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Single, Shy, and Looking for Love

Single, Shy, and Looking for Love
A Dating Guide for the Shy and Socially Anxious



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About the Book

What if he thinks I'm not good looking enough? What if she thinks I'm boring? What if I can't think of anything to talk about? When it comes to dating, most people have had these thoughts and fears at some point. The truth is that going on a date can be downright nerve-wracking-and if you suffer from shyness or social anxiety, it is especially so. So how can you stay calm, cool, and collected as you set out on the search for the perfect mate?

Single, Shy, and Looking for Love presents mindfulness, acceptance, and values-based techniques from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to help shy singles like you get “in the game,” cope with the anxiety and fear that can arise on a date, and go on to create long-lasting, intimate relationships. By learning to stay focused in the present moment, you'll arm yourself against the catastrophic thoughts that cause you to buckle under pressure. And by connecting with your own core values, you'll gain a greater understanding of yourself and what you ultimately want in a romantic partner.
Confidence is often considered one of the most attractive qualities a man or woman can have, and social confidence will take you far-not only in love, but in life as well. If you're ready to stop being a wallflower and start putting yourself out there, this book will give you the skills you need to get back in the dating game and find the love you deserve.



Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist in private practice. She blogs for Huffington Post and has been featured in magazines such as Redbook, ParentMap, and Men's Health Magazine, as well as online at and... Read more

Books by Shannon Kolakowski


“With Shannon Kolakowski's empathic guidance you will learn to accept and love yourself-including your anxiety and shyness. Furthermore, you will develop new skills that will help you find love. If you are shy or socially anxious and want a loving relationship this is the book for you.”
-Michelle Skeen, PsyD, author of Love Me Don't Leave Me
“Dating is a process of deliberate exploration. At one level we are exploring human relationships, but at another level dating opens us up to the world within. It opens us up to our hopes, aspirations, and values, but it also opens us up to our fears, anxieties, and judgments.
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
“Shannon Kolakowski's book will be the first book I recommend to people who are single, shy, and looking for love. She really understands the fears of socially anxious people and how terrifying dating can be for them. Each chapter is filled with illustrative stories, questionnaires, and exercises that bring readers to a compassionate view of their dating fears and concerns and arms them with everything they need to start the dating process. It was a pleasure reviewing Kolakowski's new book. She is a very talented psychologist and a great writer.”
-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
“Take charge of your dating life. Single, Shy, and Looking for Love explains, in easy-to-understand language, how to approach shyness and social anxiety from a new and empowering perspective. Learn how to build the skills and confidence essential to dating success. Get ready to take those important first steps toward finding love.”
-Leah Klungness, Ph.D, psychologist and coauthor of The Complete Single Mother
“In Single, Shy, and Looking for Love, psychologist Shannon Kolakowski offers a thoughtful, evidence-based, readable, and practical book for those seeking love and partnered relationships who tend to be anxious and shy. She effectively uses best practices and the latest thinking about anxiety management to help those who are looking for love. Her book is full of practical suggestions, exercises, and wisdom to help those who may struggle with dating and finding the right mate. Kudos to Kolakowski for an excellent book that is bound to help many.”
-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
"Shannon Kolakowski demonstrates that there's no need to feel powerless in dating. Single, Shy, and Looking for Love will help both women and men identify the source of dating anxiety, and it offers real strategies for getting out there and finding love. This excellent book contains powerful techniques for mastering shyness and focusing instead on dating strategies that work. If anxiety is keeping you from finding the love of your life, please read this book. It might just change your life.”
-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

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Average: 4.7 (3 votes)
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I picked up "Shy, Single and Looking for Love" on a whim after a quick google search on social anxiety and dating. How lucky I was to discover it! 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.