How to overcome shyness & social anxiety to get social confidence.
Shyness and social anxiety can ruin a persons self esteem and social freedom.
“She’s so awkward! Everything she says is stupid. And look at what she’s wearing – ugh. Such white trash; why does she even bother? She should just go away already.” I heard this in my head every time I ventured into public. It echoed endlessly until I wished I could disappear. I huddled in the corner, afraid to speak to anyone and trying to be invisible.” – Kittie Eubank
For many guys, shyness prevents any chance of getting into a quality relationship. It’s hard to talk to women when our palms start to sweat even thinking about it.
It’s not just relationships:
Being shy can ruin our chances of making new friends, being comfortable at social events, and even getting a raise or promotion. When we’re shy in the workplace, it’s easy to get passed up for more outgoing personalities.
(Overcome shyness, build confidence, and improve all of your relationships. Click here for info.)
But what exactly is shyness?
What is shyness?
The American Psychological Association defines it as:
“The tendency to feel awkward, worried or tense during social encounters, especially with unfamiliar people. Severely shy people may have physical symptoms like blushing, sweating, a pounding heart or upset stomach; negative feelings about themselves; worries about how others view them; and a tendency to withdraw from social interactions.” – APA
It’s normal to be shy in some situations, especially if we’re not familiar. It’s only a problem when it starts to interfere with life, and alters the choices we make.
Not accepting an invite to a party, avoiding networking which could improve our careers, or not asking out a girl we like are all areas where shyness can lower the quality of life.
How do I overcome shyness?
Just like any area of self improvement, overcoming shyness and social anxiety, also called “social phobia”, is about what we do. Thinking it away doesn’t work.
Mindset is crucial, but we should always focus on which actions we should take to overcome shyness.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strength. When you overcome hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Although it may be awkward, going to more social events, not less, is the key. Social confidence comes from directly challenging your fears and doing the things that cause anxiety.
Take baby steps though, too much too soon can be a path to failure.
How can I succeed socially?
It’s going to require a lot of effort. With dedication, there isn’t any limit to how far you can go.
Read the 57 shyness tips below, or skip to the Q&A with the clickable table contents. You’ll find useful links which provide more details on different tips and techniques to overcome shyness. You’ll also find videos to help you succeed socially.
Part 1: 57 tips to overcome shyness (Start here!)
Part 1 Top^
57 tips to overcome shyness
1. A good teacher or coach can speed up progress
Having a coach in your corner can allow you to do the things you’d never do on your own. Its an extra push, accountability and support to get through tough challenges. When dealing with shyness, coaching can be the edge that get’s you past your sticking points.
2. Join a performing arts class
“I joined theater in 10th grade and was forced out of my own comfort zone.” – Lukas Schwekendiek
Being part of a performing arts class can put the pressure on, in a good way. In a supportive environment, you’ll learn how to perform in front of other people. You’ll also learn how to change your emotions for a better performance. If you can change your emotions, you can reduce shyness and be more social.
3. Teach what you’re good at
When we do something we have experience in it’s easier to feel confident. Pick a skill that you’re confident in then offer to teach some of your friends or family. You can even put an ad in Craigslist or any online classifieds site.
Showing other people a new skill will take your focus off of yourself, and put it on your students.
4. Narrow your focus to specific skills
Challenge yourself to learn specific social situations. One month you may try dance lessons, another could be business networking, and another month you may try speed dating. By splitting up each scenario you’ll avoid becoming overwhelmed trying to overcome shyness everywhere. You’ll also be able to focus on the specific skills involved in each scenario.
5. Don’t be late
Being late is not only a bad habit, but one that will increase social anxiety. When we’re late, it makes us more self conscious. Who wants to show up at a class only to have everyone look when we walk in and interrupt? Or what about a date? When we show up late we’re just adding one more thing (in our minds) for the other person to judge us by. Eliminate some anxiety and self consciousness by making a habit of being on time.
6. Give yourself praise
Pause at the end of the day to praise yourself for the good things you’ve done. It can be a small thing, like showing up on time or having complimented someone. By giving yourself praise you’ll send some ‘positive energy’ your own way.
“I realized that I am beautiful and always have been; I was just too blind to see it.
My heart opened to the truth that I have intrinsic value as a human being, and I bring something to the world that not a single other person can offer. It’s not about what I’m wearing or how much I weigh or what anyone else thinks about me. I am enough. Just as I am, right in this instant.” – Kittie Eubank
What do you think? Skip to the bottom to comment!
7. Never put yourself down
Calling yourself names will never make anything better. Avoid all self-slander and demotivating self talk. Use constructive criticism instead when a self analysis is necessary.
8. Use positive self talk
Talk yourself up when you need a boost. Sometimes we just need a little more time to get through a situation. By using positive self talk your’ll be able to stretch your limits and perform better. Also use “you” instead of “I”. Some studies show that saying “You can do it” is more effective than saying “I can do it”.
9. Exposure therapy
“Exposure therapy is a technique in behavior therapy used to treat anxiety disorders. It involves the exposure of the patient to the feared object or context without any danger, in order to overcome their anxiety and/or distress.” – Wikipedia
By exposing ourselves in small increments (baby steps) to the things we fear, we lose our fear. Sometimes social anxiety will never go away completely but getting it to manageable levels can change our lives.
Don’t worry about going to a therapist to get exposure therapy, you can do it yourself. Go every day into a social situation where you feel shy, chat a little, and then move on. By doing this daily the shyness will slowly decrease.
If you have extreme shyness you might consider a professional therapist too. Confidence coaching can also be effective.
10. Don’t hang out with shy people
It’s comfortable to be around people who are similar to us. The problem is when we’re trying to overcome shyness we don’t get positive examples to change our behavior. It’s too easy to stay the same when our closest influences hold us back.
Find more outgoing people to make friends with. You can find them at social events or on recreational sports teams.
Have you had positive or negative experience with the influence of friends or family? Skip to the bottom to comment.
11. Don’t label yourself as shy
One of the worst traps is negative self labeling. It’s ok to acknowledge certain conditions or a lack of skills in any area. That’s being honest and avoiding self delusion. It allows us to figure out what we need to work on too.
What doesn’t help is integrating shyness into our personal identity. Once we’ve established that ‘it’ IS US it’s no longer a matter of working on a skill. It becomes changing our very identity, which is much harder.
Don’t become your shyness. Identify it for what it is. A set of habits, lack of skills, or an unconscious reaction to social situations. Whatever it is, don’t let it become you.
If you’re already identifying personally with it begin to detach. Catch yourself in the act of labeling yourself as shy, and gently correct it. You can use self talk such as, “I’m working on becoming more confident.” Focus on the positive traits you’re developing.
12. Express your feelings to a journal or someone you trust
Keeping all of our feelings to ourselves doesn’t allow us to vent. It’s important to relieve the stress that shyness can cause. Especially when you’re working on improving your social skills.
Write down your experiences and feelings in a journal. If you trust someone, expressing your thoughts to them can have the same effect.
13. Go slowly
It’s impossible to change overnight. Sometimes change can be gruelingly slow. Expect your confidence to increase incrementally as you expose yourself to more social situations. If you’re moderately shy it will be faster than if you have severe shyness. Set realistic expectations to work on yourself over the course of months, even years.
As you get better you can add more difficult social challenges to overcome shyness.
14. Get out of your comfort zone
Instead of hiding from awkwardness seek it. If something makes you uncomfortable it’s a good sign that you should work on it. Get out of your shell be embracing discomfort.
15. Have a supportive group
Tell your family, friends or spouse that you’re working on your shyness. This will give you some accountability. It will also allow for others to support you so that you’re not doing it alone. Having a supportive group will increase your odds of success.
“I spent years in a poor relationship because I feared rejection. As I achieved some success in my career, I came to understand that people in general respected me and found my contributions worthwhile. Eventually, I came to the realization that this acceptance might extend to romantic partners.”
Can you relate to Jim? Scroll to bottom to comment.
16. Stop thinking about what others think about you, nobody cares
Instead, focus on what you think of them. Other people are just as insecure even if they may not show it. When we put our attention on other people and decide what we think of them, we can take the pressure off ourselves.
That doesn’t mean to be judgmental, just be aware that everyone else is as human as you. They’re also insecure, nervous, shy, and worried about judgment. They’re much too worried about what you think to care about judging you.
“For me, that is the crux of no longer being shy – taking the focus off what others think of me and placing it on being my best self and surrounding myself with others who make me want to be a better person.” Kittie-Eubank
17. Call your friend across the street (loudly)
When standing on a street corner, call out loudly to your friends on the other side. This will temporarily force you to deal with a few eyes pointing in your direction.
18. Write down your shyness goals
Knowing what you want to do about your shyness is an important first step. We all don’t have to be as confident as James Bond. Maybe you just want to feel comfortable in a small group? For other people it might be about overcoming stage fright, and yet others might want to be able to cold approach women.
Knowing what your goals are will help you narrow your focus. You’ll be able to tackle specific situations instead of worrying about all of them.
Once you know, write them down. By writing them down, we take them out of the idea category and make it a real thing.
19. Learn to love yourself
When we don’t love ourselves how can we believe that anyone else will? Learn to love yourself by taking time out of the day to reflect and pamper yourself. Focus on your good attributes. Take care of your health by eating well and sleeping well. All of these little things show self care and appreciation.
20. Take care of your fitness
A lot of insecurities come from bad self image. Many of us are more likely to be self conscious if we’re worried about our big gut, or about how skinny we are.
Most of my life I was a skinny guy. It was a major point of insecurity. When I got older I learned how to workout more effectively, and added a lot of size. I never became ‘jacked’ or muscular, but being stronger and fitter eliminated my body insecurity.
Have you ever dealt with body insecurity? Scroll down to comment.
21. Eat well
A bad diet is a sure fire way to increase anxiety and stress. If we’re more anxious then our shyness is also going to be worse. Eliminate high sugar junk food to avoid agitating social anxiety.
22. Sleep well
Bad sleep lowers intelligence, increases stress, and can cause anxiety too. We can minimize the social anxiety we feel by getting better sleep.
23. Stay away from negative news media
Pumping our minds full of media junk is a sure way to increase a general feeling of ‘unease’. When we’re trying to work on our confidence, anything that causes a bad outlook on life has to go! Every little thing counts, so don’t consume the daily bad news that the media uses to get clicks.
24. Consume positive news media
Just as consuming negative news can cause a negative outlook, consuming positive media will do the opposite. Watch inspirational videos, read uplifting stories, and get your daily dose of personal development. That slight edge from taking in the good stuff could be the difference between getting into a conversation with a stranger, or keeping to ourselves.
25. Use breathing exercises
Some social stress can be calmed down by taking control of our breathing. When you feel nervousness coming on, focus on your breathing. It will become shallow when social anxiety is overwhelming us. Take deep breathes to eliminate the tension.
26. Change your body language
Our body language is a sort of insecurity feedback loop. When we feel socially anxious, our body language looks insecure. When we adopt that negative body language, we feel more insecure. Body language can also be habitual, which means you’re probably repeating shy postures unconsciously.
We can’t always change our feelings with a single thought. Instead, interrupt the negative cycle by controlling your posture.
Stand up straight, lift your chin up slightly, hands out of your pockets, and unpin elbows from your ribs. by being bigger and taking space it will create feelings of confidence. Do this regularly and it will get easier to make yourself feel confident. At least, more confident.
27. Practice power poses
Amy Cuddy explains power poses in her 2012 TED Talk. Power poses, just like positive body language, will instantly change the way you feel. Use these before going into a situation where you feel shy.
28. Practice gratitude
Feeling grateful for what we already have has a calming effect. It allows us to focus on the good things. Focusing on what’s already good is a great long term strategy to use while working on what could be better.
Sometimes I still wake up experiencing anxiety. This will usually happen during extra stressful times, especially if I neglect myself. Gratitude always helps me to regain control and start on the right foot. First, I’ll focus on my breath. Then, I’ll put my attention on the things I’m already happy about. This simple strategy has saved many of my days from going down the drain.
You can also try Marie Forleo’s suggestion and start a gratitude journal.
29. Learn a martial art or boxing
Learning a martial art means getting into a group scenario. Being in direct contact with many different personalities allows us to develop social skills. It also is a great place to make lasting friendships because training with others creates deep bonds.
“At its core, martial arts teaches us the importance of socializing with others and it increases our social circles tenfold.”
Not only is it a good time to work on shyness with classmates, but martial arts will also increase your discipline and fitness levels.
Another reason that martial arts training will increase confidence is because it creates a secure sense of self. When you know you can handle yourself if things go wrong, you’ll naturally hold yourself more confidently. Other people will notice how you hold yourself and respect your space.
“Imagine being able to walk down a dark alley without fear, or being a woman that has the ability to take control over any situation. Any martial artist will tell you that the confidence they feel knowing that they are able to defend themselves in any compromising situation is incomparable. The self-defense skills you learn in class – from sparring to the techniques, prepare you for real-life situations.” – Evolve MMA
30. Learn to sing
“The first time I went on, I got booed off stage as I could not remember the words or chords to the song I could play in my sleep! I felt like crap but it got better and so did my shyness. The instincts that pushed me to overcome stage-fright pushed me to become calm in many of the social and business settings I would placed in the future.” –
Singing usually means having an audience. This forces us to deal with insecure thoughts about being judged. Being a bad or good singer. Or even the weird shirt we wore that evening.
The good thing about singing lessons is that you’ll learn with an instructor, and with other beginners. This will take away some self consciousness and allow you to grow.
“As someone who experienced low self-esteem for a long time, singing has, personally, made a huge difference to my life.” – Fay Agathangelou
Here are some more benefits of singing according to Healthyplace.com
- It helps to release your inhibitions and it gives you the freedom to be yourself.
- It’s very personal and a way of nurturing yourself as a person.
- It lifts your mood and it’s fun.
- It distracts your mind from negative thoughts.
- It helps with breathing, relaxation and slowing your heart rate.
- It helps to relieve stress and muscle tension.
- It helps with focus and concentration.
- It helps with mindfulness and being in the present moment.
- It can be meditative.
- It’s challenging and rewarding.
- It gives you meaning and purpose.
- It takes you out of your comfort zone and it’s empowering.
- It gives you a sense of achievement.
- It’s a way of expressing yourself and your emotions.
- It’s a way of meeting new people, especially when you join a group.
31. Decide to overcome shyness
Don’t “try” and don’t “give it a shot”. The way you describe your goal will affect your outcome. If you’re just trying you don’t really have any skin in the game. Make a commitment and decide to beat shyness.
32. Stop saying “can’t”
Telling ourselves how we “can’t” do anything becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
Positive self talk can get us through the most difficult challenges. The opposite is true for negative self talk. Telling yourself that you ‘can’t’ will demotivate you and lead to quitting.
How do you know for a fact that you really and truly cannot do something? Have you given it your best, failed, fell, flunked and then attempted at least two more times? Have you pushed yourself outside that awful comfort zone that keeps you trapped to know your true boundaries? Have you explored every which way possible? – Farnoosh Brock
Here’s a great exercise to break the “can’t” habit, from prolificliving.com
Replace every statement of “cannot” with the statement of “choose not”.
I can’t travel => I choose not to travel.
I can’t do yoga => I choose not to do yoga.
I can’t stand up for myself => I choose not to stand up for myself.
33. Do a video vlog
It may seem strange, but when I started vlogging I was really uncomfortable. You’d think it would be easy, but staring into the camera made my mind go blank. Worse yet, posting my videos online brought up all sorts of negative thoughts. I felt like I’d be plagued by trolls and negative comments.
What happened? Nothing. Most comments turned out to be positive. Eventually posting online was no biggie.
Start by filming videos which you keep to yourself. Most of the videos I filmed years ago never made it online, and I’ve since deleted some which did because my new videos are better.
When you feel more confident, start posting on YouTube. This will further stretch your comfort zone.
34. Write a public blog
Writing a public blog scared me at first. I was exposing my opinion to random strangers online. This caused more than a little anxiety. Just as with vlogging, nothing bad happened when I started posting online. Eventually I started writing on some publications which have major traffic. That was another anxiety hurdle and another success.
Pick a topic you’re really passionate about. If there’s nothing you want to write about, try a public journal.
35. Speak to a stranger a day
Get out every day with the goal of speaking to at least one stranger. It can be in a coffee shop line up, a table next to you at a restaurant, or even with the girl you ordered your drink from. Start a conversation by making a simple observation. It could be the crazy heat, some jewelry they’re wearing, or a comment on the book she has.
Speaking to strangers allows us to get outside of our own heads. It helps us to connect with others, and is a great way to overcome shyness.
“It seems like a very small thing if I talk to a stranger, and learn something about them… but it stacks up, it’s incremental.” – Kio Stark
36. Approach women (or men)
Approaching women is a surefire way to stir up some adrenaline. It’s also a great way to grow a thicker skin by learning to deal with rejection. The fear of rejection is a big part of shyness. Bringing it out into the open is essential for personal growth.
Not only will you learn how to overcome shyness, you can get some dates too. For many, it can be too much to handle on their own. If that’s you, then you might consider dating coaching.
P.S. this is an old interview I did with Derek Cajun (Love Systems) on overcoming approach anxiety.
37. Observe other people
What do other people do in social situations? It’s easier to figure absorb social skills when we observe others in the same situations we want to be in. Pay attention to how people use their voices, their body language, eye contact, and their reactions to certain behaviors.
38. Good mornings
Every morning on you’re way to work, say “good morning” to the people who pass. Simple, right? Many shy people will find this simple act to be uncomfortable. A lot people who don’t consider themselves to by shy also find it uncomfortable because they’re not used to it. That makes them feel “weird”.
Make this part of your daily routine for social confidence. When you start getting used to it, you’ll know that you’ve already become a more social person.
39. Eye contact and a smile game
Here’s how you do it:
Walk down the street and meet each persons eyes with your own. If they look at you, smile. If they look away, just keep walking.
Avoid aggressively staring by keeping your facial expression inquisitive, like you’re curious about the people you see. If you attempt eye contact and they don’t reciprocate, don’t worry about it. Look away after a couple of seconds to avoid overdoing it.
40. Don’t be a perfectionist
Some of my students get deterred when they look at me talk to women. They realize they’ll probably never be as good as I am. It’s true, I’ve been doing this for 10 years and have devoted a ridiculous amount of time to meeting women and dating.
But here’s the thing: why would anyone have to be as good as a pro to get great results? Can you not enjoy a game of soccer without playing like David Beckham?
“Aiming for perfection is the ultimate confidence killer, because if you aim for perfection, you’ll always fall short.” – Derek Halpern
Aim to improve your own personal social skills and confidence. Not to become perfect. Doing that will only cause frustration and end up in quitting.
Perfectionism is also a path to procrastination:
“Perfectionist tends to conjure up an immaculate vision of how things should be. So when it’s time to get to work, they become extremely detail oriented, start to obsess about every single thing, get weighed down by every problem, and get caught up by the need to create everything perfectly. Over time, the “pain” of such intricate attention becomes too painful, and this subsequently leads to procrastination — putting off a task to get some relief, but is in actual fact pushing away the pain that they create with each task.” – Personal Excellence
41. Dress better
Dressing better will make you feel good about yourself. It’s hard not to be self conscious when we hate the way we look. Look up some ideas in fashion catalogs, or ask an attractive girl for her opinion at a retail store. It will bring out some shyness but is a good way to start a conversation.
“You have to remember that you’re a man, and being extravagant isn’t necessary. You don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to look great.”
– Robert, Restart Your Style
Here’s a great guide on the basics of style for men from Restart Your Style. Check out: 20 must follow rules for men who want to dress well
42. Use a “no effort conversation starter”
Another name for this is ‘peacocking’. This is a great idea by Derek Halpern to get other people to start conversations with you.
Wear a shirt that says something weird or interesting. You could also wear a hot with a slogan on it. Whatever it is, make sure it stands out. When you go into public people will be compelled to start chatting with you. You can check out more on this idea here.
A lot of shyness comes from being unfamiliar with social situations. Learn how to visualize yourself in different scenarios, talking to people. This will give you more confidence to speak since you’ve already ‘been there’ in your mind.
44. Focus on them, not you
Focus on the person in front of you to reduce your social anxiety. A lot of shyness comes down to being self absorbed and only thinking about ourselves. Show interest in the person in front of you; what does she do? Why does she do it?
45. Listen instead of thinking what to say next
Don’t wait for your opportunity to speak. Far too many people don’t actively listen, they just nod their heads while waiting for a chance to jump in. Instead, be a good listener.
Repeat back to her, in your own words, what she just told you. Then, add an opinion to it and dig deeper by asking another question. I call this the snowball technique, and it’s great for creating deep conversations and making connections.
46. Learn Stoicism
Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy that many contemporary greats have adopted. This philosophy teaches us to see things the way that they are, and not embellish. It’s also helps us to detach emotionally from things that can stir us up. For more info try The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
47. Give compliments
It can feel awkward to compliment people when we’re not used to it. Sincere compliments are a great way to charm those around us and make connections. It’s also a good chance for you to practice getting out of your shell.
To make a sincere compliment, look at her and pick a quality like her sense of style, jewelry, hairstyle, or whatever else stand out to you. Keep the compliment low key and don’t repeat it more than once. Just be causal like, “That’s a nice tie. Where did you get it?” or “You have nicely done nails. Good summer colours.”
48. Smile at people
Smiles not only make others happy, but they also make the smiler happy too. When we smile it tells others we’re friendly and open to being approached. Smile at a stranger every time you go out to spread the good vibe to yourself and others.
Meditation has a calming effect and helps us to sharpen our focus. Doing this on a daily basis will relieve anxiety that agitates shyness.
“Anxiety is a cognitive state connected to an inability to regulate your emotional responses to perceived threats. Mindfulness meditation strengthens a person’s cognitive ability to regulate emotions.”
50. Practice scenarios
Before going to a social even, rehearse what you’ll say to open conversations. What will you say and do when someone approaches you? How will you respond? How will you approach other people? Although scripting an entire conversation isn’t possible or desirable, practicing the opening and exit for a conversation will give you more confidence.
51. Don’t “socialize” online
It’s too easy to fool ourselves thinking that by chatting online we’re socializing. In reality, online friends are mostly a distraction and can deprive us of real human interactions. When we don’t have face to face chats shyness will get stronger.
“Social support can be a strong predictor of positive mental health. Emotional support has been shown to protect us from a wide array of both psychiatric and physical ailments. But unlike online friendships, real-life relationships take time and effort. They help us learn about others and ultimately ourselves.” – Shelly Bonanno, Pychcentral.com
What do you think about the effect of social media on our ability to socialize? Scroll down to comment.
All of these social exercises are going to make you uncomfortable, tense, and use a lot of energy. Whenever we try something new it takes extra effort. Especially when dealing with shyness. Not giving yourself a chance to recharge is a sure fire way to burn out and quit. Leave the city and recharge in nature. You’ll improve your concentration, short term memory and relieve stress.
53. Reward yourself
It’s important to reward ourselves while waiting for our new social skills and confidence to develop. Add some extra incentive for talking to random strangers by adding a treat for taking an action. Whether it’s approaching an attractive woman, starting a conversation at a cafe or going to a social event, give yourself a reward for following through. This is a great way to build a new habit too.
54. Speed dating
Maybe you’re not ready to approach an attractive stranger. If that’s so, speed dating will get you in front of some potential dates fast. It’s a good chance to practice body language, eye contact, and conversational skills. Experiment with different openers so you don’t say the same thing to your dates as every other guy in the room.
55. Meetup.com groups
Meetup.com has a ton of different social groups for almost any niche possible. Going to an established group will allow you to have conversations with new people in a controlled environment. Everyone there will be there for the same reasons as you; to meet new people and have fun. In your case, you’ll be able to sharpen your conversational skills and acclimate yourself to being in a group.
56. Join a beer league
The potential for fun while drinking and playing baseball probably doesn’t have to be explained. One extra benefit is that everyone will be focused on the game and drinking, which will give you breaks to recharge in between conversations.
You’ll probably get introduced by the organizer, so that will take pressure off of having to do it yourself. After that, grab a beer and enjoy the game.
57. Learn conversation skills
In most cases, shyness means having a deficit in social skills which create confidence. Learn conversation skills by observing conversations and going to social events to practice. Public speaking is another way to develop conversation skills. Most of the qualities of a good public speaker apply to conversations, except to be a great conversationalist you’ll want to focus on listening more.
“Be present. Be in that moment. Don’t think about your argument you had with your boss. Don’t think about what you’re going to have for dinner. If you want to get out of the conversation, get out of the conversation but don’t be half in it and half out of it.” – Celeste Headlee
Part 2 Top^
How to not be shy in front of your crush?
It’s easy to be shy around someone we’re attracted to. When we see them, our heart starts beating, body temperature increases and our palms start sweating. Who wants to talk to their crush after turning into such a mess?
The key here is to gain control of your physical reaction. The sweaty palms, racing heart and high temperature can all be calmed.
First, read the entirety of this post for personal development tips to reduce your overall shyness and improved confidence.
Now, to gain control of your nervous physical reaction, follow the steps below:
- Breath: The first thing to do is take deep, controlled breaths. When we’re nervous, our breathing will become shallow. This will aggravate our anxiety and allow it to spiral out of control. When you take deep breathes, it has a calming effect on the nervous system and allows for clear thinking and stress relief.
- Posture: Shyness almost always involves bad posture. Most people will put their hands in their pockets, cross their arms, and pin their elbows to their ribs when nervous. To combat these feelings, pay attention to your body language. Are your muscles tightening up? Consciously relax them. Hunched forward? Then stand tall. Arms pinned to your ribs? Relax them and let them expand away from your body.
- Focus: What are you thinking about when you see your crush? Chances are that the main focus is on yourself. Insecurity tends to make people hyper sensitive to their own shortcomings, whether real or imagined. Change your focus to your breath, something in your environment, or a conversation. If you’re talking to your crush then focus on her words. Be curious and ask questions which go below the surface.
Part 3 Top^
Overcoming shyness books
Here’s a list of books which may help you on your quest to overcome shyness and social anxiety. I don’t endorse these books as I have not read them, but there is a wide selection on Amazon with great reviews.
If you try one of these books, please comment below about your experience.
How to overcome shyness wikihow
Wikihow has a great list of steps which can further your knowledge on overcoming shyness. Check it out here.
Part 4 Top^
Overcoming social anxiety step by step
Part 5 Top^
How to stop being shy and quiet
My experience with coaching has shown me that when guys get shy, their voices get quiet. As soon as a man goes and talks to a woman, and lowers the volume of his voice, the chances of anything happening are slim to none.
It’s a submissive gesture to lower our voices. When a man shows up and says, “Hey! I’m submissive and nervous!” it’s an automatic turn off for women.
They want an assertive, confident man who doesn’t apologize for what he wants.
Of course, this isn’t all about dating. So what about in other social situations? Whether you’re a ,man or a woman, being quiet because of shyness can feel suffocating. It’s a sort of attempt to hide and not draw any attention your way.
To overcome this tendency, practice raising your voice.
Chances are that your voice is much quieter than you even imagine. This will make it hard to gauge how much to turn up the volume, but any practice will make you less self conscious.
Here are some signs that you speak too quietly:
- People always asking you to repeat yourself.
- People tend to lean in to hear you.
- Misunderstanding are frequent, which forces you to re explain.
Here’s how to improve your speaking volume:
- Take a deep breath before speaking so that the ‘chamber’ is full.
- Speak from your diaphragm
- Stand tall and don’t lean forward
- Unpin your arms from your sides
- Focus on clearly enunciating each word
Those tips will help you open up your chest and speak louder. Dealing with being self conscious will take some deliberate practice bringing attention to yourself though.
- Loudly calling your friends from across the street “I’m over here!” or just “Hey!”
- Having a conversation in a loud room (will force you to speak louder). Just don’t lean in to compensate.
- Public speaking courses
- Acting or drama courses
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How to overcome shyness at school
It can be tough to deal with shyness at school with all of the different pressures we get exposed to.
Schools are small communities, so ‘word’ tends to get around, and reputations spread quickly. That makes social anxiety all the more difficult to deal with.
There are some things we can do to ease the nerves a bit.
- Be on time: Being late for classes will increase our own stress by forcing us to rush. It will also bring extra attention when we walk through that door and the teacher has already begun the lesson. On a reverse note, dealing with that extra attention will diminish shyness, but being late isn’t the best way to do this.
- Be active in your school: Don’t let shyness force you into obscurity. The more social situations are avoided, the more control shyness will take. Deal with it directly by getting involved with school or social activities.
- Challenge yourself: Make a point of targeting specific social situations which make you feel awkward. Maybe it’s joining a group of friends who are already chatting, or doing a presentation in front of the class. Work on these one by one until you get more confident.
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How to overcome shyness at work
Just like school, work can cause extra anxiety for some shy people. Use the same steps mentioned above to overcome work related shyness. Another thing to do is to become really good at what you do. When we feel competent at our jobs it builds confidence.
Be the go to expert at your work and people will soon start coming to you for advice. This will provide more opportunities to socialize and build your confidence.
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What are symptoms of social anxiety disorder?
You don’t have to have social anxiety disorder or extreme shyness to experience these symptoms. Many moderately shy people will be familiar with the following (from the Mayo Clinic):
- Fear of situations in which you may be judged
- Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
- Concern that you’ll offend someone
- Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
- Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
- Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
- Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
- Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
- Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
- Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions
- Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation
If any of these things is causing you to change your behavior, then it may be time to work on it.
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How to help someone with social anxiety
According to Healthline, you should:
- Work with their emotions: Don’t try to rationalize their feelings away. Accept that they are experiencing emotional difficulties with a situation, and help them with your support.
- Focus on their feelings: Ask them how they are feeling as opposed to asking why their feeling anxious. Let them express themselves without interruption.
- Use distraction techniques: Get them focused on something else, like a walk, game, or creative activity.
- Be patient: Don’t rush or lose your temper. Allow them time to fully calm down.
- Be funny: Humor goes a long way in making people feel good. By cracking a few jokes you can help them to relieve some of the tension their feeling.
Finally, social anxiety takes some real personal growth. Encourage your friend to get coaching, therapy or even recommend a course or books which could help.
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How to overcome social awkwardness?
Social awkwardness comes down to a feeling of not fitting in, or not feeling right. It can cause us to act oddly at times. It can also make us feel like we’re not being ourselves.
To overcome social awkwardness:
- Build social confidence through practice: Go to as many social events as you can. The more the better. You’ll need to get into conversations at these events to learn good conversational skills.
- Take public speaking courses: By taking public speaking, you’ll learn how to use your voice, handle attention, pronounce clearly, and how to get your message across.
- Get fit: Although not a social skill, getting fit will add to your confidence. The less insecurity you feel, the less awkward you’ll be.
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But I don’t like people.
If that’s the case, it’s going to be hard to make progress. I used to be the same though. I hated being around people, and would always find reasons why “people suck”.
It turned out that was just my depression talking. When I changed my focus to the good qualities people possess, everything started to change. I started to like people, and this grew my desire to learn how to make connections.
How to like people:
- Look at the good: Focus on the good qualities in everyone you meet
- Don’t generalize: If someone is a jerk, don’t generalize, “All people are jerks.” Instead, recognize everyone is different.
- Empathize: That ‘jerk’ may have just had a bad day, a break up, financial trouble or other issues. Recognize that he/she may not be displaying his whole character.
- Improve your own character: Sometimes jerks are a reflection of what were projecting. When you show up with a scowl on your face, a bad attitude, or a demanding or impolite tone of voice, other people will react in kind. You can improve your character with step 4, or try doing things for others with no expectation of something in return.
- Confront your social fears: Sometimes disliking other people is about our own fears of them. Expose yourself to social situations to and get into conversations.
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Overcoming shyness PDF
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“My experiences with shyness came down to fear of the unknown, as in “what is going to happen?” and fear of disapproval. The way to get past this is to have scenarios modeled and to understand one’s own value in the world. Modeling scenarios helps with that “what will happen?” question…” – Doug Dingus
Which was your favorite tip? Comment below!