Single, Shy, and Looking for Love: A Dating Guide for the Shy and Socially Anxious Paperback – October 1, 2014
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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―Michelle Skeen, PsyD, author of Love Me Don't Leave Me
In the normal mode of mind we often suppose that the difficult material in that second territory is merely something to be gotten rid of so we can get back to dating. This book takes a much different approach: that territory is worthy of attention and exploration. It is part of the very fabric of our emotional lives that we bring to relationships themselves. If you are interested in exploring human relationships, consider the possibility that you have a much larger territory to explore as part of that very process. This gentle and wise book will show you how.”
―Steven C. Hayes, PhD, Foundation Professor and Director of Clinical Training at the University of Nevada and author of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life
―Deborah Khoshaba, PsyD, clinical psychologist specializing in resilience, personal growth, and health; director of program development and training for the Hardiness Institute; author of several books on the hardiness approach to stress management and resilience; founder of the popular blog Psychology in Everyday Life; and writer for psychologytoday.com
―Leah Klungness, Ph.D, psychologist and coauthor of The Complete Single Mother
―Thomas Plante, PhD, ABPP, Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. University Professor, director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University, and author of Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith, Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: A Decade of Crisis, 2002-2012, and Spiritual Practices in Psychotherapy: Thirteen Tools for Enhancing Psychological Health
―Shawn T. Smith, PsyD, clinical psychologist and author of The User’s Guide to the Human Mind and The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think
About the Author
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 1626250030
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1626250031
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.75 x 8.75 inches
- Publisher : New Harbinger Publications (October 1, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,397,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I am only about halfway through the book, and it has already made a significant difference in my life! The questionnaires, the mindfulness exercises and the plan of action have been immensely helpful and insightful.
As a guy in my early 30s, I have gone through various other sources of dating advice throughout the years, most of them however were misogynistic and created additional and unnecessary self-loathing (the pickup culture, various dating podcasts (you know which ones)). In hindsight, seeing a psychologist would have probably been more helpful for me than all that other "dating" advice or advice from friends or family who don't share my values.
I wasn't even aware of how socially anxious I was until i scored many 3s and 4s in your first quiz in the book (which is used to gauge your social anxiety).
The action plan in this book works. Dr. Kolakowski offers various exercises throughout the book which require time and effort to dig deep and see what exact thought patterns are holding you back. She incorporates ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) which basically encourages you to stop trying to cope with your fears and instead allow them to be and simply be seen as thoughts and feelings that come and go. She explains it as Accept (accept your anxiety, for example), Choose (figure what are the things in life that matter to you and who you want to be and let go of previous thoughts about yourself), and Take action (with a goal in mind you work towards it and work on redefining your identity to live a life that is more in line with your true self). So if you have this mental image of yourself that you aren't capable of dating attractive women because you feel you are really awkward around women, even though that is clearly what you want for yourself, you can accept those thoughts but not let them define you and limit you taking actionable steps towards actually achieving it, if that makes sense. All without the use of games, or lines, or being overly self-critical or self-loathing when you fumble.
Take the first action steps for example. You start taking action by making eye contact and smiling with at three people (old, young, guy, girl, doesn't matter at first) while on a walk. Then you smile and say hi to everyone. Then you start making small talk with people in line at the grocery store, or serving your coffee, etc. You basically work up your social muscle, and eventually you move on to starting to approach people you find attractive and putting yourself in situations where you can meet potential partners. Yes, this approach isn't that much different from a lot of the dating advice out there, HOWEVER the big difference here is the focus on genuineness, authenticity and most importantly self-compassion and acceptance. It doesn't feel gamey at all and that was what was most important for me. I finally felt like I already have everything I need to be successful, I just have to overcome myself (my thoughts patterns holding me back).
All of this is done with mindfulness and meditation exercises which help you accept feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, envy etc. This is the key part of all of this. I think part of this she incorporates from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) if I am not mistaken.
I cannot recommend this book enough! I haven't finished it yet but felt the need to write a review because it has already helped me. I plan to read and reread this book and work on the exercises as I go about my dating life. I almost want a more dedicated program. I feel like this type of behavioral therapy should be mandatory in school. I know a few single people who would also benefit from this book and plan to give them copies.
Thank you, Dr. Kolakowski for showing me how to accept how I feel but not let it define me in regards to my dating life. You made me realize this was my major worry in my life and the source of most of my anxiety, and now I feel I have the tools (this book) to work through it and finally conquer my dating life.
I finished the book and I still stand by my original review.
There was also another really beneficial section to the book near the end. As I was dating the past few weeks or so the thought came up of how am I supposed to filter who makes the cut and who doesn't for the women I'm seeing, but of course there is a section of the book that goes into the exercise of figuring out your values. Once you know those, it becomes way easier to figure out if who you are dating is a good long term fit for you. I never really sat down and wrote my values down before, although I had a general idea. It definitely makes it easier to eventually chose and also even to screen for someone who is compatible with you, if your goal is a long term partner.
I really appreciate the systematic approach of this book and, again, the focus on self-compassion.
I'm not 100% done with it yet, but I'm decently through it and it sends a consistent message: You can remove the shackles of your social anxiety if you continually step out of your comfort zone for social situations. The book cites many examples on both approaching and being approached, and also gives examples on how to uncondition yourself from social anxiety. As someone diagnosed with ASD, I'd all but given up hope that this was possible.
The biggest reason I've decided to essentially flip my review is because I've been reaching out to make new social connections. When sending messages to make or repeat contact, I've literally closed my eyes before hitting the send button (or looking away - anything to remove the reality of what I was doing that would make me back down). Today I noticed that I hardly blinked when doing so. This might seem like a tiny victory, but this whole time I've been meeting people and each time I reach out it gets easier. I find myself spending much less time reviewing what I'm saying/writing before putting it out there, which if we're being honest is just a form of second guessing.
If you have social anxiety I suggest checking this out. It's scary as hell to confront that anxiety, but it has lots of baby steps you can try.
As an aside, the book suggests Just Lunch as a possible dating service. I suggest researching in your area before signing up, as it can be pretty expensive and the reviews I found contained many horror stories in my region. YMMV.
I highly recommend this book.
*I received my copy from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review.