What do I do if I'm shy?
Everyone has their own insecurities but they are all conquerable. A lack of confidence in communication, and how you present yourself generally, could be due to any number of reasons, but once you get into the habit, or cycle, of not talking and being shy and reserved it is all too easy to stay that way.
Force yourself out there! When you do make effort to make a conversation it will feel like a very big deal the first few times - then you'll realise it's got so easy that you really don't have to think about it or feel awkward at all.
Let people know that you're shy
This does two things. Number one: it can set the other person at ease and let them know that any awkwardness is due to that rather than because you don't like them. Number two: if you admit you're shy, you'll suddenly feel a whole lot less shy. (Weird, but that's how it works.)
If you're dating
When you're on a date, you're not meant to get everything absolutely, perfectly right. You are allowed to make mistakes! So if you fumble or can't quite get the words out - laugh it off! Tell the person you're with that you're nervous. Chances are they feel that way too. Remember: they did agree to come out with you. Now you can show them a little of who you really are - little by little. You're not out to impress someone. You're out to have fun too.
Focus on the other person
A lot of people when they are shy tend to be thinking of how they feel the whole time: 'I don't know what to say. What are they thinking of me? I'm so bad in these situations. I should never have come.' A good thing to do is to focus on the person you've just been introduced to. Ask a question. What are their favourite films, music or books? Try to find out something about them. Pick up on the last thing they said to keep the conversation rolling. Soon enough, it'll come naturally.
But not tacky. Say hi and ask what they're doing this weekend - and have a plan to suggest you think they'll like.
Relax and think: getting to know you. Rather than: getting it