The more I get to know my fiance's cousin (see previous posts, tl;dr she's 16), the more I realize that her problem won't come from lacking femininity, gentleness, or kindness, all of which she has in abundance. She alerted me to the problem herself. The problem is that she freezes up in new social situations, and finds it difficult to say no, offer a differing opinion, or stand up for herself when she gets pushed around. She frequently brings it up as one of the things she wants to change about herself, and has asked for help.

So far I've been gently introducing her to a few friends at a time with similar energy levels (see a nice movie, hug kittens, and avoid large parties) for socializing practice, or taking her out to family-friendly city events to get her used to larger groups of people without the need to socialize, or reminding her that she can tell me "no" anytime she doesn't want to do something (eat weird food, try on a piece of clothing she doesn't like, etc).

The other day we were shopping, and when I held up clothes, she would make sounds that couldn't be read as a yes or a no. By the end of it I had her giving me clear indicators, but she needs practice. My worry is that if she carries that behavior into her interactions with men, she might get coaxed into a higher count than necessary before she finds a good man.

I want to help, or lead her to help, in strengthening her boundaries and becoming less terrified in social situations, without dampening her already sweet and kind disposition. It probably helps that I lead by example, remaining pleasant yet firm in a lot of tense situations (not all, unfortunately, but at least all the ones she's seen me in), but if I could pass on some reading material or advice, or try other things to help...

If anyone has any advice, recommended articles, etc, please share.