Meeting new people can be a scary experience when you are gay and shy. As a gay man, it can be hard to approach new people because you never know how they will react to your sexual orientation. While most people are kind, accepting, and loving, there is always that fear that you might meet a homophobe, religious fanatic, or verbally vicious individual, so learning how to cope can make your life easier. Whether you are looking to make friends, meet acquaintances, or create romantic connections, being shy and gay is a tricky combination. In this article, we will give useful tips to help you deal with shyness as a gay man.
Best tips for dealing with shyness as a gay man
What if your shyness is the reason you haven’t met the love of your life? Whether you are shy because you are an introvert, teased, bullied, had a heartbreak, or loathe interacting with strangers, shyness can result in a lonely and isolated life. While it might feel safe and self-sufficient to stay in your cocoon without interacting with people, a lonely life can affect your mental health, causing you to have flawed romantic relationships. Fortunately, you can use simple tips to overcome shyness and build mental strategies to help you have an active social life.
Here are useful tips to help you overcome shyness:
· Be honest about your shyness
Traditional masculine ideals have created a rigid perception of what it means to be a man. A manly man is expected to be confident, outgoing, engaging, and social, which leaves out men on the introverted side of the personality spectrum. As a gay man, there is nothing wrong with being introverted or shy as long as you don’t let this condition dictate your social interactions.
The first step in overcoming shyness is accepting yourself just the way you are. Accept that you might never be the life of the party, the guy that makes everyone laugh, or the social butterfly of your squad, but that doesn’t mean your life has to be boring. Accepting yourself means acknowledging your limitations as a shy gay man, which allows you to create strategies to help you overcome this awkwardness.
Secondly, be honest with the people around you. The reason men are not approaching you might be because they think you are a snob. Shyness can make you seem stand-offish, making people give you a wide berth even when interested in you. As hard as it might be, tell people you are shy, so they know your awkward attempts at socializing are because of your personality, not your choice.
· Turn your shyness into an asset
Sometimes your greatest weakness can turn into your biggest strength. While being gay and shy normally works against your social interests, you can flip and use it as a stepping stone to social bliss. You can become the stand-offish, mysterious, and brooding heartthrob, using your shyness to make people curious about you. Some gay men are ridiculously attracted to mysterious men that look like they walked out of broodville. If you play your cards right, you can use your shyness to pick up, using your weakness to get something good in your life. Even in friendship groups, being the shy one gives you the time and space to observe and evaluate issues, making you the best person to give great advice when needed.
In the professional context, shyness can pass for a thoughtful, intuitive, or analytical mind. You can be the guy your colleagues approach when they want professional help with complicated work. Creating an image of a dedicated professional who is ready to help anyone in need can do wonders for your career, making it easy to climb the corporate ladder.
· Talk less, do more
Talking is overrated. Why use a million pretty words when a simple action can communicate what you want to say? Being shy has a way of messing up what you want to say, making you look like an idiot in front of people you want to impress. Being gay is hard enough, but when you add shyness to the mix, you can become an anxious fireball waiting to explode at the slightest provocation. To counter your shyness, you can let your actions speak for themselves. If you are in a gay bar and there is a cute guy you want to pick up, sending him a drink can express your intentions better than any words you can use.
For a shy gay man, acts of service might be the best way to communicate. Rather than telling a guy that you really like him, getting him his favorite scarf or ice cream or cooking his favorite meal can do the trick. The downside of being shy is that there are times you can barely look people in the eye when talking to them or string more than two sentences without running out of breath or feeling like you need to go home to recharge. Using actions to express yourself makes it unnecessary to use words, saving you from the anxiety of talking to people.
· Show off your other qualities
Being shy and gay is just a small part of who you are. You are more than your awkward interactions with people, so you shouldn’t let one personality trait taint your experiences. Maybe you are the best juggler, your painting can rival Picasso’s, or you can hold your own against a chess grandmaster and use these quirks to gain people’s interest. If you can cook, invite a date for a meal and cook for them rather than going to a club or restaurant where there is a high chance you will need to talk to them. If you are a music lover, invite a potential date to a recording studio or mix session and introduce them to your passion, It’s easier to talk or socialize with people when the conversation involves something you love.
Keep in mind that you are using your other qualities to attract and maintain other people’s attention, not to boast about your accomplishments. You want to endear yourself to your social circle or a potential date, not come off looking like an arrogant jerk. Use your good judgment to learn to evaluate the qualities you want to show off to people. Pro-tip, if your other qualities involve weird hobbies like dog fighting, licking toes, or slaughtering chickens (gross), it’s probably not a good idea to take your date there unless they specifically tell you it’s okay.
· Plan what to say
For most people, talking is like breathing, easy and flawless, but it can be a nightmare for a shy gay man. What do you say to create a good impression? What if you say something that triggers a negative reaction, and they start bawling their eyes out? Since you don’t have a way to predict how a conversation will turn out, you only give it your best. If you get tongue-tied, hot flushes, and bouts of nerves that make you forget what to say, it might be a good idea to plan what you want to say beforehand.
If it’s your first date, practice what you are going to say to minimize the likelihood of your mind freezing. You can ask your close gay friends for tips on how to engage in interesting conversations. If your anxiety is through the roof, write your talking points on your phone to use during your date. Keep in mind that your talking points are not written in stone; your conversation can organically flow to something you had not prepared for.
Sometimes the best way to address a problem is to face it head-on. If you want to overcome your shyness, consider leaving your comfort zone. You can interact with people outside your social circle to gain social skills that can help you cope with your shyness. If you are a nerd, you can join a gym where you will be forced to interact with sporty men, which can help you learn to talk with people that don’t share your personality traits.
You can volunteer as a coach for a kid’s sports team, where you will learn to take charge, give directions, make decisions for multiple people, and work as part of a team. You can also take a side job that forces you to talk to people. For instance, you can work as a bartender in your favorite gay bar, event coordinator, or real estate agent, where you are virtually guaranteed to meet new people.
The gay dating scene is pretty brutal if you are shy because you have to compete with pretty colorful personalities if you want to get attention. Being shy can mess up your love life and potential friendships because your condition can make you miss the opportunity to meet amazing humans that can add value to your life. Fortunately, you can use the amazing tips discussed in this article to counter shyness as a gay man.