I’m pretty new here, so I don’t know if this is in the right forum. Anyway, I have a dating question. I’m 19 years-old and I’ve never had a boyfriend, let alone gone on a date. I feel rather embarrassed about this, since it seems most people my age are pretty experienced when it comes to dating. The thing is, I’m a pretty shy girl and I have trouble meeting new people. I go to college, but I don’t know how to strike up conversations with guys I might be interested in. I’m also really self-conscious and get pretty nervous when I try talking to people I don’t really know, for fear of saying something stupid. I guess I’m asking for some advice as to where I can try to meet new people, and more importantly, how to strike up a conversation with someone without seeming awkward. I’m just afraid I’ll never find someone . Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Myself, I met my wife on Ave Maria Single Catholics Online.
I know that there are several other members that have met there as well.
The only other suggestion that I would have it to get involved in your parish or a local youth group. Being a core member could be a great thing.
I second the idea of the youth group at church… usually there’s a good Newman Center at most colleges or at least an active program for students.
Also… consider joining clubs or groups related to things you’re interested in… sometimes conversations flow easier when you’re in a relaxed setting and enjoying the subject.
I too have never had a boyfriend. And I never plan on trying to find one either.
But then, I am a man.
Seriously, some internet sites like Ave Maria Singles or Catholic Singles may help you find someone. And they are okay as far as that goes, but often times the person you connect with is far away and travel can be expensive.
But I think, unless you live in a rural area, that you would be better off starting with your parish youth group.
Guys (like me) are dumb. Some of us have to be hit over the head before we realize a woman is attracted to us. Don’t be afraid to grab that pink 2x4 to do that!
One thing I would caution you on is to not date someone who is not Catholic. That may lead to difficulties down the road should you decide to marry the person.
When you are having a conversation with someone, focus on that person. Ask him/her questions about their likes/dislikes, job, classes, etc. Putting the focus on another makes them feel good about thenselves and takes the focus off you. “What classes are you taking this semester? That sounds interesting. Can you tell me more about that?” Focus on making the other person feel comfortable.
I completely second this suggestion.
I learned this technique from my husband when we were dating… he was/is the “social butterfly” and I was much more shy. I learned how to relax by taking ALL the focus off of me… just ASK QUESTIONS!
What are you studying? Where did you grow up? Did you see the football game last week? etc, etc… it’ll help others relax too once someone brings up a comfortable subject…
Good luck… GREAT suggestion, Linda!
Hi, it’s presumptous but when I was your age (I’m 36 now) I was incredibly shy and introverted and didn’t believe girls would have been interested in me. I was surprised to note that years later when I had gained self-confidence the girls I knew said they just thought I was overly serious and not interested in dating. A couple of points of advice, the older you get the more your realise the vast majority of pepole have issues with been self-conscious or nervous, the more you realise that paradoxically the less your own issues wil become.
Secondly, don’t strive to act in any way outside your normal personality in other to make peopel like you. If you are quiet that is who you are. I am as I said introverted in real life and don’t like nightclubs or drinking etc. When I was younger I often felt lonely and would try to make friends by joing groups who enjoyed these activities. Inevitably it was a dissapointment as our approaches to life clashed. Not everyone can or will like you and it’s important to realise that is not actually that important.
Btw it wasn’t till my late 20’s I had a serious girlfriend so don’t feel all hope is lost at 19. I just didn’t have time after age 20 or so due to working hard to try and restore the family home after a series of disasters and it’s only in the last short period of time I’ve gotten married after been with my fiancee for just under 2 years. Um, I can’t comment on not marrying non-Catholics btw as my wife is Orthodox and I know I love her very much -in part because we are both a little quiet and old fashioned and like to do simple quiet things like visit art galleries or read books together and that’s how we first go to know each other, just talking about literature and music.
Yep, this is certainly good advice. For guys too, I will add.
and it’s a cliche but quite a lot of the time the shy girl is the one worth dating in a roomful of girls.
My first date was Valentine day 2004. i was 24 years old and was taken out by a guy at work for lunch. (it was a date because he was within my age range and we didn’t go for company reason) My next one was sometime after Hurrican rita (2005). I didn’t get my first boyfriend until i was 26. You’ve got time to catch up to me.
Don’t worry about experience. Its not necessarly a bad thing. I learned a lot by watching my fellow people. If your in college don’t worry about dating. Focus on your studies and making friends. If you live in the dorms getting inolved in your dorm government. Join new groups on campus. Get involved with your catholic student group or center.
Listen everyone else in college is feeling the same thing. You are all trying to find out who you are. Enjoy this time and work on you and your relationship with God. He is going to use this time to mold you into the women you are meant to be.
You cannot avoid saying something stupid every now and then. You don’t really need to be a genius at all times, either. You’re still smart if you do the numbers wrong, forget a detail or make a grammatical mistake once in a while.
There’s no need to push it. You don’t need to strike a conversation unless you feel like it. I suppose the more restrained people sometimes feel the pressure to initiate a conversation, but they don’t really feel like talking at the moment. I would say it’s more important to talk when you actually feel like talking, although you shouldn’t skip people just because you don’t feel like talking at a given time.
If you don’t have any special and worthy gentleman on your radar, it’s probably better to focus on studying for now. This is your formative period and it defines a lot in your future. Just don’t become career-obsessed.
Note that if you hone your skills and develop your hobbies, you’re more likely to find someone who shares such a connection. The connection will then also be stronger.
I’d focus on improving my socializing skills with friends, or by making new friends before adding in the “romantic interest” complication. Start by being friendly to other girls, and then guys. But not in a flirtatious way, just as friends. Join clubs/ church groups on campus to surround yourself with people who might make good friends. You may luck out and end up finding out the man of your dreams is one of these friends, and avoid all that stuff altogether. Or you’ll become more comfortable with guys enough so eventually move on to the bigger stuff.
Don’t feel embarrassed about not dating by the age of 19. Most people at 19 are not ready to look for a spouse, and really that’s what dating is for anyway. So you’ll find alot of people around here who wouldn’t think your inexperience is weird at all - but actually really wise. The comfort in social situations might need some work, but you’ve got plenty of time to look for a husband.
I am also 19, and I’ve never had a girlfriend! I’ve never been out on a date in my life!
Really, all you can do is be confident in yourself, and in God.
Confidence is attractive. Guy will be drawn to that.
Besides, sometimes saying something stupid is good.
If I like a girl, it’ll just seem cute when she says something stupid on accident. I say stupid things all the time!
In fact, I look at my nerdy-ness as a “girl-filter”!
If a girl is worth my time, she’ll look past my geekiness.
Don’t worry, it’ll work out according to God’s plan one way or the other.
Thanks so much for the advice, everyone
I had a boyfriend from the time I was 17 until I was 21, and it was a mistake, to be honest. I wasn’t ready to find a husband, and so I got into these relationships (two of them back to back, one year and three years) that were not able to go anywhere. I ended up confused and frustrated. Finally I realized that I didn’t need to be in a relationship if I wasn’t looking to get married, and I stopped dating altogether for five years. My friends thought I was crazy. People were shocked that I could survive five years without sex. (I’m not Catholic, by the way, so I made the mistake of having a sexual relationship in college.)
Not dating was SUCH a RELIEF! I was able to explore my own feelings, needs, and preferences for life. I was able to make my own dreams. I didn’t need to worry about whether I should be preparing for marriage and whether I was leading the man on.
Anyway, you’re at college now and you feel embarrassed to talk to guys you might be interested in. I say just try to enjoy life right now. Talk to guys, not as potential boyfriends, but just as people. Join a few clubs, as suggested above, so you have things in common with the people you’re talking to. Just try to be friendly to people in general - you don’t need to entertain them, just be kind, thoughtful, and interested in their lives. Ask them follow-up questions - if someone mentioned that he wasn’t feeling well on Friday, ask him on Monday whether he’s feeling better. It’s a good way to develop a friendship and establish yourself as a thoughtful and considerate person.
When you are talking to people, both men and women, consider the aspects of their character that you like and dislike. This can help you determine what you’re looking for in your future husband. That way, you can feel that you are gaining experience for your future marriage without compromising your values. Just don’t decide that because you like somebody, you must date them. I know a lot of men who are thoughtful, kind, and responsible, and yet would not be right for me. Enjoying spending time with someone doesn’t mean you should fall in love with them.
And if somebody asks you on a date, by all means, go out with them! Be safe, of course - tell a female friend where you’ll be and make plans to call her at midnight to say you’ve made it home safely and haven’t been turned into a pumpkin. But if nobody asks you and you don’t have anybody you feel like asking out, don’t be hard on yourself for not dating. You can still develop your social skills without going on dates.
Good luck! Hope I didn’t lecture you too much!
You would be surprised how many people are in your situation. I’ve only had one previous girlfriend and it wasn’t until I was 20 and I was studying abroad in England. Of course that wasn’t going to work out but the brief time I was there sure was wonderful and the fact that I was 20 before finally experiencing that made it all the better. Well, it just so happens that also was the only time I did not really pass my grades and had to get out before it was too late since I wasn’t going to have that on my transcript. It was worth it though, finally having a social life and ditching school to do stuff. Basically, I was there to learn everything but school. I even got credit for one semester since I had done enough minimal stuff for that and just was smart enough not to stick around for the exams at the end of the year.
While I have friends I’m completely focused on school now expecting to be in the top 5 or 10% of my law class which basically means I have no life. I’m open to whatever vocation God may have for me and if I end up meeting someone and getting married after I graduate then from what I’ve read on here, virginity and a lack of numerous past relationships would be more of a good thing. So the point is not to worry about it.
Sweetie, you’re only 19! You have your whole life ahead of you! And fullfilment and happiness does not come from going on dates and having boyfriends, life is so much more than that!!! Enjoy your freedom, to travel, find yourself, find out what you want out of life…and if it is God’s will you WILL find a nice man on your path at some point!
I had never been on a date until I was 28, I just wasn’t interested…Then I signed up for an English Catholic dating agency, the ‘Catholic Unattached Directory’ and had lunch-time dates with around 10 men, most were one-offs, 4 of those men I saw several times, but as friends because there just wasn’t any ‘spark’…then, I met a guy, with whom it just ‘clicked’ and 6 months later we were engaged, married 6 months after that and 7.5 years later we have 2 beautiful girls together! I was 29 when I met my husband, and so was he. We were both virgins when we married and to be honest: neither of us ever regret having waiting for a relationship THAT long…
So, take heart, live your life and don’t worry: you’ll meet someone, often when you least expect it;) !
As a guy who was very shy in college, know that there are lots of guys out there who feel the same way you do. I don’t really know you, but it sounds like you may be putting too much pressure on yourself to “succeed” at getting a guy. At least, that was the way it was with me with respect to finding a woman. I’m 39 now. Had I been able to speak to myself 20 years ago I would have said “relax!, when the right girls get to know you they will come to YOU.”
Recall that in the Church, marriage is a vocation - God’s call for your life’s work. With that in mind, God will most certainly place the right man into your life’s path when the time is right. However, you make things easier for God when you take active steps to help in the process. Joining the right groups is helpful, Catholic youth groups, Catholic dating websites, etc. However, I urge you not to expect immediately finding someone. As others have posted on this thread, it can take years. Trust me, I KNOW how frustrating that can be, but don’t rush into things. You will regret it.
That, too, is something I know. I allowed my sense of inadequacy and shyness to get the better of me. I felt I HAD to have a woman and that I was too shy to get a woman, so I better stick with whomever I could find. I fell into sin and lived in sin. I fooled myself into thinking what I was doing was right. I married someone I shouldn’t have married because I knew she had severe emotional problems. She left me. Again, I got desperate and made the same mistakes. After an adjudication of annulment from the Church, I married again. Unfortuantely, I married for the wrong reasons again. I am now struggling with a marriage where my wife is not even Christian.
I am sharing these things with you to encourage you not to make the same mistakes. I truly know how hard it can be for a shy person, but stay true to the Catholic faith and don’t let feelings of lonliness cloud your judgement. (Not that you are, you may not be lonely at all, but I’m just saying.) In the end, if you find yourself with a man in full communion with the Catholic faith, you will find yourslef in a place of awesome beauty and grace. Don’t settle for less!
You are very young, so of course it could be years until you find someone, but if you find yourself not being attracted to anyone in particular, but rather being attracted to souls, you may want to consider a religious vocation…
But you have years and years before you come to that point!
I would say that it is of the utmost importance that you date someone with the same values and the same faith, someone you can grow with spiritually. Then look for their personality.