Communication Skills

How To Overcome Your Shyness, The Ultimate Guide

People skills | Shyness



Shyness is a habit. We can try getting new habits. All it needs is practice.

- meeting each people, start by doing more 'hi's.



Part 1: Introduction to shyness


1. The best tip about overcoming your shyness is to stop the overthinking.


Stop the overthinking. There is nothing wrong with you, and most of them are busy with themselves (worries, excessive self-love) most of the time anyway.


In the Hagakure, it says, 'A bird does not know why it is flying or how it is flying, it simple flies.'


Don't think too much about some things in life. The more you think, the thicker trap you are building for yourself.


If fear is what is making you hold off, then just think over the reasons for your fear.


Talk to your friends about your fear. Test out the scenarios - the what ifs.


Write your fears down. Build issues trees - what is causing your fear? What is causing the causes themselves?


Whatever it is, just get to the root of your overthinking.


2. Know what makes you shy: Are you too self-conscious?

Do you take yourself too seriously, so it will hurt if they don't find your work good enough? Are you thinking 'what will they say/think? ' often? Why? Is there really some shortcoming in your work (or how you present yourself). Get to the root of why you feeling shy at a particular moment.


Behind this habit is fear, and fear often arises out of ignorance.


3. There is a difference between being shy and being introverted.

Being shy means you are uncomfortable interacting with people generally, particularly strangers, whether one-on-one or in a group.


Being introverted simply means you are more comfortable by yourself or with one other person.


4. Shy and Introverted people can practice being extroverted if the situation demand.

The most pressing problem for all of us shy people is public speaking. We can master the art of public speaking by practicing in front of our close friends’ circle or support group.


Start by making small talks by practicing it in front of a mirror. Use small, concise sentences.


5. Shy people often have low self-esteem.

Thus, they avoid dealing with people. But, we can build our self-esteem by believing that other people will get value out of dealing with you.


6. We are all fundamentally alone at the end of the day anyway.


Does that give you comfort?


7. Loud extroverts may not necessarily be successful.

See that unnecessarily loud person holding the court? He/she may be hiding his/her faults behind all that noise.


8. There is such a thing as 'temporary shyness'.

Sometime back, a study (reported in the Wall Street Journal) said that 'a majority of us' (95%) have experienced 'temporary shyness' from time to time. Experts call this 'Situational Shyness'.


What causes situational shyness?

According to an expert on shyness, situational shyness is caused by '…strangers, people in authority and people we find attractive...and talking to younger people'…and women?


You will be surprised that while men can become temporarily shy in presence of women, women will mostly feel shy in front of other women.


How do we deal with this temporary/situational shyness?


- Prepare & Practice: Practice talking to people in line at Starbucks. Think of what to say before you run into (a person who makes you feel shy) again.


- Be proactive: Force yourself to stand in the middle of the room, approach a boisterous group or introduce yourself to everyone in blue.


- Make statements, don't ask questions. It may seem a polite way to draw others out, but it makes them do the work.


- Don't beat yourself up if you're uncomfortable or if conversation doesn't flow. Chances are others are feeling shy, and will be too focused on themselves to notice any gaffe you think you've made.


9. Start with small steps: Go see the colleague face-to-face rather than sending an email. Say 'hi' next time you see a familiar face passing you by in the corridor or sitting across a table in the cafeteria. Go to the people in the street and ask for directions ( starting with security guy at tge gate of your office). Compliment a colleague on her performance. Do small stuff daily and soon it will be a habit.


10. Learn more about public speaking, presentations, and debates: Practice often. Take a class if you have to.



Part 2: The 15 Most Useful Social Skills Tips For Awkward/Shy People


1. The best social skills tip for shy/awkward people is to fake it, and smile. It will seem forced but know that a smile makes other people's day better.


2. The old 'One-Two -One' method: One: Disarm. Don't be an ass. Be weak. Be self-deprecating. Build Ethos. Two: Be brilliant. (Source: Techno Anthropoly Blog)


3. Accepting a compliment: Say thank you and quickly reflect onto something else. E.g. 'Thank you Sara, but I couldn't have done without...'. Or, you can joke about it.


4. Fake it idea #2: Make eye contact. Look at nothing but the person's eyes. The eyes.


5. When to say 'hi' when people approach: Some call it the 'hallway problem'. If you know the person then it is easy (just say 'hi' or throw an easy compliment about their dress/look) . If you don't wait for the other person to start, and then you mirror back.


6. Acquaintances before friends: When you start sharing time etc with the acquaintance, finding more common ground/rapport, you are slowly moving towards friendship territory. Acquaintances who understand you are the quiet type, and are okay with it, are good friends to have.


7. It is okay to be quiet: Just say something along the lines of 'I don't really have a lot to say, but I appreciate the company'.


8. Making others feel better by being sympathetic (listening) and compassion (helpful).


9. If you know nothing about a topic they are talking about, stay quiet: If they ask you to pitch in, say you really don't know anything about it, possibly in a self-deprecating way - 'I guess I am a luddite, huh?'


10. To show empathy when something sad/bad happens: Start with 'I am sorry to hear that', and then tell about a related experience you or someone you know had.


11. To show curiosity: 'This is an interesting...' and then it is a good idea to show that you know you know they are other ways to a solution (i.e. you cannot be the only right one). 'I always thought topic x...'.


12. Don't be an asshole: There is no fixed criteria for this, but always check yourself before any major social activity, asking yourself, 'will this make me look like an asshole?' Just try to be nice and polite as much as possible.


13. UPOD (Underpromise and Overdeliver), especially if it is the first time. The novelty may wear off afterwards.


14. Go out and talk to people: There must be a few people you really want to talk to/know more about.


Dale Carnegie advised,

- Remember their name and

- Let them do the talking.


15. Master some small talk: Start with the FORD technique (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams) when meeting a person for the first time. Please also see the 'small talk' section for more small talk tips and techniques.


Some people may also refuse, and you must be okay with rejection.


Thank you for reading.
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