I'm a very shy girl who can't seem to strike up a conversation with anyone I don't already feel comfortable with. All of my friends are outgoing and carefree, and I cant even get a date to save my life! I've convinced myself that there is no one of the opposite sex that would possibly be interested in me, which in turn fuels my feelings of loneliness. I've tried to put myself out there but I don't know what else to do when I seriously lack confidence. How can I approach males without feeling like a complete idiot?
— Low Confidence Lila
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Dear Low Confidence Lila,
I think you already know the answer to your question; it's time to get your confidence up and learn to like yourself, shyness and all! First things first, being shy is not the same as having low self-esteem, so learn to embrace your shy side. It's part of who you are and that's OK. But you can't just be a wallflower and expect the world to come to you. That's where the confidence comes in handy. Figure out how you want to be defined outside of "shy." Maybe you're a stellar baker or maybe you're more of the private artistic type, but whatever you are, embrace it.
If you start thinking of your unique characteristics as positive attributes, you may be surprised to find how quickly you start to feel better about yourself — confidence really is all about your state of mind, even if you have to fake it at first. Once you've got your head in the right place, try boosting your confidence through various solo activities. Do something you'd never thought you could, like eat out alone or join a running group. After all this, approaching a guy (or getting a guy to talk to you) will be no problem! Sure, it's going to take time, but just be patient because the rewards are worth it.