Shyness can hold you back from fully enjoying a relationship. If you feel extremely shy around your boyfriend, you might talk very little, show little affection and have trouble living in the moment. You also probably worry a lot about what he thinks of you -- which gets in the way of just being yourself. As dating and relationship consultant Jeremy Nicholson states, you need to get out of your own head and be curious about the other person in order to be less shy.
Being curious about your boyfriend moves the focus away from your insecurities, says Nicholson -- a process that will also help you to get to know each other better. Make it a goal to learn something new about him every time that you talk. Ask him what he loves best about snowboarding, whether he prefers action-adventure or sci-fi flicks and what he would list as his top five future travel destinations. Be curious and interested in what he has to say, and you should feel some of your shyness disappearing.
Be a Planner
People who are "successfully shy" -- that is who have active social lives despite being shy -- are good planners, argues Bernardo Carducci, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Indiana University Southeast. They plan topics for small talk, plan to arrive early at gatherings to get comfortable and generally think in advance about how to negotiate social encounters. You can do the same with your boyfriend -- in an affectionate way. Plan interesting conversation topics and get in the habit of offering hugs hello and kisses goodbye. Planning and anticipating relationship activities helps you to stop questioning what you are doing -- thus getting out of your head and into the moment, which can increase your comfort level when you are shy. When affection becomes a routine part of your day, it will also feel less nerve-wracking.
Showing affection through electronic communication is a good way to get closer to your partner, notes Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of sociology at the University of Washington. Carducci agrees, noting that those who are shy are often more easily able to open up by text, chat or email. If you can't say something to your boyfriend in person -- text it -- and see where the conversation leads. Just be careful, because you might open the floodgates and divulge more about yourself than you originally planned.
Social Anxiety Disorder
A national survey of 10,000 teenagers aged 13 to 18, published in November 2011 in the journal "Pediatrics," showed that 12 percent of those who were shy also had a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder -- a more severe form of shyness that can impair daily life. If you are extremely anxious around people, you may be more than just shy and could benefit from treatment. In this case, meeting with a doctor is the best step to take.
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