Dating a shy girl

Unsurprisingly, I am watching Season 3 of Married at First Sight. It’s addicting, I’m afraid, and I definitely want to see the couples succeed!

This season I was particularly struck by the pair of Ashley and David. David is super-outgoing and wants to talk about everything (and-apparently-has a timeline for physical affection!) while Ashley is the more reticent and introverted partner. It’s a pair that probably could work really well if they both tweaked how they look at each other’s communication styles.

Several weeks in to the experiment, David is upset that-well-Ashley isn’t exactly like him. He takes the lack of what he considers signs of investment in the relationship as her not trying. When, in fact, I imagine that simply the fact that she’s living in the same home as him (and attempted to console him on Father’s Day) is very telling as to her commitment level to the process. And I can say this as a fellow shy girl.

When it comes to being shy, there’s a longer timeline involved in relationships. It takes longer to feel secure and trusting. It takes longer to feel safe enough to open up and talk about things or to be physically affectionate. In fact, it takes longer especially when you care about how someone sees you. These introverted feelings are more difficult to bring to the surface if you’re concerned about how they will be received.

So, while David’s frustration is understandable, he kind of needs to understand where Ashley is coming from. A few weeks is not nearly enough to feel that sense of security in a relationship for a shy girl. Not enough time to feel comfortable with physical affection and certainly not enough time to talk about the dynamics of their relationship.

In the past-both in my experience and some of my friends’-I’ve seen guys take a shy girl’s reticence as disinterest. A lot of guys are used to the chattier variety of women who tell them everything they are feeling and everything they want. But it takes a special type of person to want to put the time and energy into getting to know a shy girl. (And I imagine the same to be said for shy guys!)

If the girl is willing to go out with you; willing to text (she might be more charming by email or text!); and willing to laugh at your jokes, take that as a good sign. In the beginning it will be more about what she does than what she says: Bringing you soup when you’re sick or sending you an interesting blog post about your favorite band will speak volumes.

As time goes on, you will notice a difference in how you two communicate. She’ll reveal little bits of how she feels about certain things until she becomes more comfortable voicing her opinion. As phone calls get longer or when she goes to hold your hand, first, instead of the other way around, you’ll see that her comfort level has improved. It just takes time and a little patience on your part.

And to my fellow shy girls, I know it can be tough. But-in my experience-the guys who don’t want to stick around to get to know you, aren’t the right guys for you. (That compatibility just isn’t there.) Try to be a little more open but also keep an eye out for the guy who is interested in putting time and effort into the “getting to know you” phase. No matter if that takes a little longer with you than other people.


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