Do you shudder at the thought of going to a public event?
Do you get anxious and nervous when you know you’re going to have to meet someone?
Could you benefit from some tips for overcoming shyness?
Sure, we all get a little nervous and feel trepidation when meeting new people. But those who suffer from genuine shyness feel a different sensation.
Take a look at what hobbies you enjoy. Do they all involve being alone? Like reading, video games, and watching films.
No one should suffer with being shy, and feeling that they cannot do anything about it. There are things you can do to rid yourself of this social, mental problem.
The more you work on reducing how shy you are, the more confident you will be. More friends, happier outlook, a more enjoyable lifestyle will all follow.
This is no coincidence. Because you see, if you’re chronically shy you’re limiting your life. You’re not allowing yourself to be the complete you.
I can guarantee you there is more of you inside just waiting to burst out. To be confidently introducing yourself to a group of people at a party. To meet and greet. To experience more of life.
What Is Shyness?
This might seem like an obvious questions to answer.
But the way I see this, there is the technical answer and the more heartfelt answer.
If you look up an answer to this question you will see explanations like;
- Feeling apprehension in social situations.
- Feeling uncomfortable around others.
- Feeling awkward, escalating when surrounded by more people.
- Experiencing difficulty and anxiety in new situations.
For people suffering with shyness it goes a lot deeper than this and has a serious impact on their lives. Like a lot of people, I had my issues with being shy to deal with growing up.
It was never a chronic problem, but I’ve had my fair share of moments. I know how it feels. The reddening of the cheeks and that warm rush feeling. Getting itchy and twitching a little. Feeling like the room is moving, and people’s voices are getting louder…
Being shy can seriously hold you back in life. Not being able to meet people and broaden your circle of friends makes your own world smaller.
Reducing your life experiences, your satisfaction, and your happiness. There is a scientific link between having real friends and being happy. You’re going to have to conquer your shyness if you want to meet new people and make friends.
Tips for Overcoming Shyness
Learn to Distance Yourself from the Shyness
You need to separate your goals and interests from your shyness. Compartmentalize your shyness as a ‘thing’ you have to deal with.
Use positive affirmations to reinforce that you are not being controlled by the shyness. You are controlling it. Remember, all feelings can be overcome, it’s well within your grasp.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to Yourself
In some scenarios there is a negative stigma to talking to yourself. I’m a firm believer in doing so however. I’m not saying talk out load, just use a little voice inside your head.
If you’re at a public gathering and feeling anxious, just comfort yourself. Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen, you’ll see it doesn’t.
Reassure yourself things are not as bad as they seem. Because they are not, and nothing bad will come from you introducing yourself.
If you know of an upcoming event that you will find difficult, visualize it beforehand. Run through some of the likely scenarios (all of which are positive).
Then when the event comes round, you will have one of the scenarios play out and it’ll feel natural. This is a great stress-repressing technique. It’s worked for me.
Don’t get caught out thinking on the spot. Have some conversation starters up your sleeve ready. Everyone has their topics of choice whether they consciously think about it or not.
Don’t feel bad about preparing for a social event by writing down some notes. Take them with you in case nerves get the better of you and you need to peek a look.
Keep Calm with Yourself
It’s going to be a long process for some people. Don’t be mad at yourself if you feel overwhelmed and give up. There is always another day and another opportunity.
If it all becomes too much, just call it in for the day. You’re better off limiting the damage if you’re out of your depth. Take this process in small ‘wins’.
Use a Wing-Person
Heard of guys having a wingman while they are out? This basically means they have a friend there to help break the ice for them with women they want to talk to.
Why? Because they are shy. Although they may not want to admit it. So have a partner in crime with you when you go out.
Not to use as a ‘wingman’ per se. But someone to talk to and keep you company so you do not feel as awkward.
Remember People’s Names
Even if you’re nervous, take the time to remember people’s names. Using someone’s name when you talk to them helps form a bond.
They will be much more likely to remember your name. Plus, they will be more likely to start conversation with you too. It’s a small ask, with a large reward.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Our body language says a lot about what we’re feeling. Often giving away more than we realize, or intend to. So start being mindful about how you carry yourself, and what messages you’re giving off.
Be open and friendly. Use open hand gestures, lean in and touch people if appropriate. Don’t be defensive, stand-offish, or let people see you’re nervous.
Make Effort with Your Appearance
If you dress smartly and present yourself well, you’ll feel more confident. You may even attract some positive comments too. Dress smartly for business and work events, but don’t stand out.
For casual affairs dress comfortably. If you feel comfortable in your clothes, you’ll come across more comfortable.
Control Your Breathing
When you’re nervous you will find your breathing and heartbeat becoming irregular. Learning how to focus your breathing pays a massive part in keeping calm.
Keep an upright posture, and stand tall and confident. Breathe discreetly if you’re feeling anxious. After a good 10-15 breaths you should feel relaxed and ready to go.
Don’t attempt to use all these tips for overcoming shyness the next time your find yourself in an uncomfortable social situation. It’s a gradual process.
But it’s largely on you. If you are ready to confront your shy feelings head-on, good on you. You’re doing the right thing.
A much more liberating and free life awaits you and your new found confidence.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.