How to know whether someone is uninterested in you, or just shy

Kiran1209 asks:

         I was engaged to a woman who broke our engagement off on the day of our wedding.  I have worked hard to reach a place of acceptance, knowing my anger only kept me tied to the incident. 

Now, my parents are saying it’s time for a new start. They said, we will start looking for girls by the end of this month (January, 2020 ). From their point of view they are right, like how much time we will spend thinking about what happened to us. What going on in my mind is (I know it might sound silly), if people can break a relationship without any reason, I am just afraid to get into serious relationship with someone. I don’t feel like mixing with other people.  And also, even after being so cautious, like asking whether she was interested or if she’s being forced, I had to face the incident.  That been said, what I want to ask is, how do you differentiate between whether the girl is shy or not interested? I thought that a girl talking less and showing lack of initiative was due to shyness or family background (like maybe she’ll talk only after marriage).  Are there any pointers on how can you get rid of the above confusion in 2-3 meetings (that’s how much we get to make a decision in arrange marriages)? 

Hi Kiran1209 –

Your question is a good one.  And I do have some ideas, though I need to state – none of them are perfect.  

There are seven billion people in the world, each different.  And over time there must have been hundreds of billions. Is the girl who canceled your wedding at the very last minute typical?  Of course not.  But is it possible there’s another out there who would do the same thing?  Sure.  

It’s like if a person coaxed me to them speaking sweetly and handing out a treat, but when I got to them they kicked me in the side.  And after that I asked how I could know whether someone who seemed friendly actually was, or were they cruel.  There’s no way to know – though certainly most  people who have reached out to me have been friendly.  In fact, in my experience, every single one.  But I’ve been lucky.

So while I can’t guarantee anything, here are some thoughts on how most  people show the difference between shyness and disinterest:

First, you can simply ask them.  If they act in a way that makes you wonder, just bluntly say “I need to ask you something.  I had a horrible experience once, where someone seemed to be just shy and nervous, but then ended our relationship in the most humiliating way possible.  So I need to know if you’re interested in seeing me again.  I’m not asking if you want to commit to anything, but just if you’re enjoying where we are now.”  Sure, it’s not something a guy usually asks a girl on the third date, but you have great reason to do so, and if she’s at all sensitive, she’ll get it.

But, Second, you might also get away with a lot by just checking her eyes.  How does she look at you.  A shy person is often scared of how much they feel, so they’ll look away from you, but when they look back their eyes open wide, like me smelling pizza!  Does she seem excited at the sight of you, or bored, or even annoyed?

Third, you can ask about her plans for the future.  If she says she doesn’t know what she wants, or that she’s hoping to devote herself to a career, or (especially) if she says “I’m hoping to meet Mr. Right someday,” these are hints she’s not all that interested in you.  While, if she instead says “I know I’m interested in having a family at some point,” or “I love my job and want to keep it but also want more in my life,” those sound like she’s at least not dismissing you.  And of course if she says “I’m trying to figure my future out.  What do you  see for yours?!” that’s a very good sign!

Fourth, of course friends or family are always good for this too.  I’m not a big “behind their back” supporter, but if she’s too shy to let you know how she feels, it might be good to ask her brother or her best friend if they have any idea.  But be aware, if you do, they’re almost certain to tell her you asked – which might be a good or not-so-good thing!

What I really hope for, Kiran1209, is that, just as you’ve managed to find such a wise and accepting place, you’re also able to find a fun one.  And to realize that meeting these women ought to be a joy, not a fear-based puzzle.  Every woman you meet is potentially The One, and you have some excellent criteria to judge them on (honesty being a very big one!).  So get out there, meet the ones your family sets you up with, meet others too, and trust that, ALMOST certainly, the crazy thing that happened to you once won’t happen again.

Instead, something far more frightening might occur…. you might meet someone just right for you!  Who you love and loves you back.  And that’s when life REALLY gets scary – in the best best best ways!

Bowing with respect,


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