Ideas for Overcoming Shyness

Posted by Jan Lawrence

Shyness is a feeling of unease around people – especially with people we don’t know, or with those we feel insecure with.  It is very common, but it often stems from false beliefs about what others are thinking, (e.g. that they are making negative judgements about you) or negative beliefs about yourself (e.g. that you are not as good at communicating as others).

A negative result of shyness may be that others think you are uncaring or ignorant.  When the real problem is that you are so focussed on the difficulties of a situation that you are unable to pay sufficient attention to what people are actually trying to say!

Here are four suggestions for overcoming shyness:

  • People who are worth having as friends will judge you on the kind of person you really are, you are made up of lots of different characteristics.  So try to stop thinking about what others are thinking about you.
  • Think positively.  I know this is easier said than done, but how will you know if you don’t try?  Rather than expecting perfection from yourself be realistic about your own strengths and weaknesses.  Life would be boring if everyone had the same opinions, if someone has a different viewpoint from you, it doesn’t mean they have rejected you as a person.
  • Learn to be sociable (at your own pace!)  Force yourself to smile, to greet others and to carry on a conversation.  Remember, asking people questions about themselves usually results in them speaking for a while!
  • Set realistic and meaningful goals for yourself.   Make a list and try the easier ones first, as your confidence builds up build on your successes by doing the next one on your list.

Remember shyness affects most of us at some point in our lives, but if you are thinking negatively your predictions will automatically have a negative outcome. The reality may actually be easier than you think!