How Do I Stop Being So Shy?

Tammy R. writes...

"Hi Jeff. I am a very, very, very shy girl. Even writing to you is making me feel uncomfortable. But I am asking for some help if it's not too much trouble."

Replies (9)
  • Hi Tammy.

    Great topic. I've got a lot of personal experience with this one having grown up being super shy myself.

    Being Quiet vs Being Shy.

    There's a difference between being quiet and being shy.

    When you're quiet, you know you have the option to speak, but you just choose not to do so.

    When you're shy, you're plagued by discomfort, worry, or even anxiety in social situations.

    No matter how shy you think you are, there are ways to train yourself to overcome this. While you won't turn into a social butterfly overnight, you can become a more confident person. And that's the key, self-confidence as I will explain further in a post below. Also see self-esteem.

    Below are tips and suggestions.

    Overcome your shyness and solve your problem, click here.

    • Boost your self-confidence.

      When you feel good about yourself, being around others is more enjoyable. When you're secure, you actually enjoy voicing your opinion because you know that you have something valuable to contribute to the conversation.

      • You can boost your self-confidence by developing your body image, successfully pursuing your goals, and establishing a rewarding romantic relationship with a partner.

      • Surround yourself with supportive family and friends. If you're constantly around people who are negative, you may be uncomfortable in almost anyone's company.
      • Accept your personality.

        It's truly important for you to accept yourself for the person that you are. You can never be anyone but you. If you're a quiet person from time to time, so be it. There is just as much beauty in the personality of a quiet person as there is in an outgoing person.

        • Practice.

          Practice often. When you're home alone, stand in front of the mirror and pretend that you're engaging in small talk at a cocktail party. Do this frequently, and you'll find that conversation comes much more easily.

          • Recite phrases before you say them to a new acquaintance. This will ease your nerves. You're already used to saying the words, so they'll roll off of your tongue effortlessly.
          • Also, practice your communication and social skills in non-threatening environments, such as with family or close friends. This will take away some of the scary "unknowns" that might be causing you to be afraid.
          • Learn to relax.

            When you're feeling shy, your mind begins to race. You might be thinking about all the things that can go wrong and you'll find it impossible to relax. Instead of thinking about what might happen, concentrate on the present and on what actually is happening.

            • Start small.

              First, attend social situations that don't require much effort from you. Events such as a comedy show, book reading, or concert are ideal. Once you're comfortable being in a crowded environment, engage in more intimate occasions that will require your direct input.

              • Focus on baby steps as you learn to feel comfortable in social situations. If it's been a while since you've interacted with more than two people at once, it may feel overwhelming to go to a party where there will be many guests.
              • Avoid running away.

                Even if you're feeling especially awkward and anxiety ridden, get through the situation as best as you can.

                • Afterwards, you can evaluate what you went through so you can grow from it. Ask yourself why you felt the way you did and see if you can correct the problem for next time.
                • Use visualizations.

                  Visualizations can be very powerful. They can help you relax and get past the anxiety associated with shyness.

                  • Close your eyes and think about yourself in a situation where you'd normally feel shy or panicky. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with negative emotions, visualize yourself as completely confident and happy.
                  • Focus on others.

                    If you feel uncomfortable approaching a stranger, that's okay. Many people feel shy about this. If someone makes conversation with you, focus the conversation on him or her. Ask questions about their life, and keep them talking until you find common ground. Place all of your focus on the person you're sharing a conversation with. Really listen to what they're saying. If your energy is focused away from how you feel, you'll be less likely to be overtaken with the feelings of shyness.

                    • Attend the gathering with your significant other or a close friend. You're more likely to meet people if you have mutual friends.

                    • When making small talk, ensure that your questions are about less personal topics. It's okay to ask someone whether they're married or have children. Stay clear of asking for details about their divorce or custody battle.

                    • It may also help you to encourage the other person to do more of the talking. Use open-ended questions where they can launch into a whole story or explanation instead of just answering yes or no questions.
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