I’m a 22-year-old male who has never been on a date, and never done anything with a girl in a romantic way. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I’m too nervous about asking somebody out.
It’s strange, I’m normally fairly outgoing. I have no problems speaking my mind, and I don’t get embarrassed easily. But for some reason, I can’t bring myself to ask anyone out. Last night I tried to ask a girl out at a store (she was flirting with me) and I felt like I was going to get sick, pass out, or both. I don’t know what I’m so afraid of, honestly. With this girl in the store – if she rejected me, then I’d just shrug and move on. It’s not like I’d see her again. But for some reason I just…..can’t.
Can you help me with this? Maybe help me figure out why it is I can’t ask girls out. Or how I can get over it. Any advice would be awesome.
A quick caveat before I start, and it’s a fairly common one. If you feel like this is a problem you can’t fix on your own you should consider seeking out professional help. While I am very knowledgeable about dating, my “expertise” is based solely on my own personal experiences and is anecdotal, so I can never know for sure what the root cause of your issue might be if its deeper than just “this process makes me nervous”. If you think it’s deeper than just nerves, seek out a professional. If you think it’s something you can overcome with some dating coaching, I’ll see how I can help.
I think it’s a good sign that you consider yourself fairly outgoing,but just a little less outgoing when it comes to asking someone out. It means (at least to me) that romantic relationships are hard for you, but interpersonal relationships and interpersonal skills come easy to you. That’s actually fairly common, believe it or not. I come across so many men and women who can walk into a room full of strangers and talk to anyone but as soon as a romantic interest is introduced they get the yips. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, or you’re not the sporting type, it’s when you lose a skill you once had a command over. In sports, you lose motor control that would make you effective, in social settings, you’d lose your social skills. Where you’d normally have no problem speaking your mind, or being outgoing, you suddenly cannot do that when you encounter someone you find attractive. So yeah, it sounds like you have the yips when it comes to asking people out.
Here’s what I want you to do. Let’s imagine that in the situation you described above, where you wanted to ask this girl at the store out, you actually asked her out. Write down what that would involve, or just imagine it. What would you say and what reaction would you hope that would elicit? How would you go from reciprocating her flirting, to transitioning to getting her number, and then even further down the line how would you ask her on a date? Really give it some critical thought and also visualize how you’d do all those things if you were the version of yourself that is socially capable in a flirting situation. Once you get a handle on all the best-case-scenarios, playthrough all the worst-case-scenarios you can imagine if you ask her. Maybe she’s got a boyfriend, or she’s just politely flirting, or she doesn’t date men, or she’s just not attracted to you, and so on. Visualize your reaction to each one of those scenarios. You mentioned that you’d shrug off the rejection, so you don’t need any coaching on how to deal with a rejection, which is a very good place to be honestly. Just try to imagine as many best case scenario and worst case scenarios that you possibly can, and play them out in your head or write them down. This might sound new-agey but honestly it’s part of how I got over my shyness and introversion around people I was attracted to. Part of the the whole “Tao of Indifference” is not sweating the small stuff, and if you can imagine the worst case scenario in any situation and shrug it off, you’re already on the right path. I think if you put your mind to work by playing through all these different scenarios, asking her out, or anyone else out, becomes a lot easier because you know what to expect. Asking someone out leads to a yes, a no, or a maybe. The details of how and why you get those answers have an infinite number of permutations, but in the end you either get your advances accepted, rejected, or get a tentative response.
The only other option I’d suggest is that you try out low stakes immersion. Not necessarily with the girl from the store, but with people you’d potentially be attracted to. What you need to do is practice flirting with no real end goal of it actually leading anywhere other than having a flirty conversation. Just work on flirting with women you find attractive with no specific intention other than to have a conversation with someone you find attractive. The goal is to get comfortable with flirting, and also to lower the stakes of flirting. If you get asked out, absolutely accept if you’re attracted to them. If you work up the nerve during your immersion to ask someone out, do that too, but only if you want to and DO NOT MAKE IT YOUR GOAL. Focus on normalizing flirting so when you actually want to ask someone out, you’ll already have built up a comfort level with all the steps it would take to ask someone out.
Both of those methods are about making flirting, and eventually asking someone out, something you are comfortable with. Anxiety, nervousness, and fear usually stem from the unknown, so making yourself comfortable either through immersion or mental preparation will make flirting and asking women out a lot easier to deal with.
I hope this helps, and if not, consider seeking professional help, especially if it’s deeper than just having anxiety around people you’re attracted to.
Good Luck Out There.