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Don't Let Shyness Rule Your Life!

Updated on July 30, 2012

If you are shy, you are not alone. Many people suffer from varying degrees of shyness. The mildly shy are able to forge ahead and take their place in society, eventually conquering their shyness and becoming 'so-called' happy, normal people. Those who are extremely shy may suffer so much that their shyness becomes a type of handicap, preventing them from enjoying all that life has to offer.

Many shy people will never be comfortable in large groups or in the 'limelight' in any situation, and that's perfectly all right. Shy people are, to me at least, better company and more interesting that brazen extroverts, so plan to be more comfortable in society, but hang on to a bit of that charming shyness, because that's part of who you are.

Both males and females suffer from shyness. It is said that shy people have low self-esteem, and are overly self-conscious. That may be so, but I also think that shy people simply do not realize how special they are.

You know early in life that you are shy. Adults often point this out, and the attention to the fact often makes the child even shyer. Some childhood environments certainly do contribute to shyness, but that is of no importance now. The time has come to accept your shyness and meet it head on.

Make a plan to deal with your shyness in slow, easy steps. First make a list of all the good qualities and abilities that you have. Writing down that you can knit may seem mundane, but to another knitter, this can be the start of a beautiful friendship. Writing that you have imagination may seem stupid, but imagination is what is needed to decorate for a party, or write a poetic tribute. Come up with at least twenty qualities, and you will soon realize that you have some pretty interesting abilities and characteristics to share with society.

Discuss your problem with the friend of family member, with whom you are most comfortable. Explain how you feel and enlist their help. Arrange to meet with a third person, a friend of theirs, unknown to you, for coffee or a simple meal. One way to help overcome shyness is to learn to direct the attention to someone else. Before meeting the stranger, make a list of questions that you could ask them - where they work, what they do there, have they been to that restaurant before, what type of food do they like, etc. Learn to ask add-on questions to their answers. The questions you ask will be asked of you in return, so think of simple answers that you can embellish, when you feel more able. Arrange with your friend beforehand to help you out if they feel you are becoming overwhelmed.

Repeat this exercise until you are comfortable with at least one other person. Practice your interactions on everyone you meet. You can simply ask a stranger if they have the correct time, when the next bus is coming, etc. When buying groceries, as the clerk if 'they' are having a good day. The more you interact, the easier it will become.

Make sure you have something to talk about. Go to the top movies. Listen to the news. Visit all the tourist sites in your town. While you gather things to talk about, you will have more opportunities to talk to strangers.

Try volunteering. Visiting seniors is an excellent choice for shy people. Seniors are grateful to anyone who takes time out of their busy day to spend time with them.

Most shy people are good listeners, and this is a great asset. If you listen carefully, you will find opportunities to ask questions, and keep the conversation going. Everyone enjoys the company of someone who will listen.

When you are ready, attend a small gathering, with your friend as a buffer. Dress modestly, and arrive early. Decide to interact with at least one stranger, even if it is just to approach a single person and say, 'Are you having a good time?' This may be all that happens, or a conversation may develop.

Don't waste your time worrying about what other people think about you. Just be yourself, and don't let anyone push you. More importantly, if you have a shy child, do not push them. It only makes matters worse. Help you child based on what has helped you, and always be there with lots of love and support.

Everyone has a place in this world, and everyone contributes to making it what it is. Your contribution is to be the best that you can be, and share that best with others.


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    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Hello again Teaches 12345 - thank you for reading and commenting - you are quite right in saying that shyness can make you invisible - glad you moved on from being shy - its much easier to enjoy life if you are even a bit more outgoing - B.

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Hello SgBrown - thank you for commenting and voting up - so glad you got that promotion - it seems that just that little boost in self-confidence made a great difference in your life - we can help people around us by giving them a bit of praise now and then, especially when we see that they are shy - and shyness is certainly visible - unfortunately, shyness in childhood, attracts bullies - regards - B.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I was very shy as a child and young adult. I learned later that some people thought I was "stuck up". They didn't realize I was afraid to "join in". My first "real job" helped me to overcome my shyness. I was promoted rather quickly which helped my self confidence. I later became a trainer and spoke at conferances. Huges turn around for me. Great hub, I hope this helps some people overcome their shyness and not let it hold them back. Voted up and useful!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I remember being so shy until I reached college. I was invisible and enjoyed it! It is amazing at how hard it is just to say "hi" when you are shy. Good advice here and very helpful.

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Nice to hear from you Always Exploring - as I said, I find shyness an endearing quality - it is especially so in men - as long as your grandson is happy and not distressed by his shyness, there is no reason to be concerned - I like that you said 'That's just him' - with a grandparent like that, he will be o.k. - regards - B.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great message..I have a Grandson who is shy. That's just him. He may grow out of it ,he may not.

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for taking time to read my hub, and also for commenting Dashmir56 - it seems that many do overcome childhood shyness - unfortunately it can be a real handicap if it extends into adulthood - B.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great informative and well written hub, when i was younger i was very shy but grew out of that and i am now very friendly and out going . I hope this information helps shy people to overcome their shyness.

      Vote up and more !!!

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you for your comments Kari Pete - you undoubtedly chose the right profession - I think a person who is truly an introvert is a person who is completely happy with who they are - they probably have interests and a lifestyle that does not depend on others for support or approval - and yes, an introvert can be shy as well, but their saving grace is that their shyness will probably not interfere, to any great degree, with their enjoyment of life - your extrovert question had me thinking of a close relative who had a position in life that led him to be very outgoing and sociable - he was always, quite literally, the 'center of the stage' and 'the life of the party'- I only found out much later that he was in reality a very introverted and shy person - so one may seem extroverted, out of necessity, and actually be shy, but I don't think it possible to be truly extroverted and shy - I think extroverts, like introverts, are, in general, comfortable with who and what they are, so I don't feel a true extrovert would ever feel shy, embarrassed maybe, but not shy - anyway, you certainly gave me a lot to think about, and for that, I thank you - B.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Good message. I think fear goes along with the shyness. "Just be yourself" is wonderful advice!

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Hi Denise - thank you so much for commenting - I do think some people are just naturally shy - others are just naturally bold and outgoing - you can see these characteristics in very young children , too young to have been overly influenced by their environment - it seems to me that any personality trait is just fine as it is, providing that it doesn't prevent you from enjoying life - nice to hear from you - B.

    • Kari Pete profile image

      Kari Pete 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Great hub. I've been trying to figure out the line between shyness and introversion. I see them as very different aspects of personality, but can exist in the same person. Do you think that there can be a shy extrovert?

      I am not terribly shy, I just don't always have a lot to say, especially when I first meet others. Thankfully, I am a therapist, so I've learned how to draw people out and get them to talk about themselves. :P

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for helping me understand shyness more. I, too, thought it was from low feelings of self-worth, but you indicate that it is not necessarily so, but rather it is a personality characteristic. The suggestions given for breaking out of the shy mold are great! Thanks for writing!

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Nice to hear from you billybuc and very happy to hear that you are no longer so shy - I really do find shyness to be a very endearing quality - regards - B.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great message! I was terribly shy for years and it did rule my life. Not so much today as self-confidence did wonders.