
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I am having trouble finding a girlfriend, i have only dated

Customer Question

I am having trouble finding a girlfriend, i have only dated back at University and have been working for several years. I get really shy and nervous around women and do not want to be lonely for the rest of my life. I have great male friends but want a girlfriend and do not want to use online dating or something embarrassing as this. Can you please give me some tips on how i may improve my chances of finding a girlfriend that is right for me?

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Eveningstargazer replied 3 years ago.
Good evening, I will do my best to assist you with this today. The primary thing you seem to be struggling with is some social anxiety and lack of confidence. Clearly you have the tools, otherwise you would not have dated in university; however, it seems that potentially being out of the social scene and focused on your career has caused you some difficulty getting back into the groove.
The first step to overcoming your fear is to understand it first. What exactly is it that you are afraid of? Is it rejection, confusion, embarrassment? You have mentioned that online dating is too embarrassing. I am curious as to what you feel you would be embarrassed about. Once you have identified your specific fear, you can take the next step.
The next step is to identify what kind of girlfriend you would like to have. If you are looking for something that could turn into a long-term relationship, you will want to avoid things like bars or other stereotypical pick up locations. Engaging in social events that are specific to your interests such as hiking or boardgames.
when you are feeling fear in a social situation try and of these five steps
Focus on your breath.
Think about each breath you are taking in, and exhaling out. Listen to the air as it passes through your nose and lengthen each breath just a little bit each time
Positive Visualization.
Picture in your mind the best case scenario: getting her to say yes to a date, having a great time with friends, etc.
Use up the part of your brain that is afraid.
While we may all be excellent multi-taskers, our brain cannot process multiple streams of information coming into the same portal. Try naming 10 states, or counting backwards from 100 by 7’s. This occupies the part of your brain that would normally be justifying your fear.
Please let me know if I have fully answered your question. My goal is to satisfy you with my answer so we can continue to chat here until then. Thank you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for coming back to me.

You are right i have been studying part time at University on some advanced degrees such as the Masters and growing my career. However to have not dated a girl for several years is worrying, however i am pleased at my progression in my career.

I get alot of people staring at me when i am in public places, they do generally smile and say hello. I am not a bad looking person, i guess i just look like your average 23 year old guy, fairly slim and quite tall. However just been out in the public makes me anxious, when other people stare at me for several seconds.

I think the fear of approaching a girl i like is enough to make me anxious. I have the fear of rejection and embarrassment, i think if a women is that attractive i worry the conversation make be awkward and not flow as i had liked. Although when speaking with my male friends i can have very fluent conversions no problem. I think the issue is when the hormones are going, my throat goes dry and i suddenly start getting nervous and i worry that i cannot approach an attractive girl anymore.

For online dating i feel it is embarrassing as if i do manage to meet a girl they may wonder why i could not meet a girl in real life. Meeting someone online is not manly and i feel this is embarrassing and the girl may think so as well.

I would prefer a long term girlfriend, not a relationship that is not going to work for instance a girl from a bar and other stereotypical pick up locations. I am a business person and would prefer to meet a girl at maybe a business event something which i would have in common and be happy to talk about. I do not really have that many hobbies, what kind of other social events could you suggest that may be beneficial?

Do you not feel bars and other pickup locations are just as good as social events. Why do you feel going to a social event would be better for a long term relationship?

Expert:  Eveningstargazer replied 3 years ago.
Thank you so much for getting back to me in such detail. Congratulations on your work towards an advanced degree.
Often when you are so consumed with work and studies (not a negative by the way, studies show that the more educated you are the happier your long term relationship will be) you can forget your social instincts.
With regards ***** ***** of your social anxiety, I reference the skills mentioned above. Considering you are often being smiled at and people say hello to you, this indicates that you have a welcoming, comfortable air about you. This is very important and shows that you have a natural affinity for social interactions.
Regarding approaching women, I pose to you one question: are you willing to risk never talking to another attractive woman simply out of fear that you might get turned down by one? Obviously this is a simplification; however, the concept is still relevant.
I understand your concerns regarding online dating; while typically the view is that online dating simply allows you access to more individuals who you simply may have not had access to before, I can still see the concern.
I do not feel (or rather in my counseling experience I have noticed) that relationships that often begin in these typical pick-up locations are not lasting ones. This is because the relationships are only based on initial attraction rather than common interests and ideals.
Some potential social events could be things related to your masters program, business events as you mentioned, professional associations or networking events. You may even consider finding out some of the places your co-workers go to relax and enjoy themselves.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have reviewed your social anxiety skills, but i still feel this is very hard to overcome. To go from someone who is shy, to someone who is not anxious in public i do not feel these skills will help. I know everybody is different but is there any possible tools to be confident in society. How can i just go about my day where i do not become anxious and being out in the open is a comfortable experience? Where i can meet attractive women and talk to them without worry and have things in place naturally.

I think the talking to an attractive women and having the fear of maybe going red in the face or breaking up the conversation through anxiety is a major worry. I know what you are trying to say, should i never speak to an attractive women again, just because of fear. So are you saying i should just go for it, as we are only here once and we should try things we are afraid of as i might regret not doing it later? I think that is the message you are trying to convey to me.

So if i do use online dating and the women asks why did you use online dating, do you think the idea of meeting women that i might not have had access before is a viable response? Do you feel online dating can work with someone with the same interests or generally is this a a very poor way of meeting women? Will you be viewed with less respect for meeting women with online dating or is this still worth a shot?

Going to social events i feel is the right way forward. However how can it be less awkward if there is a women i like, how can i start a conversation off? These are the things that make me anxious and obviously i start to lose confidence?

Do you feel that a bar could be a viable option, if i chatted with the women first to see if we had things in common. Obviously social events are better for long term relationships like you have said.

Expert:  Eveningstargazer replied 3 years ago.
You certainly have excellent insight; this will serve you will in the future.
In all honesty, when I work with a client who struggles with confidence, it often comes down to taking the time to make small steps. This starts with simply nodding and smiling at an attractive girl one night and repeating this every time you go out in the week. Then the following week, just approaching an attractive woman and sticking up a very short conversation and then excusing yourself. Doing this for a week. Then the following week having a little bit of a longer conversation.
Giving yourself a time limit, knowing that you will only be saying one or two things before excusing yourself will often limit the anxiety you feel as there are no expected outcomes.
Women you meet who are on online dating sites often feel that they will meet more compatible and down to earth partners through the service so in effect your fears are the opposite of the general consensus surrounding online dating.
Regarding starting a conversation: begin with a few easy questions such as "What brings you to this event?" "What do you enjoy about _____?"
Meeting at a bar is not a bad thing, it's just a matter of not putting too much stock in the initial attraction and more on the connectedness that you create.
Expert:  Eveningstargazer replied 3 years ago.
Hi, Just checking in to see if there is anything else I can do for you. My main priority is completely satisfying you with my answer, so please let me know if you need further clarification. As a gentle reminder, if you have found my answer helpful, please be sure to rate positively or accept the answer as it is the only way I am compensated for my time. Thank You!