Ways to overcome shyness.


By David Joel Miller.

Here are some suggestions to get past your shyness.

Shy

Shy
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Andreas Kollegger)

Shyness can keep you on the sidelines and out of life. Some people have been shy since early childhood and others are only shy in certain social situations. Whatever your personal issues with meeting or being around others these tips can help you get past that shyness and get into a fuller, richer life.

Some people have been shy since early childhood and others are only shy in certain social situations.

Whatever your personal issues with meeting or being around others these tips can help you get past that shyness and get into a fuller, richer life.

1. Positive self-talk – keep telling yourself you can.

Keep telling yourself that you can do this. Have a personal mantra or affirmation that helps you keep your fears at bay and maintains your focus on meeting others and making new friends. Repeat the self-affirmation silently to yourself. Concentration on your coping slogan takes your mind away from your fears.

Remember the children’s story about the train engine that kept saying it could. When you are repeating positive thoughts there is less room for self-doubt.

2. Slip into character.

Some performers, actors, musicians and even public speakers, are shy people in their personal life. But when they get on stage they think of themselves as filling that role. When you think of yourself as a “rock star” there is no room for shyness.

Create a person for yourself. Become the leader of the group, the den mother or some other role. When you realize that you are here to represent something it is easier to get into that role and be that outgoing extrovert. Pretend to be extroverted a few times and you will find yourself being transformed from shy to confident.

3. Take a friend along.

A friend is reassuring. You can introduce them and they introduce you. Having someone there as a cheerleader can give the confidence to tackle challenges you might otherwise find impossible.

Two people challenging their fears may be just the strength you have been needing to take that step towards being more outgoing.

4. Play to your strengths.

Engage in activities that make you feel comfortable. Do you like to garden? Join a garden society and you will have like-minded others to talk with. Like to read? Join a book club.

Make it a point to attend activities that you enjoy and feel good about engaging in.

5. Do your homework.

Going somewhere new? Try to learn something about the people you will be meeting and their interests. Attending a charity function? Look up the charity and see what they do and who the leaders of the group are.

Knowing a little about your host’s interest or the place you are going helps you feel more confident in conversation.

6. Ask lots of questions.

Feel embarrassed when talking about yourself? Ask the other people lots of questions about themselves. Most people are delighted to talk about themselves and if you give them the chance they will carry most of the conversation. Once the conversation ball starts to roll you can add value to the conversation as the chances present themselves.

7. Make technology your friend.

Stay connected in between face-to-face meetings by emailing or texting. With email, you get extra time to think about what you want to say and to proofread to get your message right.

Give yourself time to compose your reply. You are not required to engage in Ping-Pong emails.

8. Put your hand out and introduce yourself.

A simple Hi my name is — will go a long way towards breaking the ice. Be the first one to say hi and you will become the sought after friend of others.

There are 8 short ideas to help you overcome your shyness in positive ways without having to resort to drugs, alcohol or other negative behaviors. Which one of these suggestions will you try first?  Have you found other ways to overcome your shyness?

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books  

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