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How to stop being shy and introvert: Ways to overcome shyness and channel your inner extrovert

Updated on November 9, 2013

How to stop being shy and introvert? How can I overcome my shyness and talk to girls? What can I do if I don't have any friends because I am an introvert? How can I become an extrovert and meet new people? Increasing self-confidence, making new friends, loving yourself, expressing yourself and enjoying social situations - this post discusses ways in which you can tweak everyday habits to get rid of shyness without actually changing yourself as a person.

Don't stress over your shyness. Embrace it and learn how the smallest of tweaks to your everyday habits can help you open up.
Don't stress over your shyness. Embrace it and learn how the smallest of tweaks to your everyday habits can help you open up. | Source

1) Don't mistake overcoming shyness with changing yourself as a person

A common misconception that many people tend to make is that they associate overcoming shyness with changing completely as a person. The daunting thought of changing core personality types can actually make matter worse.

Remind yourself again and again that you don't need to change as a person to stop being shy. Just a few tweaks in your everyday habits and behavior are all it will take to help you socialize and mingle with like-minded friends.

2) Step out of the house regularly: Be outdoors even if you are alone

You will never overcome shyness if you keep thinking about it within the walls of your bedroom. Take a shower, put on some nice clothes and just step out of the house.

Call your close friends to the mall and if no one seems to be available, go out all by yourself. Take your laptop with you and find your nearest Starbucks. Order your favorite brew, find a cozy corner and just watch the world go by.

The reason to do this is quite simple. Going out and interacting with different people will polish up your social skills bit by bit, whether it is a friend or a barista at the cafe.

3) Give your Facebook and online dating website profile a makeover

People who you meet online will judge your personality type from your Facebook profile, online dating website profiles and identities on other social networks. Give yourself an online makeover by doing the following.

  • Have an attractive profile picture - preferably one in which you are with friends
  • Reply to posts, messages and tweets made directly to you – don't be reclusive online
  • Increase your online activity – don't shy away from liking pictures, retweeting interesting tweets and pinning interesting stuff
  • Cut out negative influences – remove and block people who you don't like from your online lists

In the day and age where real and virtual lives are intertwined, interacting with other people online will also make you feel good about your social life.

Make eye contact and smile - that is all it takes to come across as friendly and approachable.
Make eye contact and smile - that is all it takes to come across as friendly and approachable.

4) Make eye contact with people and follow it up with a smile

Shyness generally gives rise to the inability to break ice with strangers. This is one of the common reasons why shy girls and guys aren't able to connect with people beyond their close knit friend circle.

An easy way to overcome this barrier is to remind yourself to make eye contact. Don't keep looking down when you are out and about. Look at people in the eye and follow it up with a smile. You will be amazed at the power of a warm smile.

You are likely to get a friendly smile back unless the person you smile at is a jerk or a complete stranger. This is an easy and instant way to break ice with anyone. It may seem daunting if you have a shy personality but you can break out of the shell by gathering the courage to do it a couple of times, after which it is smooth sailing all the way.

5) Stop making excuses when your friends ask you to hang out

Don't start looking for excuses to miss parties and excuses to not hang out with your friends. Unless the people who invite you are on your hate list, try not to avoid meeting your friends.

Meeting people more often even on a casual basis will help you make good connections with interesting people. Good friendships don't happen instantly. Real friendships tend to mature over months and years.

6) Don't desperately try to make more friends

Don't go on a desperate spree of trying to make new friends to get rid of your shyness. Making friends is not something that can happen overnight. It takes time to meet people and even more time to make a bond with like-minded ones.

Desperation will invite rejection, which will dent your self-esteem. It will make you feel low and depressed. Instead of being in a hurry to make new friends, be your usual self and increase your social quotient gradually notch after notch.

Don't let your unique personality wither away. You don't have to blend into the crowd to overcome shyness.
Don't let your unique personality wither away. You don't have to blend into the crowd to overcome shyness.

7) Don't try too hard to conform: Overcoming shyness is not about blending in

Don't hide your unique personality in an attempt to conform and to be accepted by others. If you do, it is as good as saying goodbye to all your wonderful talents just so that you can disappear among the other seven billion other human beings on this planet.

The notion of being accepted or rejected as a friend is different than dealing with shyness. You don't necessarily need to blend into the crowd to stop being shy.

8) Plan to ask questions rather than worry about answering them

People with shy personalities get nervous at the thought of worrying about the answers they will have to give when other people ask too many questions. If you can relate to this, ease your worries by reversing roles and turning the tables.

Instead of trying to prepare yourself mentally to answer questions, think how you can engage in conversations by being the one who asks the questions. Doing this will take the focus away from you and put others in the conversational spotlight.

9) Don't skip family functions: Use them as practice

Family functions are a great place to polish up your social skills without bringing your friends in the picture. Whether it is Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthday parties or anniversary celebrations, try not to avoid even the smallest family gatherings.

Don't take conversations and interactions with your family for granted. Practice up your conversational skills with your mom, dad, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousins and everyone else.

Work out, get back in shape and feel good about yourself. A positive body image will help you feel comfortable in your own skin.
Work out, get back in shape and feel good about yourself. A positive body image will help you feel comfortable in your own skin.

10) Get a gym membership or workout at home

Working out and getting back in shape may be a core aspect of your confidence levels. If you think that your social anxiety is driven by your low self-worth because of unhealthy looks, start dealing with it right away by joining a gym or exercising at home.

It will take at least a couple of months for the first signs of positive change in your body type and health levels. But once that happens, you will feel a surge of confidence from within.

11) Stop being too judgmental about yourself: Nobody is perfect

Judging yourself harshly all the time could be one of the reasons why you are unable to get rid of your shyness. It is never a bad idea to constantly learn and strive to be a better person. But you could be crossing the line between positive improvement and putting yourself down with harsh self-criticism.

Whenever you find yourself in self-doubt, ask yourself if you are being too judgmental. Life is supposed to be fun, not a test of some sort. Judging yourself excessively and putting yourself in the wrong will make a dent in your self-esteem.

12) Focus on your priorities: Work on your skills and projects

The best way to get rid of shyness is actually the most passive and indirect. Instead of attacking shyness from its core, take your mind away from it completely. Focus on all your other priorities, whether it is your work, studies or any other projects that you may have going on.

Set goals in whatever you are pursuing and knock them off one by one. Excelling in your academic or professional domain will passively boost your overall personality and image. Success will lead to a spike in your self-confidence, which will indirectly erode your shyness away bit by bit.

Work up your self-confidence levels bit by bit to be the person you want to be.
Work up your self-confidence levels bit by bit to be the person you want to be.

13) Work on your self-confidence: Eliminate shyness with confidence

Many people with low self-confidence come across as shy, even if they aren't. On the other hand, a body language that oozes confidence is seldom seen as that of a shy person.

Mentally you may see yourself as someone who has the potential to be a social butterfly however a lack in confidence could be hindering you from being the person that you want to be.

Self-confidence is not something that you can increase overnight. Go out of your comfort zone often, take on challenges that you think you may not be able to do, be proud of your achievements, take initiative and do everything it takes to gradually build up your confidence levels.

14) Love yourself more than anything else in the world

Think about all the people you know, who are not shy. You will notice that all of them really care about themselves. From dressing well to protecting their own self interests, people who genuinely love themselves rarely find themselves at the center of a shyness problem.

Loving yourself basically means appreciating your own mind, body, soul and personality. It means that you are not only comfortable in your own skin, but are really proud of your inner self. Take the first steps towards this liberating feeling by:

15) Don't be self-conscious: Stop assuming what people think about you

Being overly self-conscious is a barrier that stops people from overcoming shyness. This is when people put in too much thought on how others are judging them on a lot of things. 'Everyone is looking at me' is a typical worry that torments people who are shy and self-conscious.

This seemingly terrifying thought is actually a self-created problem. It is nothing but a worry that is a result of baseless assumptions that stem from social anxiety. Getting rid of this way of thinking is not easy but you can take the first steps by immediately diverting your attention to something else when you start getting nervous. Take a deep breath and focus on something that interests you genuinely.

Hang out with like-minded friends with whom you can build a genuine friendship.
Hang out with like-minded friends with whom you can build a genuine friendship.

16) Make like-minded friends: Don't chase the elusive cool crowd

Many people associate shyness with their inability to hang out with the cool crowd, whether it is in school, college or workplaces. They will always consider themselves to be shy unless and until they can hang out with the popular bunch, which is actually a horrible benchmark.

If you have done this in the past or see yourself doing it right now, stop immediately. Make new friends, but not at the pretext of being someone you are not. Instead of trying to hang out with a bunch of posers, try to find like-minded people who will be genuine friends.

17) Express yourself: Stop overanalyzing the repercussions

Some people are not exactly shy but their inability to express themselves freely makes them come across as heavily introverted and shy. If you can related to this, there is no other way to deal with it than to face it head on.

Whether it is a casual phone conversation with a friend or a flirty chit-chat with your crush, stop your brain every time it tries to overanalyze something you are about to say. Muster the courage and just blurt it out.

If you are not in the habit of freely expressing yourself all the time, this may seem more difficult than scaling the tallest mountain peak in the world. But all you have to do is speak out your heart for a few times. It will come naturally to you after that.

18) Reflect on your interactions: Learn from social situations

Overcoming shyness is similar to overcoming any other fear or challenge. You must face it head on and learn from every attempt. It is as simple as learning from your past relationship and avoiding the same mistakes in your next one.

Practice the tips outlined in this post during your interactions with other people. When you have a moment all by yourself, think about how you dealt with a certain situation. Reflect on your behavior and make a mental note of what you could have said or done to ease your shyness away.

19) Be patient: Overcoming shyness takes a lot of time

It is nearly impossible to make a metaphoric comparison to explain how hard it is to overcome shyness, because it is really hard. Not everyone can understand the mental strain and effort it takes to tweak a few habits that have been engraved in a person's core personality since childhood.

Overcoming shyness is a slow, agonizing but heavily rewarding journey. Don't expect all your anxiety and nervous associated with social situations to magically disappear. It will take many months of practice, introspection and putting yourself out there.

Be patient and treat every single day as a new beginning and a new opportunity. Keep reminding yourself that every effort is worth it when you are trying to be everything that you can possibly be.


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