You met a shy woman at a college party last week, and think you might ask her out, but wonder whether dating her could be difficult. Fear not -- she could have as much or more to offer as someone who is more socially confident. Though you might need to work a little harder in the beginning to help her feel comfortable, a shy woman is just as capable of offering affection in a long-term relationship.

Relationship Potential

A shy and sensitive woman will often be a good listener and empathetic. She may come across as genuine and vulnerable -- because of her own insecurities. In this way, shyness can be a positive quality that can make a relationship more satisfying, particularly for those looking for a deep connection, suggests Missouri-based clinical psychologist Greg Markway in the "Chicago Tribune." In the same way, a sensitive woman will have her feelings more easily hurt, so you may need to take more care to be empathetic in your own communications with her.

Seize the Day

Women who are shy and sensitive have trouble living in the moment, asserts Indiana University Southeast psychology professor Bernardo J. Carducci, Ph.D., on the "Psychology Today" website. As Carducci notes, the "internal decision trees" made by shy people can be complicated, focusing on past mistakes and future worries. Help a shy and sensitive woman step outside of her head by doing things that require living in the moment. Ideas might include going dancing, trying out rock climbing or playing miniature golf. Activities that encourage focusing on the present moment will help her stop worrying and have fun.

Affection and Trust

A shy and sensitive woman can be just as passionate as her more outgoing and confident counterparts once she becomes comfortable in a relationship, notes professor of philosophy Aaron Ben-Zeév, on the "Psychology Today" website. If, however, a shy and sensitive woman has deep issues, tends toward being severely self-critical and is worried about revealing her true self in a relationship, she may struggle with intimacy, says Lynne Henderson, director of the Shyness Institute in Berkeley, California, in a "Chicago Tribune" article. Encourage trust and self-esteem by sharing your positive feelings toward her.

Fast-Track Relationship

Some women who are shy have little experience dating -- and may move too quickly rather than too slowly, says Markway. She may move rapidly toward a deep connection without first getting to know you -- especially through electronic communication such as emails or texting, warns Carducci. Furthermore, she may jump quickly into new relationships as a way to validate herself. Since dating is more personal than social, she may feel more herself when with a partner. Help her move at a slow pace by asking questions to get to know one another, and build a strong friendship first.