Just because you don’t say much doesn’t mean
people don’t notice you.
It’s actually the quiet ones who often draw
the most attention.
There’s this constant whirlwind of motion and sound
and then there’s the quiet one,
the eye of the storm.
Being overly shy can really limit your life, and your opportunities. It makes weddings, work parties, and other social gatherings things to be dreaded rather than occasions to socialize and enjoy yourself. Shyness often consists of a fear of meeting new people, a lack of self-confidence, self-consciousness, and feeling either invisible or too visible.
Though it can seem challenging, shyness can be overcome.
Here are a few strategies to help you out:
1. Practice becoming more socially comfortable in small steps. Shyness is a type of social anxiety. There are several things that you can do to deal with your feelings of anxiety.
- Start small. Ask a stranger for directions. Ask a store clerk a question. Talk to your neighbor for 2 minutes. If you do this sort of thing often enough, your fear will begin to subside. Then you can move on to bigger things.
- Mentally rehearse being successful. Each night, lie in bed and visualize yourself being confident and sociable in a variety of settings. Make this a daily habit. You will be amazed at how well this works if you stick with it.
- Control your breathing. When you find yourself getting nervous, take slow, deep breaths. Your mind and body will become more relaxed.
- Just deal with it. Being uncomfortable is rarely a good enough excuse not to try something! If you are not going to plummet to your death by taking a given action, discomfort is rarely a relevant signal. Learn to ignore it and act anyway. This is an effective way to get rid of your jitters.
2. Focus on your strengths. Shyness can sometimes be the result of poor self-esteem. Focus on your strengths. Put yourself in social situations that will demonstrate or play to your strengths. You will feel more confident and be at your best. What are your strengths? How can you capitalize on them?
3. Put your focus outside of yourself. Shyness creates, and is the result of, focusing too much on ourselves. Shy people often feel they need to be entertaining in order to have the right to speak, but this is simply not true. The truth is people love it when you find them interesting.
- Learn to be curious and to ask questions that reflect that curiosity. People love to answer questions. It also gives you something to talk about and takes the attention off of you. Questions can be the perfect tool.
4. Plan ahead. You likely will not need to do this particular step once your shyness has been eliminated, but it can be immensely helpful until you reach that point.
- If you are headed to a social gathering, do your homework. Who will be there? What do they have in common? Be up to date on the latest news. Find something interesting that you can talk about.
- Mentally prepare yourself. Call up a friend and chat on the phone. Say “hi” to a stranger in the street. Stretch and warm up your social muscles.
5. Strengthen your social skills. Notice the word “skills.” Skills are something acquired. You have never heard the term “social talents.” Social skills are learned and developed over time. Perhaps yours just are not as good as you would like, but that is okay. Spend the time and effort to strengthen your social skills.
Few things will perk up your life more than eliminating some of your shyness. It can be challenging, but you can do it. There is a whole world of fun and social interaction just waiting for you!
Get after it!!!