Dating Tips for the Timid

It may be the Golden Age for nerds. In movies, music and culture, nerdiness has never been sexier. You've got that adorable vulnerability, the smarts and an air mystery. But none of it will do you any good if you can't work up the courage to talk to people.

Here's how to step out of the shadows.

Bashful Buster #1: Fake It

Dating advice almost always includes the missive "be confident," like it's just that easy. But you don't actually have to feel confident - you just have to convincingly fake it. Pretend that you're the attractive, charming and fun person you'd like to be. Eventually you may be surprised to find out that you really are.

Bashful Buster #2: Script It

Always at a loss at what to say? Come up with a few icebreakers and rehearse your conversation-starters with friends. A good tip is to try to come up with something to ask (e.g. "I'm thinking of getting away for a few weeks. What's the best trip you've taken recently?").

Bashful Buster #3: Harness Technology

The Internet has blessedly provided you with a way to meet and connect with strangers in a way you may struggle to do in real life. You can take your time crafting just the right message, be flirty without feeling self-conscious, and warn your dates about your shyness so they're not surprised by a few moments of awkward silence.

Bashful Buster #4: Choose a Venue

Visit places that don't require as much talking. Pick events - ultimate Frisbee, surfing, ballroom dancing, whatever - where the activity is the focus and there's less pressure to chat. Or go to places (wine tastings, museums) that give you a conversation topic built right in. Steer clear of restaurants, bars or cafes until you're more comfortable.

Bashful Buster #5: Play Your Strengths

Shy people have one irresistible quality that effusive talkers don't: they're great listeners. Instead of worrying about what hilarious retort you should come up with, focus on what the other person is saying. Ask questions. You may be your date's favorite audience.

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