There’s a distinct difference between being quiet and being shy. When you’re quiet, you know you have the option to speak, but you just choose not to do so. But when you’re shy, you’re plagued by discomfort, worry, or even anxiety in social situations.
No matter how shy you think you are, there are ways to train yourself to overcome this barrier. While you won’t turn into a social butterfly overnight, you can become a more confident person.
Another benefit of overcoming your shyness is that, without that timidity, you tend to take advantage of new opportunities that come your way.
These tips and tricks will help you conquer shyness:
1. Accept your personality. It’s truly important for you to accept yourself for the person that you are. You can never be anyone but you. If you’re a quiet person from time to time, so be it. There is just as much beauty in the personality of a quiet person as there is in an outgoing person.
2. Put yourself out there. When you’re shy, you’re more likely to avoid social situations altogether. This only makes the problem worse. If you make the effort to participate, you’ll become more comfortable in every social gathering.
• Take small steps, but take action to step out of your comfort zone.
3. Avoid running away. Even if you’re feeling especially awkward and anxiety ridden, get through the situation as best as you can.
• Afterwards, you can evaluate what you went through so you can grow from it. Ask yourself why you felt the way you did and see if you can correct the problem for next time.
4. Learn to relax. When you’re feeling shy, your mind begins to race. You might be thinking about all the things that can go wrong and you’ll find it impossible to relax. Instead of thinking about what might happen, concentrate on the present and on what actually is happening.
• If you begin to panic, use relaxation and breathing techniques to calm yourself down.
5. Practice your social skills. If you’re shy in social situations, try to practice your communication and social skills in non-threatening environments, such as with family or close friends. This will take away some of the scary “unknowns” that might be causing you to be afraid.
6. Use visualizations. Visualizations can be very powerful. They can help you relax and get past the anxiety associated with shyness.
• Close your eyes and think about yourself in a situation where you’d normally feel shy or panicky. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with negative emotions, visualize yourself as completely confident and happy.
7. Focus on someone else. Place all of your focus on the person you’re sharing a conversation with. Really listen to what they’re saying. If your energy is focused away from how you feel, you’ll be less likely to be overtaken with the feelings of shyness.
• It may also help you to encourage the other person to do more of the talking. Use open-ended questions where they can launch into a whole story or explanation instead of just answering yes or no questions.
Shyness is a combination of fears and feelings that are reinforced by habits. Use these strategies to help you change your habits and your feelings of shyness will dissipate along with the old habits!
Here is a great resource if you are looking for more support to overcome your shyness. Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming your Fear.