Written by Joseph • July 15, 2015
If you’re shy, you know the discomfort such bashfulness can bring. When you must step out of the shadows and speak up, you may experience a racing heart, dry mouth, and butterflies in the stomach. What others seem to take for granted can become a miserable experience for you. All sorts of social situations can […]
If you’re shy, you know the discomfort such bashfulness can bring. When you must step out of the shadows and speak up, you may experience a racing heart, dry mouth, and butterflies in the stomach. What others seem to take for granted can become a miserable experience for you.
All sorts of social situations can trigger a bout of self-conscious shyness. Some people find themselves not speaking up for themselves at work. Others find it makes them anxious to introduce themselves to others at a bar or the gym. Or they avoid social situations all together, becoming isolated at home. And more people fear public speaking engagements than fear snakes or spiders.
All of us find ourselves a little shy at times, especially if we’re introverted by nature. But when the problem starts to really interfere with the enjoyment of day-to-day life, therapists talk about the problem as social anxiety. Well-meaning friends may tell us to get over it, buck up and “just do it” when faced with a situation that causes us embarrassment. Sometimes that works, but often it’s too simple an answer. If we’re not prepared, we may put ourselves in a situation where we’re overwhelmed with anxiety, only to find that all our self-doubts rise up like dragons and overwhelm us.
When you’re speaking, notice the pronouns you use. Self-conscious people often use the word “I” a lot, and that can stop or block conversation. Smiling and conveying interest in the other person (“So what did you think of…?”) keeps the conversation going and makes you seem less self-centered.
Offer an opinion if you want to deepen the conversation, or ask the other person for their opinion. Remember to really listen to the other person. Focusing helps to lessen the anxiety and the distraction of self-consciousness. It helps keep the conversation going and makes a good impression.
Do you enjoy the person’s company and feel that interest coming back at you? Great. Consider suggesting meeting some other time for coffee or lunch. Offer your phone number; if you get the other guy’s, use it. If he doesn’t offer his phone number, don’t despair. You’re doing what you need to do to meet the kind of people you want to meet. Evidently this just wasn’t the one. In training yourself to be more outgoing, you’re going to get what you want.
All this gets much easier with practice. Being successful in doing what you set out to do will make you more comfortable. You’ll find that socializing becomes easier and your shyness will no longer run your life.
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