It's Friday afternoon and your girlfriend is chatting about plans for the weekend. "What would you like to do?" she asks, looking for suggestions. You shuffle your feet a bit, shrug your shoulders, and say "I dunno. What do you want to do?" It's not that you don't want to make plans with her -- just that your shyness holds you back from being yourself. If you want to be more outgoing with your girlfriend, you need to start living in the moment.
Shift Your Focus
People who are shy may hold back due to fear of being embarrassed or rejected. If you want to be more outgoing, you need to let go of these thoughts. One way to do this is to shift your focus to the other person, says Alex Lickerman, general internist, in the Psychology Today article, "How to Overcome Shyness." Listen carefully to your girlfriend and you will easily feel more outgoing.
Poke Fun at Yourself
People who are outgoing don't mind poking fun at themselves, writes Don Gabor in his book, "Talking with Confidence for the Painfully Shy." Consider telling your girlfriend a funny story about yourself -- "foot in mouth" incidents are good choices. Recount the time that you spilled your tray of food all over the cafeteria floor -- and how you laughed as your classmates gave you a round of applause. Show her that you aren't afraid to have fun and don't take yourself too seriously.
Do a Shared Activity
Shy people usually feel more outgoing when doing a mutual interest activity, says psychologist Carl Pickhardt in the Psychology Today article, "Surviving (Your Child's) Adolescence." If you become stuck while trying to make small talk with your girlfriend, choose instead to do something fun together like indoor rock climbing, miniature golf or taking an art class. A shared activity will help you break out of your shell, show your talents and give you a common interest to discuss.
Get Regular Exercise
People who are more physically fit are more likely to be outgoing, according to "Personality, Metabolic Rate and Aerobic Capacity," a study in the open-access Public Library of Science journal [PLOS ONE]. While we don't know if running five miles a day makes you more outgoing, or if outgoing people are more likely to run five miles a day -- we do know that exercise improves confidence and makes you feel good. Try out for the basketball team, join a hockey league or just go for a hike every day. Better yet -- ask your girlfriend to join you as you work out -- and reap the benefits of doing a shared activity.
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