What Do You Do If You Giggle and Laugh When You’re Shy?

by Reid on July 11, 2016

Hispanic couple smiling at each otherHow can you be clear that you’re not flirting if you’re nervous and tend to giggle and laugh?

With Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Cathy: We had someone write in and say that … well she’s really shy, she tends to smile and laugh when people flirt with her.

Reid: We switched sides. That’s going to screw everybody up.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: What were you saying?

Cathy: I can relate to this. Sometimes when I’m really nervous or shy, I’ll smile and giggle a lot because I’m just feeling overwhelmed but she says sometimes people thinks she’s flirting back when she really isn’t meaning it and she’s not sure how to be clear. How can you be more clear when you’re not flirting?

Reid: And you’re nervous about stuff?

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Got it. Who are you?

Cathy: Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com

Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com.

Cathy: Reid, how can you be more clear when you’re nervous?

Reid: If your natural tendency, this is a jackass alert, I’m about to do it again. If your natural tendency is to …

Cathy: Sorry, guys.

Reid: If your natural tendency is to giggle and laugh?

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Then this is what you do it [laughs 00:00:54]. That would work because then you’re not flirting.

Cathy: Yeah, that’s true.

Reid: But not good advice.

Cathy: Well, if you’re really shy, it’s hard to be. I tend to be super polite if I’m really nervous and I do. I will smile even though I’m horrified sometimes because I don’t know what else to do. If you can find your voice around that and actually share that sometimes I smile when I’m really nervous or even though I’m smiling, I’m not actually enjoying this. I know that’s hard but that might be easier than trying to be …

Reid: [laughs 00:01:32].

Cathy: You can be gentle with yourself because this is not an easy process being really clear with people takes effort and you build up muscles over time.

Reid: My serious answer to this, understanding that you’re shy and what’s interesting is there’s a distinction between shy and introverted where, I still totally stole this from a friend who has a really complicated last name that I can never pronounce correctly, Daniel, you know who you are. The difference between shy and introverted is introverts for the most part recharge or feel refueled with alone time. Extroverts can be around a lot of people and feel recharged and nourished but both introverts and extroverts need alone time to be healthy and also need people time like social time or time with pets and animals like that.

The shy piece actually comes from feeling not self-confident about certain things or having, you don’t feel competent so you don’t have confidence and that creates this self-esteem lack loop. The great news about that is you can work on your shyness in ways that you can slowly rewire your brain and change your behavior. You can attest to this.

Cathy: Yeah. It’s scary at first but baby steps and practice makes a huge difference.

Reid: What I would advocate for is taking steps to work on your shyness but actually not trying to work on it in the moment with this person when you catch yourself doing your nervous thing. You just realizing your doing that will start to help. Take a deep breath, let out some sound if you can or go hmm, like that. Figuring out that “Oh I’m doing that thing,” and this is what I would suggest is if you can practice saying the truth and tell them, “You know what, I’m actually doing this thing that I’m working on actively which is when I get nervous, I laugh and some people mistake it that I’m flirting.”

What you jujitsu and it might take baby steps and you can practice this with your friends, right? Because once we get what you’re doing, then we can be like, “Do the nervous laughter thing and practice on me,” because then we can then roll.

Cathy: I’ll be funny hitting on you and you can practice on it.

Reid: [inaudible 00:04:16]. You taking baby steps like that and working on it, will help and then telling people what’s actually going on. Now, again, I’m a six-foot tall, 240 [inaudible 00:04:35] pound, white man, me telling somebody I feel nervous and that some people mistake that for me hitting on them is different than a woman saying that to a man. I know how different women’s experiences out there in the world are than men. I’m also saying this advice is coming from me as a dude but you saying, hopefully, to a person who means well even if they happen to be a man that people mistake my nervousness for flirting and I’m really nervous right now.

Some of us will get, “Oh, you’re actually not flirting with me,” and you’re anchoring and rewiring how this finds your words in the moment. That is a slower journey but I think will actually get you to your destination faster.

Cathy: Yeah, you can actually ask them for help. If you think they’re hitting on you and you don’t want them to think you’re flirting back, you could say, “Hey, I’ve been working on this thing where when I get nervous when I meet new people, I tend to laugh and be flirty or some people think that I’m flirting with them. I’ve been trying to work on it so that people know I’m not flirting. Could you help me? Is it clear that I’m not flirting with you?” When you’re asking for their feedback, they’re on your side helping you and you get to tell them without being too direct in a way that might make you two uncomfortable.

Reid: If they’re like, “Of course you’re not flirting with me. I know what that means.” Then go [inaudible 00:06:04]. We hope that this has helped. You know what, if this video didn’t help at all, leave some comments about what the takeaway was for you. Thank you so much and thank you for writing in and I hope that this was useful for you. Email us more questions, all of you but also the person who wrote in about this, let us know how this goes.

Cathy: We do read all the comments and may pull new ideas from them. Thank you so much for being part of that.

Reid: Bye.

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