I also saw the ‘shy-but-nice-guy’-gets-the-girl movies. These were encouraging scenarios because I thought of myself as a ‘shy-but-nice-guy’, but the plot in these movies didn’t work out for me. Sure, I had a couple of girls like me during my early teen years. Usually they were very nice, but not the type of girls I would have approached on my own.
Now that I’m older and wiser, I can see where most girls (and women) would be attracted to a good blend of these two types. If you can be quietly confident, and at the same time be reasonably modest, that might be the sweet spot to attract the right girl, at least for a guy like me. To attract the type of females you would like to have as friends means you have to be the person you want to be.
It’s true that some girls like guys that are very macho, loud, beat their chest, and swing from ropes. I could never have been comfortable with a girl like that, nor she with me.
It’s just as true that if you don’t make eye contact, or if you stumble when you speak, or appear to be weak in character, you will likely find a girl who either wants to be in charge, or is just as meek - if you find someone at all. My path would have taken me in that direction had I not changed. I’m not sure I would respect a woman who would settle for an overly shy, or apparently weak, man. Which reminds me of the old Groucho Marx quote, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”
How to become quietly confident when you are not, is a long, sometimes painful, journey. To become humble, when you have always been the center of attention, may require a shot across your bow that will bring reality to your ego. Either of these are difficult characteristics to change. What would help to avoid either the extreme path of “shyness and fear” meekness, or “seemingly over-confident” bravado?
The answer: A mentor! (cymbals clashing!)
Under almost every circumstance, the best mentors in the world are fathers! Especially for their sons. Sometimes just a little nudge from someone you trust is all you need to move forward, or even pull back.
If my dad had understood me, or been around to help, he might have said this to me.
“Mike, I’ve noticed how shy you are, especially around girls. You have to realize that you have nothing to be afraid of. You have as much to offer as any other guy. Girls are nervous about boys too. They would appreciate you noticing them if you are polite and smile. There may be 1 girl in 10 that will be rude to you and make you wish you hadn't said anything. Just remember that 10% of anything has a crazy element. Almost every time you challenge your fear, you will beat it. Each fear defeated will be a step up to being confident with the ability to shake off the occasional failure. Never give up on anything out of fear of failing.”
That advice would have made a world of difference to me back then. Of course the conversation from a dad to an overly confident son would have been quite different. The point is that fathers, as mentors, should help to shape their sons in the way they both see best.
The young man in the photo above had to have some confidence to ask my pretty niece out. And I am sure he is modestly confident or she would not have accepted. He's either a natural (rare), or well mentored (not common enough).
With all my early angst, everything worked out for me. 39 years ago I married a loving, thoughtful woman and we have wonderful family. However, I would have enjoyed the ages 13 to 23 years so much more had my father mentored me through some tough times. It would have also helped me in school, at work, in competition, in life in general.
Fathers, know your sons, and your daughters. Be there for them when they need you. They won’t always ask for your help, so don’t wait for that.