Learning how to overcome shyness is crucial for anyone who experiences it on a daily basis. Shyness and social anxiety can ruin a person’s self esteem, social freedom, and relationships.
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. If you're shy, it can seem like it's impossible to even think about how to meet women.
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It’s not just romantic 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.
Fortunately, there are some effective strategies to overcome shyness:
In this guide you will learn:
- How to overcome shyness
- How to build your confidence
- How to overcome social anxiety
- Practical steps you can take right now
- The best ways to make a connection with other people
- How to ask women out when you’re shy
- How to make friends when you’re shy
- The biggest mistakes shy people make which compound anxiety
- How to calm your nervous system so you can talk to people
- How to stop being awkward
- Conversation tips
And much more.
Click on the menu below to get started.
1. 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
Being shy is not the same as being an introvert, that is people who find social gatherings draining. Shyness is about fear, being tense, or even having physical symptoms when you are in a social situation.
It’s normal to be shy sometimes. It’s only a problem when it starts to interfere with life and alters the choices you make.
The Negative Effects of Being Shy
Do you freeze up when you want to talk to someone new? Do you avoid networking events because you hate talking to new people? Maybe your palms get sweaty or your heart races?
If that’s true then you’re missing opportunities everyday to meet new people, make friends and get dates.
Being shy isn’t cute. It can have disastrous effects on a person's social life.
Why You Should Build Your Confidence
Building confidence means you won’t be restricted by anxiety anymore. It doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating anxiety or shyness, but you’ll be able to cope with it so that you no longer make choices based on shyness.
Will I Get over This?
You can get over shyness. Too many people make their shyness a part of their identity (a huge mistake), but when you detach your shyness from who you are, you can start growing.
Shyness isn’t “you”, and you’re not doomed to be shy forever. There are numerous steps you can take to build your confidence.
Click the next chapter below to start learning how.
What Are Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is an extreme version of shyness. The Mayo Clinic has a list of symptoms:
- Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers.
- Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice.
- Trouble concentrating on anything but the present worry.
- Trouble sleeping from social anxiety.
- GI discomfort from anxiety.
Most shy people will recognize a few items on the list. That doesn’t mean you have a disorder. When these symptoms start to take over your life, then you should worry.
If you think you might have social anxiety disorder, contact your doctor. A good therapist can help you manage your symptoms and your anxiety.
2. How to Overcome Shyness
If you want to learn how to overcome shyness, it’s all about how you act. Like anything else in life, you need to practice. 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 Do I Find out the Cause of My Shyness?
To find the cause of your shyness, you don’t have to delve deeply into your unconscious mind. You don’t have to lean back on the psychiatrist's couch to talk about your mother. It’s much simpler than that.
Make a list of the situations in which you feel shy. Remember how your shyness manifests in each situation, and write it down.
Keep a detailed log of the symptoms you feel. Did your heart start racing? Did your mind turn all judgemental on yourself? Did you start stammering?
These details will help you find the triggers for shyness and the symptoms. Once you’ve identified those, you know exactly what to target for improvement. All it takes, after that, is a plan for each situation.
Eliminate Excessive Emotions
If your shyness has to do with excessive emotions, if you’re privately shy, the only way to fix it is by eliminating or diminishing the emotions that trouble you.
Your body has several natural tools to calm your emotions. We all know that deep breaths help calm us. You just have to do it when your emotions flare up.
Focus on deep breaths, both in and out, and listen to the sound of it. When you put your attention on your breathing, it will take tension away from your emotions.
You can also use your muscles to quiet your emotions. Intentionally tense up your muscles, and then let them relax. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works.
Practice What You Will Say and Do
If your shyness manifests in your behaviors, practice will help you change it.
Practice works like this in just about every aspect of life. When a pianist plays a sonata, he doesn’t mentally think about every key he presses. Muscle memory from hours and hours of practice takes over.
It’s similar when you practice social skills. The more moves you practice, and the better you know them, the easier it will be to speak up when you want to be quiet.
Get Your Mind Right
When your shyness is cognitive, you have excessive anxiety about social situations, and you worry too much about people judging you. Here are some techniques to fix that:
- Reduce self-consciousness: Remind yourself that the world is not looking at you. Make it a mantra, and you’ll believe it eventually.
- Focus on social success: Shy people tend to whip themselves for their failures and overlook their successes. If you mark your success, and celebrate it, you’ll find it much easier to keep going.
- Avoid generalizations: If you have a negative social interaction, don’t let it ruin the rest of your night. Just because you had one bad conversation doesn’t mean that it won’t work out with others. It might not even be your fault.
- Nobody’s perfect: Even the most socially successful people bomb all the time. If you expect yourself to be perfect, you’ll only get discouraged. Just keep working on it and improve over time.
- Accept rejection: Preschool teachers like to think that everyone can be friends, but we know the world doesn’t work that way. Sometimes people just don’t like each other, and that’s ok. Try some self-talk to help you accept rejection when it happens.
- Do what fits you: It’s much easier to work on skills in a place where you’re comfortable. If you don’t know how to dance, don’t work out your shyness on the dance floor. If you know a lot about art, try a social event at a gallery or a museum.
Stop Imagining the Worst
When you’re shy, you sometimes dwell on your mistakes too much, and you project them into the future, too. It can become a cycle, where your mistakes make you expect the worst. Your expectations create problems, and you make more mistakes.
Break the cycle, and stop imagining the worst. Work on positive images of social interaction by using visualization.
When I joined a rowing team, we got together before the very first race. The coach sat us down in the locker room, and he talked us through the whole race.We closed our eyes and listened to him describe it, step by step, and we imagined our boat racing through the water.
Visualize your plan to succeed at the next social function you attend. Think through the specific steps you plan to take. It will ease your tension and focus your mind on the positive.
3. How Can I Succeed Socially?
It’s going to require a lot of effort. With dedication, you can learn how to overcome social anxiety.
While it might take a lot of work, it’s still good news. Why? Because being shy isn’t something that’s part of your DNA.
Just like any skill, you can learn to be more outgoing or to talk with people you don’t know. You can learn to be comfortable in front of crowds or mingle at parties like a pro. All it takes is some practice.
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.
4. 57 Tips to Overcoming 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. It’s an extra push, accountability and support to get through tough challenges. When dealing with shyness, coaching can be the edge that gets 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
Performing arts is a low-pressure way to put yourself out there.
You don’t have to worry about what to say or whether you sound good. Just play the part you’re given. 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 outgoing.
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
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 you can push your limits and perform better.
Pro Tip: 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 learning how 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 friends. You can find them at social events or on recreational sports teams. Watch what they do and you might learn something.
11. Avoid Labelling and Stop Self-Sabotaging
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.
Don’t let shyness become a part of your identity. Once we’ve established that ‘it’ IS US it’s no longer a matter of working on how to be more outgoing. 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 fear reaction to social situations. Whatever it is, it doesn’t define you.
If you’re already identifying personally with it, begin to detach. Catch yourself in the act of labelling 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 grudgingly 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 are severely shy. 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 be more confident.
14. Get out of Your Comfort Zone
Don’t hide from difficult social situations. Seek them out.
If something makes you uncomfortable, it’s a good sign that you should work on it. Get out of your shell, and embrace discomfort.
15. Have a Supportive Group
Enlist your family, friends, or spouse to help. They will keep you accountable, and you won’t have to do it alone. 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. – Jim Heaphy
16. Stop Thinking About What Others Think About You. Nobody Cares
Everyone thinks the whole room is watching them, judging them. Here’s the secret– no one is. They’re just as nervous, insecure, shy, and worried as you are.
Instead, focus on what you think of them. When we put our attention on other people and decide what we think of them, we can take the pressure off ourselves.
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. When you face discomfort it can help you be more confident.
18. Write down Your Shyness Goals
It’s important to know what you want. We don’t all have to be James Bond, but you might just want to be comfortable in a small group. Maybe you want to overcome stage fright or learn to approach women.
Goals help you 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? Reflect on your successes, and 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
Anything that helps you build confidence will help you overcome shyness. If you’re self-conscious about your body, it makes it that much harder to get out there.
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 I added a lot of size. I never became “jacked”, but my new strength made me more confident.
21. Eat Well
When your body feels bad, you get more anxiety and stress, and that makes everything worse. Avoid eating out a lot, watch the junk food, and eat more veggies.
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
While negative news makes you feel bad, positive media can make you feel better. 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
Breath is a perfect way to use your body to control your emotions. When you start to feel nervous, focus on long deep breaths to eliminate tension. With your anxiety under control, you can focus on learning how to overcome social anxiety.
26. Change Your Body Language
You can use your body to affect your emotions. When people feel anxious, we change our body language. We slouch, cross our arms, or avoid eye contact.
That kind of body language will make you feel even more anxious. It’s a sort of insecurity feedback loop. Check yourself when you talk, because you probably do it habitually without noticing.
Insead, stand up straight, lift your chin up slightly, hands out of your pockets, and unpin your elbows from your ribs. Standing tall and taking up more space will make you feel 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
Gratitude keeps you calm by focusing on what’s good in your life. You can stay focused on the big picture while you work on how to overcome shyness.
Sometimes I still wake up with anxiety. It’s usually when life is extra stressful, or I neglect myself. Gratitude helps me to regain control.
How do I do it? I focus on my breath, and then I think about the good things in my life. This simple strategy has saved many of my days from going down the drain.
29. Learn a Martial Art or Boxing
Martial arts can help you learn how to overcome shyness in two ways. First, it’s a great social experience. You’re together with a bunch of guys learning something manly. 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.
Second, martial arts will help your confidence. Martial arts teach you to master your body, and mastery builds confidence.
When you’re strong and in control, you act differently, and people will notice.
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. – Sae Min Ahn
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.
- 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. Just Do It
Yeah, Nike got it right. Don’t just “give it a shot.” Do it.
If you “give it a shot,” you aren’t planning to succeed. You’re hoping, wishing that you could do it, but you’re not acting on it.
Commit to a plan of action with real steps and defined goals. Then, follow up on it.
32. Stop Saying “Can’t”
When you tell yourself you can’t do it, you won’t. It’s 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 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.
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, publishing my opinion to random strangers. 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 Every Day
Make it a goal to speak to one stranger every day. It can be in a coffee shop line up, a table next to you at a restaurant, or even the girl who just delivered your drink.
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)
It’s scary to approach someone you like– heart pumping adrenaline and shaking hands. But 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 learn from people who are already outgoing. See what they do, and try it yourself.
Pay attention to how people use their voices, their body language, eye contact, and their reactions to certain behaviors.
38. Say Good Morning
Every morning on your way to work, say “good morning” to the people who pass. Simple, right? That’s why it works.
Many shy people will find this simple act to be uncomfortable. A lot of people who don’t consider themselves 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 person’s 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 and 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.
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:
Perfectionists tend 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
If you dress better, you feel better. Everyone is self-conscious when we hate the way we look.
Lucky for us, the rules are straightforward for guys. Ditch the cargo pants and the graphic T. Confidence comes from looking better, more formal, from more casual.
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
42. Use a “No Effort Conversation Starter”
Use your clothes to start a conversation. Wear something loud or dramatic, and people will notice. Another name for this is “peacocking.”
I know this guy who loves to wear bright colored pants, like teal or lavender. He stands out when he walks into a room, and people comment on it all the time.
It’s a simple way to get people to notice you and to have a natural way to start a conversation.
Don’t think you can pull that off? Here’s the secret: You can pull it off if you act like you can pull it off. That’s what the guy with the lavender pants did.
You can take this principle too far, though. You want your clothes to start positive conversation about you, not a negative one.
Here’s a Tip: choose a dressy piece of clothing and try a color or pattern that is louder than you usually like it.
A lot of shyness comes from fear of the unknown. 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’s making a comeback. It teaches us to see things the way that they are, and not embellish. It also helps us to detach emotionally from things that can stir us up.
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 stands out to you. Keep the compliment low key and don’t repeat it more than once. Just be casual 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 were 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.” – Psychology Today
50. Practice Scenarios
Before going to a social event, 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
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.
Give yourself time to recharge or you’ll 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
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says that reward is key to developing a new habit. If you want your social skills to stick, you need to get to that reward, even if you set it up yourself.
It’ll help you develop your social skills. 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.
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 every interest. Join an established group and talk to the people.
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
When you struggle in social situations, it’s probably because you aren’t confident with your social skills. Practice is the only way to get better.
Fortunately, there are whole groups dedicated to teaching conversation skills and public speaking. Toastmasters teaches members social skills and gives them a place to practice.
Best of all, everyone goes to toastmasters to get better. Everyone is there to learn, not just you.
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
5. Shyness Q&A
1. How do I stop being so shy?
Shyness can be reduced by exposing yourself to social situations that make you feel shy. Avoiding places where people gather or get togethers with friends and strangers will compound the problem. Avoidance results in more fear, often from conditioning yourself to avoid anything that feels awkward, which makes people settle into comfort. You can break the comfort habit by confronting your fears with baby steps.
- Go for a walk in the morning. Say hi or “good morning” to every stranger.
- The eye contact game: Make eye contact with people as you walk in the street.
- Meetup: Go on Meetup.com and RSVP for a get together.
- Invite a group of friends out: Plan a get together with friends and ask them to bring another friend.
- Chat up anyone near you: Make a simple comment to anyone near you. “Wow it’s really hot today!” or “That’s an interesting necklace. Did you get it while traveling?” Etc.
- Ask out your crush: You’ve been thinking about it forever, so just ask her out.
2. What causes a person to be shy?
Shyness can start when you’re young, and possibly have a bad experience. It can also develop over time by getting used to keeping to yourself (conditioning), or conditioning from overprotective parents. There may also be some predisposition to shyness genetically.
3. How can a girl get rid of shyness?
Getting rid of shyness starts by being socially proactive. You need to go out and do what is uncomfortable for yourself, but start with baby steps. Go out, chat with anyone who serves your coffee, say “good morning to strangers, or arrange get-togethers with friends and their friends. The more proactive you are the faster you’ll get rid of shyness.
4. How can a man stop being shy?
Men can stop being shy with women by getting out of their comfort zones, and talking to as many women as possible. Go to speed dating events, meetup.com social get togethers, or other groups for sports or recreation.
5. Is it bad to be shy?
Shyness is normal in most people, and everyone is shy to a certain degree. Different situations will bring shyness out of people. For example, some guys may be confident talking to small groups, but getting on stage and doing public speaking gives them anxiety aka shyness. There’s nothing wrong with being shy unless it stops your personal development.
6. How can I stop being shy in 60 seconds?
Stop being shy in 60 seconds by:
- Taking a deep breath: This reduces anxiety
- Stand tall: Posture is crucial for confidence
- Get your hands out of your pockets: This is a protective gesture (insecure)
- Keep your chin up: Confident people keep their heads up
- Make eye contact: When greeting someone make strong eye contact
- Speak with a strong voice: A soft voice will make you feel soft
- Repeat: Repeat the above steps everytime you feel shyness coming on, and when greeting people.
7. How can I be confident?
Confidence is directly related to:
To build confidence you need to learn social skills which will give you the tools to make connections with others. While you learn these skills, you’ll be gaining experience, which will give you a double whammy effect.
Finally, you need to condition yourself to react to different situations confidently. You can do this through more practice, and learning the appropriate responses, then repeating these until it becomes second nature.
For example, if when you greet people you automatically shy away from eye contact, you will need to force yourself to do the opposite. Over time you’ll become more confident doing this, and it will get conditioned into your behaviors.
8. What causes low confidence?
Low confidence is caused by:
- Bad experiences
- A lack of experience
- A lack of social skills
- Fear of the unknown
- Low self esteem
- A bad self image
- A negative personal identity
- Not having anything going on in life
- Not growing personally
9. How can I be happy?
Happiness comes from doing and growing as a human being. If you’re not growing and moving towards your goals and dreams, you will not be happy.
Unhappiness can also be caused by never giving gratitude for what you already have or achieved. It’s a fine balance between growth and gratitude which will normally produce the most happiness. .
Some things which can cause unhappiness:
- Focusing on the negative side of life
- A lack of gratitude
- A lack of giving
- Harming yourself physically or emotionally
- Not taking care of your health
- Not exercising
- Not eating healthy food
- Watching negative news media
- Reading negative blogs
- Not taking care of your financial health
- Not nurturing your relationships
- Not taking care of your family
- Living beyond your means
- Causing or participating in drama and conflicts
- Putting your nose where it doesn’t belong
- Trying to take care of everyone except for yourself
- Not following your intuitions
- Substance abuse
- Treating other people badly
Know of anything else which can cause happiness or unhappiness? Comment below.
10. Are introverts shy?
Introverts are not shy by definition. Being an introvert means you enjoy time by yourself, but can also enjoy get-togethers with other people. Where introverts differ the most from extroverts is that introverts need time alone to recharge, whereas extroverts get charged up by being around other people.
11. What are the effects of shyness?
Shyness has the following effects:
- Awkwardness around others
- Social avoidance
- Discomfort in group settings
- Social anxiety
- Social isolation
- A lack of romantic relationships
The effects of shyness will vary however depending on how shy a person is. Some people only experience mild effects, whereas others can become isolated.
12. Every time I talk to someone new, my body automatically stops working. What do I do?
If your body does strange things whenever you meet new people, you’re going to hate meeting new people.When bad things happen to us, we don’t want to keep doing it.
If your body does strange things whenever you meet new people, you’re going to hate meeting new people.When bad things happen to us, we don’t want to keep doing it.
According to Harvard Medical School, when your body perceives a threat, it moves into survival mode, sometimes called “fight or flight.” Your heart starts to beat faster, you blood vessels open up, and your lungs get ready to take in more oxygen.
Your body thinks that you’ll need to max out your physical performance to get away or defeat danger. Sound familiar?
That response might be right for killing a mountain lion with your bare hands, but it’s the opposite of what you want when you’re meeting new people.
When your body shuts down, your heart might race, your palms might sweat, and your brain might totally shut down. But there is a way out of it, a way to get past it.
Just like you have a system to ramp up your physical response, you also have a system to calm yourself down, called “relaxation response.” We need that kind of response to help us go to sleep or to get our bodies ready to digest food.
You can push your body toward a relaxation response with a few simple techniques:
- Breathe through your nose.
- Visualize a calm scene.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Repeating a calming phrase like, “you can do this.”
- Physical activity like tensing your muscles
- Exercise before a social event– endorphins are great for relaxation.
If you practice these techniques, they can help you remain relaxed even in social situations. They can also calm your body down when your in social situations that get your heart racing.
13. Every time I talk to someone or make a mistake, I get red in the face and overheated. How can I stop this from happening?
While the stress response is based on fear, getting red in the face comes one of the self-conscious emotions. Embarrassment is a public emotion that comes from social awkwardness.
Physiology of Embarrassment
Embarrassment has a few symptoms that are easy for most of us to identify.
- Downward gaze.
- Forced smile.
- Face touching.
- Turning your head away.
When you blush, it comes from the hormone, adrenaline. You blood vessels open up, and the blood rushes closer to the skin. While blushing is a flight response to adrenaline, it is unique to social situations, and researchers aren’t certain why.
Embarrassment can be a good response to a social mistake. Researchers show that people who look embarrassed in response to a mistake are more likely to be forgiven, to be liked, or to be trusted.
It becomes a problem, however, when you get embarrassed even before you do make a social mistake. So, what do you do to fix that?
Overcome the Spotlight Effect
The spotlight effect is when we believe that the people around you have become as preoccupied with you as you are. You believe that they can think only about your potential failure.
Now, think about that. Isn’t it absurd to think that everyone around you is focused completely on you and your embarrassment? In fact, it’s likely that everyone is thinking the same thing, that others only notice and judge them.
Laugh at Yourself
The spotlight effect has power, because you dwell on your embarrassment. You can eliminate that by making a joke.
Say something like, “Well, that was smooth.” Laugh at yourself a little, and you create some solidarity with the people around you.
14. How to overcome embarrassment in social situations
Here are some tips to help come with the spotlight effect:
- Remind yourself that no one cares about this as much as you do.
- Analyze the moment to see what you can learn.
- Use your body to slow your adrenaline response in ways we mention throughout the article link to a section on relaxation techniques?.
- Practice social situations on your own and in low-stress environments.
- Laugh about it.
The key, finally, to overcome blushing whenever you’re in front of people is having positive social experiences. A little work and a little preparation can get you ready to have those. Eventually, you won’t react that way to social situations.
15. How to overcome shyness at school or work
School and work put extra pressure on someone who’s shy. You have to get your job done, and you have to work on relationships with your peers.
There are some things we can do to ease the nerves a bit.
- Be on time: If you’re late, you’re already stressed, and stress doesn’t help social pressure. Be on time, and you can start with a calm mind, focused on the task at hand.
- Be active: Part of getting out there is getting out there. Force yourself to chase after social situations, and you’ll get better at it.
- 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. Work on these one by one until you get more confident.
- Check your voice: Lots of people get quiet when they get nervous, and it makes everything worse. People have to lean in to hear you, and you spend a lot of time repeating yourself. When you speak at normal volume, you’ll feel more confident.
- Check your posture: Body language does the same thing as volume. Stand tall, unpin your elbows from your ribs, and keep your shoulders square.
16. How do I overcome shyness when talking to people I don't know?
We all have to talk with people we don’t know, especially when we’re at work. It might be an interview for the job you want, or it’s a lunch meeting to get to know a new client. Maybe you’re the one doing the interview, and you want to make a good impression on a possible hire.
Work meetings come with a side of stress when it’s your livelihood on the line. You don’t want your shyness to be the thing that gets between you and that promotion, right? That means you’ll need to be extra prepared for times when the stress is on.
When there’s extra stress, you need to be extra prepared. But you have an advantage, too. When you know who’s attending and what the meeting is about, you know exactly what to prep.
Do that. Get prepared so you can be more confident. Here are some things to remember when you‘re getting ready.
Study the People
First of all, memorize everyone’s name beforehand, if you can. You don’t need to make up flashcards like you’re in high school. But, if you know who’s going to be there, having their names in your head before the meeting gives you one less thing to fear.
Gather what you know about the people involved, even if you’ve never met them. If they have a family, if you know they have a hobby, ask about it. People love to talk about themselves, so asking a question about something they love is a great conversation starter.
Study the Subject
If you’re going to a book club, read the book thoroughly and have some questions. Before you get to your meeting, know the topic as well as you can.
If you know the topic of the meeting well, you won’t have to worry about it when you’re there. You can focus on the skills you’ve practiced to make the conversation smooth.
Prepare Talking Points
Politicians prepare for interviews by reviewing their own campaign material. They have a few simple talking points they remember so they can stay on task and so they don’t get rattled.
You can do the same thing. It doesn’t have to be a weird, politician thing. You don’t need to come off like a salesman.
Just prepare a few good ideas that might start conversation. Focus on things that will get the other people to talk, and practice leading into them.
17. How can I stop being shy when I walk into a room full of people I don't know and people are looking at me?
When you’re shy, a room full of strangers might be more daunting than climbing a mountain. It can be terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be.
You can learn the skills you need to walk into a room full of people with confidence (or at least looking like you have confidence).
You probably got the hint in the last sentence. They key to looking confident isn’t being confident, it’s acting confident.
No one needs to know that you’re terrified. You don’t need to broadcast that you’d rather sprint home to your pajamas and Netflix. Smile and act like you belong, and people will believe it.
Practice Social Skills
A room full of strangers can be much simpler to navigate than meeting someone one on one. You don’t need to sustain long conversations with one person. You can talk to one group here, one group there, and move on when you run out of something to say.
So, you don’t need a deep bench of social skills to mingle. You just need a few good superstars to win the game.
All it takes is some memorization and some practice, and you’ll be able to make your way through any crowded room.
18. How do I overcome shyness when talking to people I am attracted to?
Romance can be one of the most difficult situations for a shy person. If you think we stress out for work meetings, it’s nothing compared to asking someone out.
I think that’s because we internalize the results of a romantic conversation more than we do others. At work, they might reject your work. If things go wrong in romance, it feels like they’re rejecting us.
Imagine the Worst-Case Scenario
I know what you’re thinking. You want me to think about the worst way it can go before I go talk to some gorgeous gal? Yeah, maybe not.
Thinking about the worst-case scenario can help, though. That’s because our brains tend to exaggerate risk.
Do you feel nervous when you get in a plane? As it lifts off, do you tense up? Most of us do, because we’re afraid that the plan will crash.
Do you feel the same way every time you get in a car? Probably not, but you are much safer 30,000 feet above the ground than you are pulling out of your driveway on the way to the grocery store.
What’s the worst-case scenario when you want to talk to someone you’re attracted to? She’s not interested, and you go back to your day. Even if you make a total fool of yourself, it’ll be over fast, and you can move on.
Ditch the Cheesy Lines
You don’t need to come up with a smooth intro or a fancy line. Be simple and direct.
Introduce yourself, and ask her an open-ended question. Get her to talk about herself, and you’re golden.
Use Your Body to Control Your Emotions:
- Breath slowly to slow your heart rate.
- Stand tall and watch your posture to build confidence.
- Maintain good eye contact to keep focus.
- Point your shoulders toward the person you’re talking to so you show your interest is in the right place.
Some simple body tricks will be a big help.
19. How can I speak louder?
For a lot of people, shyness manifests itself in altered behavior. You might lean up against a wall for comfort or avoid eye contact.
One of the most common symptoms of shyness is a quiet voice. When you’re at home with family, you have no problem speaking out. As soon as you’re in a social situation, you clam up.
Even if you get the courage to speak, the words come out so quietly that no one can hear.
Do you have to repeat yourself frequently? Do people ask you to explain regularly? Do others constantly lean in to hear what you’re saying?
You need to speak louder. Happily, there are some easy ways to practice getting louder in social situations.
Tips for Speaking Louder
To help you speak louder, use some of the tricks that singers use to make their voices project:
When you stand tall with your shoulders back you no only take a strong physical position, but it frees up your airway so you can speak strongly with less effort.
Speak from Your Diaphragm
Singers train their bodies to push their sound, not from their chest, but from their diaphragm. It makes for a stronger and clearer tone for the best sound.
To speak from your diaphragm, you need to learn how to breathe from it. When you breathe in, push your stomach out rather than puffing out your chest. After you’ve mastered that, breathe in and speak straight from your core.
Enunciate Your Words
Even more important than your volume is how clearly you speak. Singers enunciate, because their audience needs to understand the words from a hundred feet away. They over pronounce so it’s clear.
Focus on making your consonants count. Use hard “C’s,” strong “T’s,” and explosive “P’s,” and it’ll be easier for everyone to understand you. Bonus: focusing on your pronunciation can distract from your shyness.
Learn to Sing
All this comes pretty easy when you learn to sing. Join up with a choir or take singing lessons, and you’ll get to practice being loud in a public setting.
Practice Public Speaking
If singing isn’t for you, you can try public speaking, instead. There are a lot of ways to do it. You can take a class, join up with people at a meetup, or join toastmasters. Anything that gets you speaking and supports your learning will help.
Just Be Loud
Find a public place and try shouting just to get used to it. Start out somewhere loud like a fast-moving river or street with lots of traffic.
Being loud in public will also help with social anxiety. When you get used to drawing attention to yourself, and finding that you don’t die from shame, it takes some of the fear away.
20. 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.
Make Yourself Vulnerable
If you’re overly worried about getting hurt, you’ll just keep pushing people away. It takes some vulnerability to connect to others.
When you’ve been hurt a lot, being vulnerable is hard, really hard. The best way to work on it is to find someone you trust and open up a little. Take it step by step, and soon you’ll be comfortable enough to try more.
Overcoming Shyness PDF
Download this post as a PDF which you can take anywhere.
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