If you’ve been shy for a long time, then you’ve probably heard “all you need to do is smile and say hello" or “stop overthinking.” Unfortunately, this advice is often unhelpful and comes from people who haven’t been shy before.
Shyness is more than feeling nervous in certain situations that most people feel nervous about, such as the first day of a new job.
Shy people can be self-conscious and uncomfortable in many social situations. Shyness isn’t something that you can just overcome by smiling. Also, it doesn’t go away on its own. It's something you need to work on overcoming.
This article has ten tips on how to stop being shy, the benefits of overcoming shyness, and five tips on how to make friends when you’re shy.
10 Tips on How to Stop Being Shy
Are you shy and quiet? Have you found yourself wanting to fix it? You can learn how to stop being shy and quiet. Here’s how:
1. Start Small
If you want to work on overcoming shyness, you should start with small goals. Start with practicing social behaviors such as eye contact, confident body language, and small talk. Next, try social interactions with people you know or trust. Eventually, you can move to social interactions with acquaintances.
After you’ve accomplished small goals, you can move on to a bigger goal with every accomplishment. It's best to work your way through small goals instead of just jumping into a bigger goal. If you jump into a bigger goal, it can be overwhelming.
2. Explore Your Strengths
When you’re working on how to stop being shy, it helps to have a list of positive qualities to focus on. You can look at this list when you start feeling insecure or fail at a goal.
The list of your strengths can encourage you to continue to work on overcoming shyness. Plus, it can help if you don’t consider being shy a flaw. There are benefits to being shy; for example, shyness can help you observe a situation before jumping in.
3. Identify Goals
When identifying your goals think about what areas of your life your shyness is affecting. Also, think about what areas of your life would improve if you learned how to stop being shy. After thinking about these topics, use them to create simple goals that you can work on.
While working on these goals, remember to be kind to yourself. You’re learning this means that you'll make mistakes. When you make mistakes, identify them and try to improve next time. Don’t give up on your goals.
4. Spotlight Effect
According to healthline.com,
“The spotlight effect refers to people’s tendency to assume their mistakes and perceived personal flaws stand out clearly to others as if illuminated by a spotlight.”
This feeling can contribute to shyness or social anxiety. It’s easy to let the spotlight effect take over when working on overcoming shyness but work on not letting it.
5. Mindfully Participate
Some shy people get nervous when talking to people. Even if you try to discuss a topic that you're enthusiastic about, some shy people will still get nervous. To connect, you need to get to know each other. So instead of focusing on what to say or what they think about you, try actively listening.
According to CSUGloal.edu, active listening
“It involves more than listening to the words they say. Instead, you consciously analyze what you hear and try to pick up on the speaker's intent, content, and emotion. Active listening requires paying attention.”
By actively listening, you’ll be focused on the person you’re talking to instead of your fears or worries.
6. Be Genuine
While working on overcoming shyness, some people fake it until they make it, but the problem is that this can come off as not genuine. Let people know that you’re nervous and trying to make an effort to move past your shyness. People appreciate the truth, and their positive reactions can boost your confidence.
Remember not to tell white lies or other lies because you want to keep a conversation going. Lies can make a situation more difficult later on. For example, you tell a new friend that you love fishing. They could invite you to go fishing, but the problem is that you’ve never been and don’t know what to do.
7. Get Support
It can be helpful if you've got support when working on how to stop being shy. This means you've got someone you trust and feel comfortable around to help you. Not only can they help you with practice conversations, but they'll be a comforting presence in a new or difficult situation.
When you’re ready to work on a goal that you haven’t been able to complete because of shyness, rehearse what you want to say before. For example, if you've got trouble making phone calls write down what you want to say before you make the phone call.
If it doesn’t go the way you rehearsed, it’s okay; don’t give up on working on overcoming shyness. Instead, keep rehearsing; eventually, you’ll get less nervous about making a phone call or conversing with a new person.
9. Develop Assertiveness
Most people who are shy are concerned about other reactions. Whether you don’t want to cause trouble or worry that you’ll be laughed a, it helps to work on assertiveness. So, when you start working on how to stop being shy and quiet, try to work on being assertive.
Being assertive is where you stand up for yourself in difficult situations. It can also mean asking for what you want or need and telling people when they've crossed your boundaries.
10. Reframe Your Thinking
It can be hard to break the bad habit of negative thoughts. But you must reframe your negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones.
Negative thoughts will keep you feeling shy and self-conscious. Then it becomes harder to learn how to stop being shy and quiet.
Work on turning your negative thoughts into positive ones. When you try to focus on the positive, it can give you another way to look at the situation.
3 Benefits to Overcoming Shyness
If you’re shy, you may wonder what the benefits of overcoming shyness are? Here are three benefits:
1. Being More Successful
If you’re shy, it’s possible to be successful. But if you work on overcoming shyness, you've got a higher chance of success. You’re more likely to speak up when opportunities arise when you aren't shy.
For example, if you speak up in a meeting, your boss will remember that, and you’ll have a better chance of getting a promotion.
2. Solve Problems Quickly
If you can learn how not to be shy, you'll grow your network of friends and acquaintances. This means that when you've got a problem or issue, you've got more people you can talk to for advice or get help from. This can come in handy when you've got a problem that needs to be solved quickly.
Also, the more extensive your network, the more likely someone you know will be an expert in the field you need help in. This could be beneficial when you need to solve a problem.
3. High Self Esteem
Some shy people have problems with self-esteem. So, when you learn to stop being shy, you can start feeling better about yourself. You gain confidence and self-esteem when you start to feel better about yourself. These traits can make it easier to find success in relationships, work, hobbies, etc.
5 Tips on How to Make Friends When You’re Shy
After learning how to not be shy, you may want to learn how to make more friends. Here’s how:
It’s cliché, but it’s for a reason smiling is the best way to make a positive impression on someone. Smiling is a way to show people that you’re friendly. People will be more likely to talk to you if you're smiling. When meeting people, try smiling and see if you improve at relationships with people.
2. Talk to People
It can be difficult if you’re shy, but practice and make perfect. This means that talking to people around you can give you opportunities to make friends.
Try talking to people that you see in your everyday routine. So, talk to the person in line next to at the grocery store or the person you see out while you’re walking your dog. You won’t make friends with everyone you meet, and that’s okay. Eventually, you’ll find someone you have a connection with, and you’ll be able to form a friendship.
3. Get Involved
In this day and age, it’s hard to meet people. So, the easiest way to do that is to get involved in local clubs, classes, network meetings, or professional organizations. It's easiest to get involved in something that interests you.
For example, if you like gardening, join a local gardening club. When you get involved in a club that revolves around something you’re interested in, it’s easier to come up with conversation topics. Also, making friends is easier because you already have something in common.
When you listen to people, they'll continue to talk. People appreciate it when you listen to them and remember what they say.
Listening is another way to form connections with people. While listening, you need to be careful of your body language. If you look bored, the person could get upset or feel hurt and stop talking.
5. Accept Invites
When you’re shy, you first want to decline invitations, especially if you don’t know the other person. But attending that event, you’re invited to is how you make friends and deepen relationships. Once you’ve formed friendships with people, you can turn down invitations every once in a while. People appreciate it when you show up for them and will remember it.
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Start Working on How to Not Be Shy Today!
If these tips aren’t working or you’re really struggling to complete them, consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if your shyness interferes with everyday activities or causes physical symptoms.
The benefits of overcoming shyness are great so try working through the tips in this article to overcome it.