What to Say on a Chat Line If You’re Shy

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Chat lines seem like a perfect option for a shy person. You don’t have to go out or worry about how you look. Not making eye contact isn’t a problem when you’re on the phone. It should be a shy person’s perfect solution. Except…

Calling into a dating chat line when you’re shy has got to be either the bravest or dumbest thing you’ve ever done. At least, that’s what every shy person tells themselves once they’re on the line and realize they’re going to have to, you know, talk to someone they don’t know.

If you’re painfully shy and don’t know what to say on a chat line, you’re not alone. Here’s what you can say to move past the awkward and get into a real conversation.

Ask Questions

Saying “Hi” and then sitting in silence won’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t work online, and it definitely won’t work over the phone. Once you match with someone, start by asking questions. Leave the personal ones for later, but ask simple things like how their day is going or what they’re looking for. For some people, once you get them talking, they’re happy to keep going. You can sit back and respond to what’s being said instead of having to come up with something clever and hilarious.

Admit You’re Nervous

Will every match be endeared by your nervousness? Not at all. But you don’t need everyone. You just need the one person who appreciates your honesty. They may also feel more comfortable admitting they’re shy or nervous, too. You’ve got an automatic moment of bonding, and a few minutes of the conversation can be all about how weird this moment is. Once you share that first nervous laugh, it’s much easier to start chatting about other things.

Be Yourself

Unless “yourself” is a narcissistic jerk, just be who you are. Maybe you crack silly jokes or have a list of dad jokes a mile long. Maybe you geek out on certain movies or music. You’re trying to connect to someone who will be into you (the real you) so don’t hold back now. But be aware of your audience. There’s such a thing as going overboard. If the other person isn’t getting a chance to speak or share something about themselves, you’re definitely killing it, and by “it” we mean your chances with this person.

Talk About What You Have in Common

Since you’re asking questions to get the conversation going, pay attention to what you have in common. Do you have a similar type of job or are you both the same Myers-Briggs type or astrological sign? Once you find something you have in common, focus the conversation there. It might be something you can both geek out about, and it might not. The conversation may highlight even more differences you have, but it doesn’t matter. As long as the conversation is fun and interesting, you’re probably not thinking about how shy you feel. 

Listen More than You Speak

This should come as a relief to any shy caller — instead of carrying a conversation, spend time listening. Of course this is much easier if the other person is a talker. But even if they’re shy, the best way to make a real connection, especially over the phone, is to give the other person time to talk. You don’t have to run the entire conversation for it to be successful, and people appreciate being listened to. So use tip number one (ask questions) and then sit back and listen.

Avoid Meaningless Compliments

A compliment can be a great opener when you’re shy, but don’t tell someone they’re hot when you can’t see them. Instead, comment on their voice or how interesting their interests are. If you think they’re funny, tell them. Like the huskiness of their voice? Tell them! If you’re really feeling shy, this might not be the first thing you say, but make sure it’s a genuine compliment about their name, their voice, something real.

Avoid Arrogance

A lot of shy people get told they need to fake confidence when talking to someone new. There’s nothing wrong with faking confidence, but it doesn’t take much to veer into arrogant a$$ territory, either. If you think being confident means you stop listening, don’t care what the other person says, and tell mean or vicious jokes (basically the opposite of everything we’ve already said), that’s not confidence. You’re fully into arrogant territory, and you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Being shy can sometimes feel like it holds you back when you’re dating and meeting new people. But it can actually be an asset. All you have to do is get enough courage to ask the first question or admit you’re feeling awkward. With the right person, that’ll be enough to start a conversation. From there, you never know where things will lead — whether to a second conversation or a first date.

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