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Pgs. 410 - 411
Shyness & Love: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment
Dr. Brian G. Gilmartin
University Press of America, Inc.

Extreme Self-Consciousness

      A well nigh universal behavior trait of the love-shy is extreme self-
consciousness when in or near the company of an eligible woman. In
essence, the love-shy are intensely preoccupied with the self and cannot
"let go and let God". Intense self-preoccupation is, of course, the same
phenomenon as extreme tenseness. Love-shys are quite unable to relax
when in the company of (or anywhere near) a potentially eligible female.
And this inability to relax not only ushers in painful anxiety spells, but
it also makes clear-headed thinking and communicating virtually
     The minds of virtually all human beings function best and most
efficiently when they are relaxed and comfortable. Tension creates a
phenomenon known as "tunnel vision". Afflicted by tunnel vision (the
natural outcome of feeling tense, worried, and intensely self-conscious),
ideas for topics of conversation simply cannot and do not come to mind.
Effective small talk absolutely requires a relaxed, comfortable feeling of
     As a case in point, taking an examination under conditions of a
very worried, tense state of mind makes it extremely difficult for a person
to do his/her best. The right answers just do not seem to come to mind.
The student might have indeed learned the material very thoroughly;
but the worry and the tensed-up feeling blocks and constricts the "pipe-
lines" of truth and knowledge that serve as a conduit for the required
facts from the brain's storehouse or memory banks into the conscious
mind. This is the essence of "tunnel vision". In contrast, when the person
is relaxed and confident and positive in mental attitude, the right answers
all manage to quite easily pass into conscious awareness.
     And so it is in situations wherein there is no purpose apart from
pure, unadulterated sociability. When the fear of the likelihood of anx-
iety (anticipatory anxiety) causes the person to tense up and to become
extremely preoccupied with his own self instead of with the person with
whom he is talking, he finds that his mind goes completely 'blank--
which contributes to an even worstening of the anxiety-and relevant
ideas just don't come to mind. Immediately upon leaving the anxiety-
provoking social encounter, on the other hand, hundreds of very good
ideas suddenly flood the mind--because the anxiety and tenseness stim-
ulus has been removed. But it is then too late!