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Tips for Conquering Shyness

Updated on July 13, 2015

Tips for Overcoming Shyness

We have all probably experienced shyness at some point in our life. Shyness can span the spectrum from slight awkwardness to paralyzing fear. The following takes a look at the causes of shyness and steps you can take to shake its grasp.

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What are the symptoms of shyness?

Shyness is typically manifested by a variety of physical and behavioral traits. Most people admit to experiencing these symptoms to some degree in certain situations. In most cases, the person can control the symptoms sufficiently to continue to function. In other instances, the person is so overcome with fear that they can have difficulty performing daily tasks or even holding a job.

The physical symptoms of shyness usually include the following:

· Shaking

· Nausea

· Rapid heart rate

· Blushing

· Stuttering or rapid speech

A shy person may feel inhibited and be soft-spoken or unable to speak up for themselves. Shy individuals often avoid social situations and risks. In some cases, the shy person may be considered rude or standoffish due to their inability to open up to others.

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Shyness is often triggered by fear of rejection or not fitting in with others.
Shyness is often triggered by fear of rejection or not fitting in with others. | Source

What are the causes of shyness?

People suffering from shyness typically are overly self-critical and may suffer from a negative self-image. They are usually concerned about how they will be received by others and have a fear of rejection or negative feedback. Shy individuals often feel extreme embarrassment and shame over any type of mistake in a social situation.

Steps for overcoming shyness

Shyness is not something that can be changed overnight. Overcoming shyness is a process that requires a change in mindset and unlearning some ingrained behaviors. The following are concrete steps you can take toward conquering shyness.

Admit the problem – Once you give the demon a name, it will be easier to slay. This is the same philosophy you find in most 12 step programs.

Identify the triggers – You should try to identify and expose yourself to the situations where you feel the most shy. Shyness is often caused by fear of the unknown. By exposing yourself to a situation, the unknown becomes familiar and you will eventually become more comfortable.

Set goals – No one expects you to go from shrinking violet to the life of the party overnight, but you should try to set small attainable goals. You can start by offering a hello to one person you don’t know on a daily basis. Once you get comfortable, try taking the next step, such as attending an office party or other social gatherings.

Look for common ground – Most people find it easier to open up if they already know they share something in common with the other person. For example, you can try joining a club for people who share your same interests and hobbies.

Plan ahead – If you are going to be in a social situation, plan a few ice breakers ahead of time. You don’t have to carry on an in depth discussion on the latest political crisis. Offering a compliment on someone’s dress or asking if they saw the latest Hollywood blockbuster is usually enough to spark a conversation.

Offer something in return – No one wants to have to carry a conversation by themselves. You should look for opportunities to expand on what the other has said. For example, if someone asks if you have tried a certain restaurant, offer information about your favorite restaurant in return.

Accept imperfection – Perhaps the biggest step in overcoming shyness is to admit that you are not perfect. There will be times when you forget someone’s name or stumble over your words. The good news is that no one else is perfect either. Give yourself permission to make mistakes.

Be patient with yourself

Of course, there is no magic cure for shyness. Most of these techniques will probably feel uncomfortable in the beginning. Like any new behavior, it will take time and practice for these habits to become second nature. Most shy individuals have spent years erecting defenses to protect against embarrassment and failure; however with practice and patience you can tame the beast known as shyness.

© 2015 Vicki Holder


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    • vickiholder profile image

      Vicki Holder 2 years ago from The beautiful Ouachita Mtns. in Arkansas

      Thank you for your kind comment.

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 2 years ago

      Very thought provoking article, packed full of very useful tips, very well done, thanks for sharing, voted up, Lee