How to Make a Shy Guy Relax on a Date

by Mitch Reid

If you’ve landed a date with a shy guy, be prepared for a challenge. Shyness is a tendency to focus and worry excessively about oneself during a social encounter, writes Karen Payne, who holds a doctorate in psychology, in a Caltech Counseling Center article. Your goal is to make your date feel comfortable and let go of his self-conscious feelings. Shy guys might not open up immediately, but in time, you can develop a solid relationship.

Setting the Date

If your partner is hesitant to speak up, it might be tempting to grab the reins and set up the date yourself. But give and take is important in a relationship, and you want him to relax. For example, dragging him to an ice rink when he can’t skate could increase his anxiety. Save new experiences for when he is comfortable around you. Focus on a familiar setting that makes him comfortable, such as dinner at a local restaurant.

Make Him Smile

Smiles are contagious. Throughout the date, find reasons to return to that genuine smile, but don't plaster on an insincere grin. The goal is to get your shy date to return the smile. A 2012 study from the University of Kansas published in Psychological Science revealed that smiling can lower a person's heart rate and increase positive feelings, making your date more relaxed. There are many other ways to get a smile on your partner’s face. Try tossing in a compliment. Find opportunities to joke and tease.

Ask Questions

Make sure you are not doing all the talking. Ask your partner questions about his hobbies and interests. These should be open-ended questions, so he can't get away with one-word answers. If he does give a one-word answer, gently probe for explanations. If he doesn't want to talk, back off. You don't want to be nosy or demanding. Avoid rapid-fire questions and volunteer information about yourself between inquiries.

Admit Shortcomings

While you don't see yourself as intimidating, your date may have a different view. It is always good to have a positive self-image, but don’t be afraid to humorously admit shortcomings. Tell your date about a time when you were afraid or embarrassed. Your imperfections might make him less intimidated and allow him to feel comfortable sharing a few embarrassing stories of his own. Keep the conversation lighthearted without straying into depressing topics.

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About the Author

Mitch Reid has been a writer since 2006. He holds a fine arts degree in creative writing, but has a persistent interest in social psychology. He loves train travel, writing fiction, and leaping out of planes. His written work has appeared on sites such as and GlobalPost, and he has served as an editor for ebook publisher Crescent Moon Press, as well as academic literary journals.

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