Do you have trouble letting down your guard and feeling natural around men you like? Join the club. This is the problem I hear about most from introverted women who are looking for love. And it’s what I used to struggle with the most, too.
The answer seems like it would be simple. Just break down the wall and “be yourself”, they say. But it feels so much harder than it sounds.
When you’ve had a wall up for so long, letting someone in feels anything but natural. Instead, you feel rigid, and self-conscious. And this makes you feel frustrated.
The more attractive you find a man, the more tense you get. You have the urge to run, hide, or ignore him altogether. And that’s if the guy even approaches you.
Many introverted women stay stuck in a pattern of being totally unapproachable. Even though these women might be physically attractive, they send off a ‘stay away from me’ vibe that keeps men at bay.
Why you put up a wall
To know how to let down your guard and be more approachable, it’s important to understand why you put up a wall. There are a few predictable reasons…
- You don’t have much experience with dating, so it all feels scary and unnatural
- You are always subconsciously protecting yourself from energy vampires and people who don’t understand your sensitivity
- You fear that you won’t know what to say and the conversation will be painfully awkward
All of the above are very common and valid reasons why you would put up a wall around men you like.
But did you know that there’s another sneakier reason that introverted women have their guard up around men?
This might surprise you
This secret reason usually only comes to light during private coaching sessions with my female clients and students, when we uncover hidden love blocks and fears surrounding dating.
These clients are usually confident, accomplished women who are generally happy with life. But when we dig a bit deeper, the truth comes out.
The one part of their life that they seem to have no control over is their love life. Deep down, they wish that they had someone to share things with. Someone with whom they can go on trips, enjoy the holidays, make dinner.
There is a lot of pain, sadness, and loneliness lingering just beneath their well-heeled exterior. And yet…
No matter how hard they try, they still have this annoying wall up around their heart and can’t seem to let men in.
The truth that’s difficult to face
If you can relate to what I’ve just described you might already know, at least on a subconscious level, that the REAL reason you put up a wall is a fear of the unknown.
Even though there is that horrible loneliness simmering just beneath the surface, and that empty bed at night, you mostly like your life the way it is.
Your life is safe. You have independence and control. You don’t have to worry about things getting messy and uncomfortable.
After all, emotions, love, vulnerability, partnership—these things are all unpredictable. They could sneak up on you unannounced, before you have your makeup on and your house in order.
You want love, but when the potential for love shows up, you freeze up. The fear of the unknown. The fear of vulnerability. The fear of letting someone into your heart. It all builds up around you like a mote.
1. Take small, achievable steps toward opening up.
You don’t want the process to scare the crap out of you. You need to build up positive associations with opening up.
Others will tell you to just dive right in with flimsy “flirting techniques”, like driving a marshmallow straight into the fire. But that kind of forceful approach only thickens your skin more.
2. Spend more time with men.
Ideally, you get used to being around men in more romantic, or at least social (not work) contexts. Go on dates and let men approach you, even if—ESPECIALLY if—they aren’t necessarily your type. Allow me to explain why.
This will give you the chance to practice how to be open, sensual, and irresistible in low pressure environments. After all, it takes practice to get to the major leagues. You don’t want your first clumsy swing at dating to be with The One.
3. Be approachable in imperfect circumstances.
Challenge yourself to ‘turn on the light switch’ even when you or the circumstances are not perfect. A lot of introverted women put up a wall when they’re tired, sad, don’t have their hair and makeup done, or just don’t feel fully prepared to be approached.
Unfortunately, this mindset only leaves a very tiny window of time when you can be approached. And by then the ‘stay away from me’ vibe is already cemented in place. Here’s what works better:
No matter what you look or feel like, soften into your feminine energy by taking a “receiving posture”. Lean back slightly, soften your belly, relax your shoulders, and look up.
Okay, let me just say you just entered the intellectual club of coaches who take it to the next level, Dr. Michaela! All kidding aside, as an ambivert I admire everyone who acknowledges we all have an unconscious side to ourselves we really do not know how to control. That unknown side triggers all kinds of fears in our conscious mind. Hence, we have no idea why those fearful thoughts showed up at the wrong time. With that in mind, I try to give my introvert lady the benefit of the doubt when she is acting strange towards me. In those moments, I resist the urge to react to those thoughts of just giving up! I remember I have got my OWN baggage as a divorced man who fears being in another WRONG relationship. Therefore, your advice to “take small steps” is a brilliant way to negotiate with your unconscious mind to cooperate. A well known psychologist writes how to “tolerate happiness one more day..” which sounds similar to your advice. You keep encouraging me to stay the course, Michaela. Thank you!