How to Stop Being Shy, quiet and insecure is possible; it is not a personality trait incorrigible and permanent forever. With certain habits and some effort you can be less shy and learn to talk to women, men, in public or anyone.
We live in a society in which there seems to be no room for shy or introverted people, since they value qualities such as openness to others, ability to take risks and sociability.
How to stop being shy
Some authors, such as Zimbardo and Rail (1985), define shyness as “a defense mechanism that allows the person to evaluate novel situations through an attitude of caution, in order to respond adequately to the demands of the situation “.
The concept of shyness also includes other dimensions, such as fear or fear, low self-esteem, problems of insecurity, difficulties to socialize, suspicion, muscle tension and physiological activation.
In relation to the etiology of shyness, there have traditionally existed two different positions:
On the one hand, there are authors who emphasize learning as a causal factor of shyness, so that experiences of childhood, living in a place that did not facilitate socialization or negative experiences during interaction with others, would lead to shyness in the future.
However, other authors (Horn, Pluming and Rosen man) found, through studies with twins, that shyness is one of the most inheritable traits of personality, so that people are born with a certain genetic vulnerability to manifest a behavior withdrawn.
In any case, what has become clear is that one of the most relevant causes for a person to become shy is the lack of personal experiences. Therefore, it is necessary to have vital experiences to overcome shyness.
It seems that social isolation during childhood severely affects the normal development of emotional expression in children (Gray, 1993).
The richness of social experiences contributes to people not developing behaviors of shyness. This fact is evidenced in an experiment carried out by Buss (1986), in which it found that the children of the personnel of the American army were less timid than the general population.
The author concludes that, possibly, the frequent changes had facilitated the children to develop better in their social relations.
To sum up, we can conceptualize shyness as a trait that appears early in the lives of all children and that, despite having a genetic vulnerability, also depends largely on learning and the relationship established with others.
10 Tips to stop being shy
1-Begin to expose yourself to social situations that make you feels uncomfortable
Surely, until now, you have been fleeing social situations that caused you discomfort, made you blush, sweating or stuttering.
In this way, escaping from unpleasant social situations, you have learned that you prefer solitude and isolation to the difficult task of relating to others.
If you continue with this dynamic, you will never be able to overcome your shyness and improve in other aspects of your life – such as work, academic, etc. -, so you must cut this vicious circle as soon as possible.
What you should do is start attending parties, birthdays and dinners with work colleagues, family or friends, although at first you do not interact with many people.
The important thing is that you learn to deal with the discomfort that you face facing the presence of others and that, little by little; you take the initiative to interact with them effectively.
Once you are accustomed to attending these types of events, you will feel more confident and confident to take the following steps.
2-Take care of your non-verbal language
Your non-verbal language can reveal whether you are comfortable or uncomfortable, if you are nervous or relaxed.
If you do not want to feel like a shy, nervous or anxious person, you could start by changing some aspects of your non-verbal language:
- Keep your eyes on the other person (s)
Avoiding looking at another person when talking to them is another indicator of shyness and insecurity.
By looking at others in the face, you expose yourself to receive feedback of what you are thinking about yourself – since the other person may show confusion, disapproval, etc. -.
As in the previous case, in which you were recommended to face social events, in this case you also have to make a direct progressive exposure.
If you find it very difficult at first – or you miss the thread of the conversation – you can gradually increase the time during which you are maintaining eye contact.
The goal is that it is a fluent and natural conversation, not that you stay 100% of the time without looking away from the eyes of your interlocutor.
In fact, it is advisable to keep the eye contact 60-70% of the time that is interacting.
This should also be taken into account in other situations where displaying proper non-verbal language can be a great help – as in a job interview.
- Do not hide your hands in pockets
If you avoid showing your hands – for fear that they tremble or sweat -, others may perceive that you are not too comfortable in that situation.
This is an aspect that is much taken care of in the politicians when they have to give a speech, since, unconsciously, they can transmit us the sensation of insecurity if they have a strange behavior with their hands.
It is advisable to make smooth and natural movements when speaking, without over-gesturing but without hiding your hands.
- Shows a normal tone of voice
If you are a shy person, you may have noticed that the tone of your voice tends to be low, so that sometimes others cannot hear what you say.
Although it may be difficult at first, raising your voice tone will help you show greater security and self-confidence to others.
3-Speak for more than a minute followed
At first, when you begin to have your first social contacts more often, you will find it difficult to talk long and hard – for fear of boring others, not knowing how to link one topic with another, etc. -.
Thus, in having these fears, I am sure to give monosyllabic answers – of the “yes”, “no”, “I do not know” type, among others.
For your conversations to be satisfying and fluent, try to give broad answers that relate to the topic you are talking about.
For example, if you are asked where you live, instead of saying “in Madrid”, you can say: “I am living in Madrid, but I am from Scoria. I came here because I found work last year. “
As you can see, you can give broader answers and reveal more details of your personal life.
When it’s easy for you to talk for more than a minute, try increasing the time or the number of times you interact with others-talk more often and for longer.
4-Make sincere compliments
Try to lose the shame to compliment other people – as long as they are honest – in relation to their skills, clothing, etc.
For example, if you go to a party in which the host has prepared a delicious dish, make a compliment about his skill in the kitchen, shows interest in knowing the recipe, etc.
One way to continue the conversation would be to talk about other recipes that you know or would like to learn.
Surely if you start a conversation in this way, you will not have much difficulty to continue speaking naturally and spontaneously, even on other topics of conversation.
5-Learn to receive compliments
Just as it is important for you to learn to do compliments to others, you need to learn to receive them.
Therefore, instead of showing excessive modesty, show yourself grateful and flattered.
Following the example above, if a person tells you that you have a good hand in the kitchen, you could explain who gave you the recipe, when you learned it or how much time you invested in cooking it.
Accepting the compliments of other people will show you as a less shy person, more confident and with confidence in yourself.
6-Make use of positive self-instructions
It is very important that you begin to change the internal language that you maintain with yourself.
Surely, until now you’ve always said phrases like “everyone will realize how embarrassing I am” or “I’ll make a fool of myself talking in public.”
As you can imagine, this type of thinking, far from helping you achieve your purpose, prevents you from developing proper social behavior.
To avoid these catastrophic thoughts, you can begin to modify them by self-instruction of courage and effectiveness, which consist of:
- Before you begin to interact, think about what you can achieve, and that nothing will happen if you blush.
- During social interaction, you should tell yourself how well you are acting, so that you gain greater self-confidence.
- Finally, at the end of the interaction, stick with the more positive aspects, so that you are aware that you can talk to others effectively. As for the negative aspects, you must take them into account to improve them in successive interactions.
7-Sign up for a sport or group activity
Having good experiences with others, interacting in a discerning environment, will help you change your vision of social relationships.
Try to find an activity that suits your interests and abilities, instead of choosing a competitive sport that does not appeal to you.
Surely meeting people who share your hobbies and interests, you will find it much easier to relate to them.
This is also a good opportunity to interact with other people in your free time, with the added advantage that they did not know you previously and you can “start from scratch” in your relationship with them – without them seeing you as the shy or withdrawn group-.
8-Do not think that your life is not interesting
Many people who show a shy or withdrawn attitude act as if it is more interesting to listen to the lives of others than to talk about their own.
If this is your case, try to appreciate how interesting your life and your personal experiences can be.
Avoid the phrases like “my job is very monotonous” or “my life is very boring” and think of everything that can arouse interest in others, talking about the anecdotes of your last trip, the book you are reading, a movie which was fun, and so on.
Surely if you stop to think about it, you have many topics of conversation that may interest others.
9-Focus on the outside, not in your interior
For the conversation to be smooth, you must focus your attention on the topic of conversation, what the other person says and what you want to convey.
Focusing on yourself, what others may be thinking about you, that you are shaking or your hands are sweating, will make the conversation an uncomfortable time for both of you – for yourself and for the listener.
Another aspect to keep in mind is to focus on the here and now. Do not let your mind be in another place, but in front of the person who speaks to you and concentrates on the conversation you are having.
So try to be as natural and spontaneous as possible, so that you get to enjoy while interacting.
10-Learn to value your achievements
Shyness is a personality trait, a way of being and relating to the world that you have been learning since your first social interactions.
It is a fairly stable dimension, so it will not be easy for you to stop being shy overnight.
For example, if you have not set foot on a busy party for years, you should reward yourself after attending one.
The important thing is that you apply these tips little by little, so that you avoid overwhelming yourself and developing a greater fear of interpersonal relationships.
In addition, valuing your effort and your progress will help you to keep moving forward, so that you reach your final goal.