Being Vulnerable: My Fear of Talking to Women

Being vulnerable as a man is challenging in the modern world. Men are taught by society to never show their emotions, and by doing so, is a sign of weakness. They need to be strong, stoic, and to ‘man-up’ in order to be accepted in the world. There are men in the world who have the physical appearance of being strong (muscular) and yet are sometimes the biggest softies by completely destroying society’s standards.

I was attending a BBQ recently and a lady sat beside me saying, “I’ll sit beside this handsome young man.” All I could say was, “Thank you.” I know giving thanks is polite for a compliment, but actually receiving the compliment is entirely different, and being aware of the reasoning behind certain behaviors is quite another level. I will fully and openly admit in my vulnerability that I have a difficult time when it comes to talking to women, and especially to those women I find attractive. I get shy, start feeling nervous, and not really knowing what to say for fear of saying something wrong. This might be similar to the Hollywood depiction of a guy becoming smitten with a woman and the proverbial ‘cat got your tongue’, but my challenge derives from something much, much deeper. Since I grew up with the mentality of being an ugly duckling, I still struggle with my insecurity today even with having numerous other people tell me I’m a handsome guy. It’s a lot similar to the Albert Einstein quote,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

As a kid, I played with a girl from across the park from where I lived. We’d play until our parents yelled at us for dinner, as was customary back in those days, and we had become great friends over the years. But there was a day in Elementary school where things changed between us, and my perspective on the opposite sex changed as well. I don’t recall what exactly the situation was, all I do remember, though, was that my friend looked at me like I was some three-headed monster and wanted nothing to do with me. Thus began my fear of talking to the opposite sex. During both Junior high and Senior high, I mostly kept to myself in terms of dating. There was the occasional slow dance with a girl, but asking a girl to dance was almost like death to me. It may sound like a confidence problem, and to some degree that might be true. To have a bit of contrast in terms of confidence, I was asked by my sister to be the MC for her wedding. Much like speaking to women, to be honest I was scared shitless as the day drew closer. I had never spoken in front of so many people before. Afterward, I had many tell me what a great job I had done as MC as it’s not an easy task; quite the proud moment for sure.

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” – Brene Brown

When it comes to dating, once I get comfortable in conversation or being out enough with a woman, I will open up. I may come off as a bit awkward at first, but if a woman has interest in me, whether romantically or as friends, all I can ask for is patience to be of value, as my struggles of being comfortable when talking to women are still a work in progress. And that patience will most certainly be rewarded.


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