While I seem to have experience with men on both ends of the spectrum – those who are brash and mega-confident, and more reserved types you may not notice at first glance – there are many advantages in dating and getting to know a shy man.
In fact, the first man I fell for after my divorce was a shy guy by any measure, and at the time, his style of interaction was just right… for me.
Many of us are fragile after a breakup, and hesitant to trust our judgment in romantic dealings – as least for awhile. As a single parent, I felt especially vulnerable, concerned about anyone who might influence my children’s lives. The shy man was a better fit than his more aggressive counterparts.
Besides… Aren’t you intrigued by those who have the confidence not to tell all, or not too much, too fast? Instead, they read others, they allow time to pass, and they pick their moments for appropriate disclosures.
The Alpha Male – Give Him a Try?
We hear so much about the Alpha Male, and how all women really want to be dominated – insert my weary sigh here ______. We are also told that we look for strong seed and a good provider for mating purposes. And the fact is – many of us are drawn to what we perceive as perfectly testosterone-infused confidence. If swagger comes along for the ride, some find that appealing while others… like yours truly… not so much.
You can find all kinds of definitions of the Alpha Male in popular literature, but I’ll take the more “evolved” cues presented in Ask Men’s definition, wherein he not only “projects strength or confidence,” but he is competitive and driven, but not necessarily controlling. He’s also prideful, but not arrogant.
I will buy the (Alpha Male) biological imperative at a specific time in life and to some degree, further reinforced (or not) by the way we’re raised. But life experience is not to be disregarded, and may in fact make the shy man an ideal partner for some of us. (I can’t say that shy and Alpha are entirely contradictory by the way, though you might say otherwise.)
Aggressive? Assertive? Quietly Confident?
I’ve had my own dealings with the Alpha Male, which should be no surprise. I’m a strong (and strong-willed) woman, and I like a decisive, egalitarian partner. A man with his own opinions. And I’m impatient with people who are sheepish, but bashful is a different matter.
It’s also easy to confuse aspects of personality and behavior for strength, and likewise, for weakness. I have made the mistake of falling for my share of the charismatic (but narcissistic) men, and those quickly became problem relationships.
What I’ve discovered over the years: There are men who are aggressive or assertive in some ways and compassionate in others, and personality type is not necessarily telling as to whether or not we’ll hit it off.
I’ll take quietly confident (with a hint of humor), thank you very much.
And no thanks to those who insist: “Just do it my way.”
Are You Shy?
Were you shy as a child? Are you happier out of the spotlight?
I was a shy kid until about the age of eight. And I have my shy days or moments, even as an adult. In fact, some gatherings bring out a side of me that tends toward observer rather than participant. Under the right circumstances, I can fake my way through a social occasion I’d rather not be attending, but what I’m doing is applying will power (and learned skills) to overcome shyness.
And that includes shy men – men who don’t want or feel a need to wear a mask or initiate a conversation first, men who may be observing and assessing and keeping their own counsel, men who may be insecure in some ways (though that is an assumption) and very secure in others, men to whom I am happy to give the time and space to get to know.
Disadvantages of Dating Shy Guy
The disadvantages of dating a shy man may prove more of a challenge upfront in breaking the ice and getting to know him. For example:
- Shy Guy may have trouble making or holding eye contact
- Shy Guy may be find himself tongue-tied, challenged in initiating the conversation or keeping it going
- Shy Guy may not have the moves, may have dated relatively little
- Shy Guy may be less practiced at reading signs
- Shy Guy may be slower to trust you, or his own feelings
None of this is to be confused with confidence in who he is or what he pursues as a profession, much less activities he loves. But if you genuinely prefer a gregarious man, a conspicuously worldly man, a man who rarely hesitates – the shy guy may not be your cup of tea.
Advantages of Dating Shy Men
Thinking back, there are many advantages to relationships with shy men. They include:
- They are non-threatening
- Thy are unlikely to embarrass you in public
- They are likely to keep your confidence
- YOU get to take the spotlight (if that’s your thing)
- They put others at ease by not overwhelming them
- The pleasure of discovering someone slowly
- Time to form a deep and trusting bond
There are assumptions in these advantages of course. And nothing says that a man who isn’t shy can’t exhibit these same behaviors. But in my experience, a shy man is far more likely to offer you these and other benefits of his less than stereotypically aggressive male stance.
Relationships With Shy Men
Every relationship has its pros and cons. We wish our partners would ask a few more questions about our day (and really listen), or take out the garbage (without being asked), or remember an anniversary (without hinting), or load the dishwasher the way we like – though we know just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Dating or living with someone who keeps his own counsel or who is slow to warm up in a social situation can pose challenges. It can also be an incredible relief in a noisy world that nudges us all to express too much, too often – and often too loudly.
Now I won’t say that shy guys are a best kept secret, though they very well could be. When you consider that they may not exhibit exactly the sort of bravado that stereotypical Alpha Males routinely display.
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