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Self-Help: Overcoming Shyness

When you go to a party, do you find yourself sitting in the corner, watching everyone else? When you meet new people, are you scared to open your mouth because you have nothing to say, or are you worried people may laugh about what you do say or think you're stupid? Being shy has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself. If you are self-conscious in any way, you'll cower and shrink.

Shyness, although part of your genetic makeup, may feel debilitating, but here are some techniques you can use to come out of your shell.

  • Since shyness has a lot to do with self-confidence, work on ways you can feel good about yourself. Exercise, eat healthy, get a fabulous haircut, go shopping for a new outfit - do things that help you believe that you are an amazing and worthwhile person. If you believe it, you'll be able to exude that feeling to others.
  • Be prepared. If you know of a certain social situation that's coming up, pick out your outfit, decide how you are going to do your hair, get directions, make sure your car has enough gas, and so on. Then try and make a list of topics you can talk about. You can even practice what you're going to say out loud. Once all these details are ironed out, you'll feel more confident.
  • Try relaxation techniques. Before attending an event or party, take a few moments to sit quietly with yourself. Try to envision a strong and confident you strutting into the place, feeling happy, energetic, and proud, and having wonderful conversations. Imagining yourself having a positive experience will bring you one step closer to achieving it.

Want to hear about what else may help? Then

  • Expand your comfort zone. You can do this by trying out new restaurants, signing up for a class, going to a gym, or volunteering. The more people you meet, the more personalities you'll be confronted with, and the more practice you'll have interacting. The more familiar you feel in different social situations, the easier it will be in the future.
  • When people talk to you, be attentive and engage in what they are saying. Ask a lot of questions about them and concentrate on their answers. If you ask all the questions, then you won't have to feel flustered about answering their questions.
  • Let your close friends know about your shyness. When other people know, they can offer emotional support, which will help to ease your nerves. Maybe you can brainstorm techniques together to help overcome these feelings. Also, if your friends are at the next social even you go to, they can help introduce you to new people, so you feel less like an outsider.
  • Use Talk Therapy. Seeing a therapist, and talking about your issues may help to get to the root of your shyness. They could determine that your timid feelings are caused by an emotional condition such as Anxiety or Depression.

I hope these tips help and if any of you suffer from shyness, please share some techniques that have helped you in the past.


Join The Conversation
melda melda 9 years
i am shy but when i am with my mom i am not lol
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
I'm shy too and I think to a certain extent I always will be. (My parents are antisocial and I grew up in the country.) But it definitely helps to get rid of that anxiety when you have a good self esteem. I loved going out so much more when I was fit and felt attractive. As much as I hate seeming that shallow, it helps me be more outgoing when I'm getting a more positive response to how I look. A lot of people think I'm rude too when the first meet me because I hold back until I get to know people.
scoop45 scoop45 9 years
I`m very shy!
ManicMauritian ManicMauritian 9 years
I'm shy but then it depends on the context too! When I was 12 a teacher once asked a classmate if I speak at all! Approaching people is daunting but what puts me off even more is doing small talk !!!! I just feel gauche when I have to! And I hate speaking in groups ... I do better one on one when having a meaningful convo, then you can't stop me blabbering! Oh I've been working on my self confidence for ages now and not so long ago I downloaded this erm hypnosis MP3 about improving self-confidence. I don't know if it really worked or if it's sort of placebo effect but I do seem to feel a lot less self-conscious now and take more "risks" socially ...(still a long way to go though)
dior_show dior_show 9 years
I am the same as pop. I just can't approach people at all, but if someone approaches me I have no problem at all!
indielove indielove 9 years
good tips. i need to keep some of these in mind. i have a hard time initiating conversations and sometimes, keeping them going. i'm working on keeping more eye contact. that's always a good thing. and yeah, asking questions is better than having to answer them. sometimes some people get way too personal too soon and it's like 'uhhhh, i don't want to talk about this at the moment'.
artfashionmusic7 artfashionmusic7 9 years
yea im shy..iv been shy all my life..but iv gotten better, espically when im talkin 2 ppl..i still have a problem of approaching ppl and 2 start a convo..i just prefer ppl comin 2 me and yea. :P um also when i frst meet some1, im really shy and queit i dont say much but once i get used 2 them or get 2 kno them better..i open up and im less shy. :D and if i dont know some1 im quiet, but if i kno some1 reallly really well yea i can b me and im very talkative. :D i think the best way 2 get over shyness is to just practice talking 2 ppl..takin baby steps u kno...and mayb putting urself out acting classes? :P ii actually took an acting class b4..and omgod..that was like the hardest thing i had 2 do in my life..just goin up in fromt of ppl..well young teens tat wer my the time i was 16 so yea..i was freaking out...umm so yea frst its really hard...4 me i got really emotional idk y. :P um but later it gets a lot easier 2 go in front of ppl and to talk 2 ppl. :D it opens u up more. :D yea i dont kno wat else 2 say. :P
theboyslover theboyslover 9 years
yes, i def have a problem with this and i recognize it's a self-confidence issue!
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
For some background here, I wouldn't say a word out loud in school until 5th grade. Tons of people thought I was a rude brat because I was just to afraid to even say hi or answer a question. I just got tired of not talking, it was to stressful for me. I've noticed that most people are at least a little shy, there are very few people who are completely not shy one thing I've noticed that helps me is when the person I am talking to is super relaxed and not shy at all, it helps me relax and open up when they seem at ease. So what I do is I pretend to be one of those people, I walk up to someone and say "hey!" with a huge smile and then I randomly start talking about ANYTHING. If I quit talking, then I get stuck and freak out. I have to keep it going. Not stopping is what keeps me from thinking about being shy to much and freezing up. I don't care what I say AT ALL, as long as it is nothing offensive to other people. I might say its wonderful weather, or they have a lovely outfit, or I really like cake, or do they know so and so?, etc. etc. So when I act like I'm super relaxed and at ease, in my experience, it always makes the other person (who is at least a little shy since most people are) relax, and then they start talking more and bringing up more topics to talk about, because when they see that I "don't care" about so much about the impression I make, they relax and don't feel pressured to be perfect. So the experience turns into a good vicious circle because it helps me and makes the other person more open, which in turn helps me some more etc. I also always just think to myself "relax" and I take lots of deep breaths sometimes. What I usually tell myself, and what I truly believe, it that life is too short. What has helped me the most is realizing that why should I waste one second of my life being worried and nervous when I could be happy and enjoying life. You never know when you might die, so do you really want to spend the time you have worrying about everything? I decided that I don't. So now I don't. For me at least, it was that simple. I hope that helps people. :-)
apinkpony apinkpony 9 years
I'm with the rest of you. Once I am in a conversation, great fine wonderful no problem! But walking up to some stranger and saying hi? AHHH. I leave for college soon and I know there is going to be a lot, lot, lot of awkwardness at first. If anyone has figured out a way to deal with the awkward talking-to-random-people-at-a-party scenario, please let me know. :-D
lintacious lintacious 9 years
its not that i dont like talking to people, im just boring.
gooniette gooniette 9 years
i'm terrible at starting conversations, but i've learned that, when at parties, standing by the food or the drinks helps with conversation starters. you can always talk about the selection and then start talking about restaurants you like or recipes you've made. people love to talk about food. : ) or just ask someone's advice about something. most people have opinions out the wazoo.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I have anxiety, it's horrible. I'm getting better though because I'm forcing myself to try new things and not to quit the moment I feel jumpy.
jhuck jhuck 9 years
I'm shy, but I think some of it is because when I'm meeting people, I hate going through the standard questions. I'm confident in myself and the way I look, but I just find myself struggling to talk to people sometimes. It's not that I don't want to talk to them, but I'll stand there trying to think of something to say, and nothing will come to mind. Cue awkward silence!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
*don't know anyone
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
I'm with popgoestheworld. If I go to a party or something where I don't anyone, I HATE randomly going up to someone and starting a conversation. It feels so fake, plus, half the time, everybody else is in a conversation and I don't want to interrupt or be that weird person who just butts into everybody else's conversations. Ya know? Once I'm in a conversation, it's fine. But do you approach someone without it being awkward? "Hi, you don't know me and I don't know you and I hate parties anyway, but nice painting on the walls, right?"
rubialala rubialala 9 years
Working in a corporate environment has helped me get over my shyness. I have to greet people for meetings and introduce people to my boss(es) and there is no room for shyness in that type of professional setting. Having that confidence transferred into my personal life, too. At first it felt very pretend, but now I don't have a hard time with it at all.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I'm only shy about approaching people. Once I'm talking to someone I have no problems. I was at a wedding this past weekend where my boyfriend and I knew NO ONE but the bride! Before the wedding, when everyone was standing around, I couldn't make myself walk up and introduce myself to other people there. Who knows why, I just couldn't! It's not that I'm not confident or felt like my outfit wasn't good enough... I'm just shy. It's something I occasionally wish I could change but in the scheme of things I don't worry about it too much.
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