Loveshyness can all too often be passed of as a symptom of a more general pattern of social anxiety.
Loveshyness has been ignored by the psychological community at large. It has not been included as a diagnosis in the DSM-IV, a database of current psychological diagnoses. However, social anxiety disorder is prominently featured.
The problem is that many love-shy’s do not exhibit the signs of traditional social anxiety disorder, and often have their own specialized issues. The DSM-IV categorizes social anxiety as:
1) A persistent fear of unfamiliar social situations in which the individual may be open to scrutiny. The individual fears they will embarrass or humiliate themselves
2) The individual experiences intense anxiety in social situations, which may devolve into panic attacks.
3) The fear is unreasonable or excessive.
4) The individual avoids these stressful situations.
5) By avoiding these social situations, the individual incurs consequences which have negative effects on their life.
However, the love-shy’s dilemma lies not with social situations in general, but with pursuing a woman romantically. This can manifest itself in ways that a traditional social anxiety viewpoint may miss. According to Brian Gilmartin, the foremost loveshy psychologist, a loveshy male can be characterized by the following:
1) Feel that women have more advantages and power than men
2) Are less interested in pursuing competitive sports, as they generally shy away from competing to be the “alpha” male
3) Highly value physical beauty, putting more emphasis on facial features
4) Are less interested in pursuing male friendships
5) Become interested in females earlier in their development than the average male. This often happens near the 3rd and 5th grades.
6) Find it difficult to express how they are feeling emotionally
7) Show low energy levels and find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning
8) Are serious individuals
So, we can see that while a loveshy individual certainly experiences symptoms in line with social anxiety, their dilemma is a unique experience to that of generalized social anxiety disorder.
In looking at how to overcome loveshyness, it is important to find resources which specifically attack the dilemmas specific to a love shy person’s life, and not just look to treat the symptoms of a broader social anxiety disorder.