I’m gonna let you into a little secret: I am, and always have been, cripplingly shy. The last time I started a new job, I woke up crying at the thought of having to meet new people. Whenever a starnger speaks to me, I mentally curl up into a little ball and mutter “Oh no, no, no, please go away, don’t make me have to talk to you”.
The reason I describe this as a secret is that no-one else knows this. Ask any of my friends and co-workers and they’ll describe me as confident, extrovert, the life and soul, a people-person. Because I’ve trained myself not to let it show. It’s hard, and it’s taken years to get good at it, but it’s worth it. I have a much fuller and more enjoyable life now.
A few tricks: hold your head up, SMILE (no, I can guess what you’re thinking, but most people won’t be wondering why that weirdo is smiling at them, they’ll probably just smile back), and tell yourself that these people are going to like you, because actually , you are likeable. You’re not cruel, or unpleasant, or rude, are you? You are, in fact, a decent person with a good heart? Then what on earth is not to like?
As to not being able to make conversation, I’ve found a good trick is to ask lots of questions. Most people love to talk about themselves, all you have to do is prompt them, and in my experience this gives you a reputation as a great conversationalist!
I’m pretty sure that the girls will come in time if you follow the advice given in these posts, but you can try using your shyness to your advantage - a lot of girls find it endearing. Make eye contact, then look away, then look back - this is generally a girl’s trick, I use it a lot myself, but I see no reason it shouldn’t work for a guy in the sexually equal 21st century! Or try saying something like “I can’t believe I’m doing this, I’m normally soooo shy but you’re just so pretty/smart/funny I had to talk to you”.
I know how difficult shyness and a lack of self-esteem can make life, but they are both treatable if not cureable - like I said, I still find social interaction difficult, but no-one else knows that! “Feel the fear - then do it anyway”. It does get easier. Good luck.