Why Would a Shy Guy Push You Away?

A shy guy who pushes you away might be afraid of rejection.
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The quiet guy from your history class seems interested with his constant glances your way, but clams up every time you try to make conversation. Trying to read his mixed signals is confusing -- and being pushed away makes you wonder if you should keep trying. A shy guy needs more time to warm up, so don't take his behavior too personally. It's probably more about him than you.

1 Just Nervous

People who are shy sometimes appear snobby or disinterested, when they are actually just nervous, asserts Indiana University Southeast professor Bernardo Carducci, in the "Psychology Today" article, "The Cost of Shyness." Deep down, a shy guy may want to talk with you but when he tries becomes tongue-tied or anxious. Rather than assume that he is keeping his distance from you, be patient and understanding that he may just need more time to feel comfortable opening up.

2 Too Personal

A shy guy might become uncomfortable if things get too personal before he is ready, suggests psychologist Laurie Helgoe, as cited in the Match.com article, "Getting to Know a Shy Guy." Go slow when telling him personal things about yourself, and when he does confide something private about himself with you be sure to keep it to yourself. Don't chase him or force him to talk if he is not comfortable, says relationship expert Margaret Paul, Ph.D. in the article, "Do You Chase When Someone Withdraws?" Instead, take a step back and focus on yourself.

3 Performance Anxiety

A shy guy might push you away because he is afraid of showing affection or getting close. Shyness is linked to performance anxiety, according to Carducci -- so your guy may worry about whether he is a good kisser or good at being affectionate. Help a shy guy feel more comfortable by complimenting those things that he does well. For example, if he gives you a hug, say something like "I always feel safe and protected with you."

4 Fear of Rejection

A shy guy who is nervous and lacking confidence may have trouble starting conversations with girls and asking for dates, says psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, in the "Psychology Today" article, "What's a Shy, Geeky, Nice Guy to Do?" He may have been turned down in the past or been rejected by an ex-girlfriend. Be sensitive and realize that a shy guy may be fearful of rejection -- leading him to push you away first. Be consistent and show him that you are interested and genuine, and you may eventually find that he starts to open up.

Arlin Cuncic has been writing about mental health since 2007, specializing in social anxiety disorder and depression topics. She served as the managing editor of the "Journal of Attention Disorders" and has worked in a variety of research settings. Cuncic holds an M.A. in clinical psychology.