Shyness is an issue afflicting people of all sorts, especially when dating. Bernardo Carducci, an IU-Southeast New Albany psychology professor and director of the Shyness Research Institute said it doesn’t have to be an issue.
He said it comes down to ease of conversation.
“The idea when engaging in conversation is to make it easier on the other person,” Carducci said in an IU press release. “It’s not about showing how brilliant or sophisticated or funny you are. It’s about making the other person feel comfortable in the conversation.”
Carducci recommends before even going on a dinner date, learn something about your location, research current events and avoid politics or religion on the first date.
“Get conversation, not converts,” he said in the release. “Successful conversation is the starting point of all relationships.”
First, he said people often make an error in thinking everything they say has to be brilliant, eloquent and well-structured.
“The mistake people make is that they think their opening line has to be brilliant, that they have to sweep the other person off their feet,” Carducci said. “The problem is, if you start out at that expectation, you have to maintain that expectation.”
After the first step, people should offer some personal information about themselves. That information lets the other person you’re out on the date with know how they can try to relate with you.
Fishing for new topics is the next thing on a date. Carducci said people can get nervous if they have awkward silence as they search through topics but said it’s not as bad as people think.
“Be aware of ‘awkward silences,’” Carducci said in the release. “Typically they aren’t as long as you think they are. Don’t think ‘Oh god, I bombed this.’ What’s going on during those silences is that the person is thinking about what they’re going to say about the topic on the table.”
Once both people have a good topic, next comes expanding on the subject. However, Carducci cautioned against trying to “one-up” a date. Rather, conversation should be about extension and collaboration.
“Remember that you don’t have to be brilliant, but you do have to be kind,” Carducci said.
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