Shy Or Outgoing: What Do Guys Prefer In A Partner?

Updated March 22, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Many women are curious whether men prefer shy or outgoing girls when looking for a romantic partner. What qualities attract men if there is a preference for one over the other? Read on to explore research about what personality traits men typically look for in women, the benefits and challenges of being shy or outgoing, and how therapy can help you change your thought patterns and behaviors to help you make connections easier. 

Does being shy hold you back from dating?

What kind of women do men like?

Unfortunately, there is no single answer to what kind of women men like, because, fortunately, men are individuals with unique preferences. However, through decades of research, psychologists have identified some common characteristics that men who prefer shy women or outgoing women listed as attractive. 

Introverted vs. extroverted: What does it mean?

Psychologist Carl Jung developed a theory in the 1960s to explain different personality types, determining that people received energy from one of two sources. Introverts require time alone to recharge their social batteries, while extroverts are energized by social interaction with others. 

A classic 1995 study showed significant personality differences between men and women using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, with men more likely to be introverted and thinking, while women in the study (20 male and 20 female undergraduates) tended to be more extroverted and feeling. However, there was no difference in sensing and intuition or judging and perceiving. A groundbreaking study, The Social Disease Called Shyness, revealed that 40% of the 800 participants considered themselves shy. 

Characteristics men like in shy women

According to the American Psychological Association, shyness is a tendency to feel worried, tense, or awkward during social encounters, particularly among unfamiliar people. Some men may see shy women as aloof and disinterested, while others find them mysterious and innocent, triggering their protective instincts. 

  • Shy girls may seem mysterious or intriguing.
  • Some men find shy women appealing and feminine. 
  • Shy women may appear to have innocent charm. 
  • Some men enjoy the concentrated attention of shy women.
  • Many men like a woman who is shy everywhere but in the bedroom.
  • The awkwardness of shy women can be endearing to men. 

Personality traits men like in outgoing women

Outgoing or extroverted women typically thrive in a crowd and enjoy social settings. In direct contrast with introverts, they don’t need or even like much time alone and prefer to be around people. With a large social circle of many friends, a busy life, and a desire to talk through problems and everyday life, outgoing women can often be intimidating to men.  

  • Outgoing women may pursue potential partners.
  • Some men find getting to know outgoing girls easier. 
  • Outgoing women are often energetic and exciting.
  • Introverted men may be happy to let an outgoing woman take the lead. 
  • Extroverts are often willing to take more risks and can be more flexible in adapting to change. 
  • Many men list self-confidence as one of the most attractive traits in a woman, and outgoing girls are often confident. 

Shy or outgoing? It comes down to personal preference

Ultimately, it depends entirely on the man in question. Studies show that introverted or shy men are likely to be attracted to both shy and outgoing women, while extroverted men may have a preference for outgoing women. 

“Extroverted participants showed higher levels of romantic interest for extroverted, rather than introverted, hypothetical partners; introvert participants’ ratings did not differ between introvert and extrovert partners on this dimension.” — Seaton Hall University study on introversion/extroversion and potential romantic partners

Shyness vs. social anxiety: What’s the difference?

While feeling anxious or nervous occasionally is an expected part of life, such as going on a first date or speaking in public, those feelings should be temporary. Shyness may involve difficulty or awkwardness relating to others, while a social anxiety disorder leaves someone distressed about social interaction to the point that it interferes with functional ability. Both introverts and extroverts can experience social anxiety disorders. 

Tips to help shy women meet and talk to men

It can be challenging to meet men and form a meaningful connection when you’re shy—but it’s not impossible. While avoiding social interactions can save you from potential awkwardness, it also prevents you from experiencing all the positive emotions that can come from meeting someone special. Try these tips if you're shy and don't know where to start.  

Go somewhere you feel comfortable

Start looking for a man in a place you feel comfortable. You will be more confident and relaxed, making you more open to conversing with a man who approaches you or catches your interest. 

Look for men with common interests

Common interests give you a conversational starting point if you need to figure out what to say. You may have luck trying to meet a man in places that indicate a shared interest, such as a music store, hobby shop, or hardware store. 

Work with a therapist to build confidence and communication skills

Overcoming intense shyness can be difficult on your own. Consider working with a qualified therapist to help you build your self-confidence and communication skills with the support and guidance of a mental health professional. 

How to be more outgoing

Here are some of the many ways that you can be more outgoing.

  • Practice on people you are comfortable with
  • Ask questions that require more than yes or no answers.
  • Visualize a positive outcome and take advantage of the power of positive thinking. 
  • Steer conversation to topics of mutual interest. 
  • Mention personal experiences to relate to stories. 
  • Seek out social interaction with people likely to share the same values and interests. 
  • Refrain from focusing on past awkward experiences or failed social interactions. 
  • Maintain awareness of your body language. Don’t cross your arms, make frequent eye contact, and smile often to indicate your openness to the conversation. 
  • Focus your attention on the other person rather than yourself. 

Dating challenges for extroverted women

While meeting men can be easier for extroverted women, that doesn’t mean relationships are without challenges. If you're dating a man with a different personality style, it can be hard to stay connected if both of you aren't trying. If you're both extroverted and have different friends, making time for each other may be difficult. 

Friendly, outgoing personality can be misconstrued

When you have a friendly, outgoing personality, some men may think you’re flirting when you’re just trying to be nice, which can lead to awkward misunderstandings. Many men also said they enjoyed it when a woman took the initiative to approach them. 

Relationships with introverted men can be difficult

Drastically varying personality styles between extroverted women and introverted men can sometimes be challenging. When different things energize partners, they may not enjoy events together and find themselves feeling exhausted or ignored. 

Men can be intimidated by outgoing women

Some men may see a woman’s outgoing personality as intimidating, making them feel insecure and less likely to approach her. If a man feels like he has to fight for your attention with all your friends and other aspects of your busy social life, he may not feel secure enough to do so. 

Do opposites attract, or do men prefer similar personalities in women?

Studies show that up to 80% of people believe that opposites attract, but science shows that isn’t necessarily true. Research indicates that people are far more likely to be attracted to others who look and behave similarly to themselves. 

Does being shy hold you back from dating?

How therapy can help build confidence and communicate better

If you have trouble communicating effectively and forming meaningful relationships or struggle with low self-confidence or social anxiety, consider working with a licensed therapist through a relationship-focused online therapy platform like Regain. Therapy can help you develop your communication skills to express your feelings and needs, cultivate an evolving repertoire of coping skills to manage stress, and help you build self-confidence. 

Mental health experts at the American Psychological Association released data indicating no significant difference in online and in-person therapy outcomes. Patients in numerous studies reported the benefits of virtual treatment as lower costs, shorter wait times, an easier time sharing personal details due to physical separation, and the ability to participate more reliably due to the convenience of attending from home. The effectiveness and duration of therapeutic outcomes can increase with the level of trust between patient and therapist and the number of sessions attended. 


While there’s no simple answer to whether men prefer shy or outgoing women, exploring what the scientific data shows can be helpful. The information provided in this article may offer insight into what guys who like either personality type may seek in a partner. If you struggle to meet men and make a meaningful connection, therapy can help you identify harmful patterns and shift to healthier habits. 

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