Overcome shyness and your social life will improve greatly. For you to stop being shy, you need to learn what shyness is. You firsts need to know why do you feel shy, and then find the right ways for overcoming shyness altogether.
While some people think that they need to take medications for this, I highly believe that the best treatment for shyness is the natural approach. The natural way to deal with shyness is to make your mind produce fewer and fewer feelings of shyness. Through practice and time, you will slowly but surely be able to do this.
Whether you think you have extreme shyness, or you just find yourself occasionally being shy, there is a lot you can do to gain self-confidence. In our case here, it’s social self-confidence, to be more specific.
Understand What Shyness Is, So You Can Overcome It
Shyness is the fear of social disapproval, rejection, and humiliation. It’s a process of feeling anxiety and inhibition in challenging social situations.
The good news is that it’s a feeling, and feelings are factors you can actually deal with. The bad news is that feelings can go overboard and become a habit, and habits are tricky to stop.
If you consider yourself as a shy person, then you probably experience it more in situations like these:
- Talking with the opposite sex
- Being around with strangers
- Interacting people in positions of power or authority
- When you need to stand up for yourself
- When you’re being evaluated (like job interviews or first dates)
Again, shyness and social anxiety are feelings of fear that comes over and over under different circumstances. The good thing for you is, many of my readers have dealt with it. If they’re able to do it, so can you.
Why Do We Feel Shy?
When you find something wrong with yourself, remember that it may benefit you in other contexts.
If you dislike your laziness side, for example, you’d think it’s totally negative. But in some contexts, laziness is good. It helps you manage your energy and not overwork yourself. It helps us choose to do only the most important things.
That’s how humans are; some parts of ourselves are beneficial in some contexts, while not so much in others.
And shyness is no exception.
Shyness helps you:
- Increase your chances of survival: You are warier of strangers that haven’t earned your trust yet and are cautious when it comes to new and unpredictable situations.
- Meet good social standards: That feeling of anticipation and preparedness you get before you go socialize actually helps you. It motivates you to bring your best self to the table. It motivates you to be prepared and maybe even rehearse a little for the social occasion.
- Facilitate group living: Shyness makes us inhibit some of our most individual and selfish impulses that are not acceptable by the group. As we evolved, shyness got us to think twice before doing things that the group would disapprove of.
Now, these three reasons why we have shyness might seem unjustified in this day and age. A lot of people have removed these traits in their evolutionary line. People who are more outgoing or less reserved are often regarded as appealing in terms of social interactions.
Be that as it may, having these shyness traits are still relevant. Even if we live in a society that often praises the loudest mouth in the room:
- You still need to be wary of strangers that haven’t earned your trust,
- You still need to prepare for important social occasions,
- And you still need to double-check with yourself before doing or saying something that would revolt your peers against you.
Shyness is a useful and natural feeling which facilitates group living and harmony. It is only a problem when it goes too far.
Shyness helps “regulate” your social life. This is why to overcome shyness you need to understand that it’s part of human nature; it’s not an illness. Shyness is something you need to go over, not completely remove from your system.
Is Your Supposedly Useful Shyness Going Too Far?
The problem arises when shyness blocks you from meeting people, talking to them, and building a social life. Shyness is only there to slightly regulate your social life; not kill it.
Shyness becomes a block if it happens too often, too intensely, and in too many situations. If you very often feel physical tension, worry, and inhibition, then that’s an obstacle you need to overcome.
We can also say that you have an issue and need to overcome shyness if you constantly think you’re being judged. You’ll need to overcome shyness if you often assume that people didn’t like interacting with you. If you blame all social conflicts on yourself and you only remember the negative details of social interactions, then your shyness trait is a block instead of a useful trait.
Yes, it’s human nature to be shy. It’s a defensive mechanism, even. But our goal here is to only let our shyness “regulate” our social life and not prohibit it. In turn, we also need to “regulate” our level of shyness in order to socialize properly.
So What If You Are Shy?
So what if you’re shy? Almost anyone you meet has been shy at some point in their lives. 90% of people in every culture feel shy in many situations. The absolute inability to feel shy is seen as antisocial, it’s often associated with being psychopathic and sociopathic.
It’s just natural to be/feel shy.
Again, the good news is that it’s a feeling. If you feel it more often than necessary, then you can deal with it. You don’t have to feel ashamed about shyness; even Larry King admitted that he was shy at one point. A lot of the most sociable people you know today have gone through moments of shyness in the past.
If you’re going to improve your social life, and you want to feel shy less often, then do it for the right reason: do it to make your life better, to have more/better friendships, and to be happier.
Don’t do it because you think it’s an “inferior quality”. It’s just a habit you need to around play with. You need to be able to control your shyness instead of having it control you.
The first step is to accept it and notice if you’re going overboard with it. Treat it as a stubborn pet that you’ll need to deal with. You train it to behave properly. If you see it as a monster, you’ll only be afraid of it and you’ll never get over it.
How To Stop Being Shy
The good news about shyness is that you can start making friends right away without needing to completely stop being shy.
In order to be successful at overcoming shyness, you need to change the way you look at the situation. It all starts with how you describe it to yourself.
You need to stop thinking that…
- You need to remove shyness altogether because it’s a negative trait
- Stopping yourself from being shy automatically leads to making friends
- You need to toughen up to be respected by others
And start thinking that…
- You need to learn social self-confidence.
Whenever you want to solve a problem, convert it into a positive and helpful outcome. In order to stop being shy, focus on reaching social self-confidence, instead of trying to fight shyness.
The opposite of shyness is social self-confidence; it’s not being tough, and it’s not about being extroverted nor arrogant.
Overcome Shyness By Focusing On Social Self-Confidence
Now that we have our minds in the right place, it’s easier to handle your shyness trait. It’s no longer a “problem” you need to fix, but rather a part of you that can be controlled. You can now see overcoming shyness as a skill to learn, like biking, playing music, or taking better pictures.
Having social self-confidence is knowing that you can deal with social situations appropriately.
It’s about knowing that you’ll be “okay” when you interact with people.
And that confidence can’t come only from internal work. Confidence requires competence.
You need to set your mind right, prepare yourself to deal with those feelings; but you also need the necessary social skills to deal with any social challenge. And if you learn how to make friends and improve your social skills, you’re can get competent enough to socialize despite having had any shyness in the past.
If you “wait” until you completely stop being shy to start making friends, you may wait a long time.
Social self-confidence = learning to get comfortable around people + competence in friendship and social skills
10 Ways To Overcome Shyness
As I said, most of your social confidence comes from your social competence. No matter how much you psych yourself into doing things, if you have no clue how to make friends, then you’re just going to end up with more failure and discouragement.
I recommend you do both; learn the social skills you need, and train yourself to be comfortable around others.
Here are 10 ways to overcome shyness:
1. Stop being shy by exposing yourself to social situations more
You may have heard of it; this is all about expanding your comfort zone more and more. You take a few situations where you feel anxious and expose yourself to it enough until the anxiety is gone.
Each time you get to these situations, stay present and acknowledge your feelings of anxiety. Don’t judge them or force yourself to stop the feeling. Just let the feeling sit. Observe those feelings as if you were to study them. Keep noticing those feelings, and slightly smile while you’re doing it. Continue observing that anxiety with a curious spirit. Eventually, that feeling of anxiety will still be there, but it will never be able to hinder you from socializing anymore.
It’s like when you were a kid and you experienced putting your hand in hot water – at first, it feels unbearable, but you learned that if you kept your hand a little longer, eventually your hand adapts and you get comfortable.
It’s the same here, when you expose yourself to an intimidating situation, don’t phase off. Stay a little and notice how your body starts to learn that you’re going to be okay.
2. Relive memories of social anxiety to make you immune to the feeling
This technique is about remembering five or more memories where shyness has made you miss out on social situations. You play those memories in your mind one after the other (and see yourself in there). Repeat it a few times and look at yourself being silly and scared for no reason, until you get sick of it.
Relive moments where you’ve had surges of social anxiety as many times as you can, to the point that you’re acknowledging the damage that it’s doing to your social life. Relive those moments until you get the feeling that you’ve “had enough!” Notice how this charges you up to do something about it.
Commit to doing whatever it takes to overcome shyness once and for all. This is one of the many things you can do and it’s a very effective method. When you do this, you place a negative association towards social anxiety, therefore you are more inclined to practice social confidence the next time you actually socialize.
3. Disassociate feelings of shyness from real social situations
Here’s a very neat trick to disassociate shyness from real-life social situations. This is something you practice at home whenever you can.
Focus on the specific type of situation that usually makes you anxious. Remember those situations, but imagine yourself sitting in front of the TV, watching yourself having that experience.
So, you’re imagining yourself, or watching yourself having those experiences in your head.
At the end of it, imagine yourself merging with the version of yourself that is having the experience. Then, experience that same event, but backwards. Imagine everything is happening backwards (everyone is moving backwards, and talking backwards).
Repeat it a couple of times and see how that changes your feelings about the whole thing. The aim here is to “shortcut” your unconscious network, specifically the overly anxious emotional reactions to normal social situations.
This is a bizarre practice but it works when it comes to overcoming shyness.
4. Stop shyness by “laughing it off”
This technique is all about remembering a time when you couldn’t stop yourself from laughing. As you start giggling and laughing, think of the situations that used to scare you. As you laugh, notice how that changes how you respond to these memories.
By mixing laughter with a previously “scary” situation, you confuse the fear out of it, and you start feeling just fine about it. You are also subconsciously associating the “fear” with “absurdity”. Next time, instead of being afraid of social interactions, you’ll be made aware of how absurd the feeling of fear is in situations like that.
You’ll be able to press on and socialize properly without the feeling of fear and shyness. You’ll even be excited to socialize now that you’ve realized how absurd it is that you feel anxiety in social situations.
5. Be mindful of your body language, at first.
Your body language should speak volumes about you. If your body language and movements indicate weakness, people will think you too are a weak-willed person. They’ll believe that you’re uncomfortable with where you currently are.
Your body language will also affect your brain’s chemistry. If you don’t carry yourself strongly, your mind will take that as a sign of struggle. You need to convince not just others, but also yourself that you are in fact socially confident. Controlling your body language is a very good way of doing that.
Start by practicing in front of a mirror. Stand like how you normally would no matter where you are. If it appears like you’re slouching, work on that. Stand upright. If your hands feel weird, place them in your pockets. Don’t cross your arms. That means your guard is up.
You have to be both stern and relaxed at the same time, or at least, that’s how your body language should speak. Practice it until it becomes second nature.
6. Work on your conversational skills
Another thing you can work on to improve your social confidence and overcome shyness is your conversational skills. If you’re able to carry conversations properly, you’ll never have the time to feel social anxiety.
You don’t necessarily need to keep a list of conversation topics that you can talk about with people. You just need to know when to speak and when to listen. In the first place, never be afraid to spark up conversations. Don’t be afraid to open it up and avoid feeling anxious whenever someone comes up to you to make conversation.
Allow every possible conversation to happen.
You also have to be a good listener for this to really work. You have to pick up on verbal cues. Make the conversation longer and more interesting by asking them more about the interesting things they mention.
For example, if they something like “I like this place, it reminds of a place I used to visit as a child”. You can further that conversation by saying something like “Oh so where did you grow up?”
You can always make conversations just by being a good listener and asking the right questions.
7. Imagine being the center of attention
Get this, imagine being the center of attention. Imagine standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people. Those people are expecting you to speak, so you do. Imagine talking to that many people and have all of them pay attention to you. How does it make you feel?
Does it make you feel nervous? Good. Keep at it. Make this a routine practice. Keep imagining a scenario where you’re the center of attention. If every time you imagine it, you still feel anxious, then you’re not done with this task. Keep doing it until the feeling of anxiety disappears.
I know it’s different when the scenario is simply imagined and when it happens in real life, but you don’t really plan on going up on stage and speak in front of hundreds, do you? What this only does is it conditions your mind to get used to the idea of being the center of attention.
8. Do extracurricular activities you’re afraid of
You can condition yourself to be less socially anxious by literally doing things you’re afraid of doing in the first place.
For example, if you’re afraid of the ocean, learn how to swim. If you’re afraid of heights, join mountain climbing groups. This may sound extreme, but by conquering your fears, you’re actively strengthening your mind and body. Socializing in public will be a walk in the park compared to what you’ll experience once you do things you were once afraid of.
Just make sure you don’t do anything too drastic at this point. Make sure the things you do are still within your range and capabilities, but still significant enough that it requires mental exercise. Once that’s all said and done, your self-esteem will grow, your confidence will flourish, and you’ll overcome shyness smoother and faster.
9. Find out what your strengths are and work on them
What you can do here is make a list of things you’re actually good at that can benefit your social life.
For example, let’s say you’re good at listening to other people. Or you’re good at making people laugh. You can use those character traits as tools as you boost your social confidence.
Know what your strengths are and utilize them the next time you’re in a social setting. If you know what exactly it is you’re going to do and how to use them, you will be less shy and anxious around many people.
If you’re funny, crack a few jokes when interacting with people. Their laughs will make you more confident socially. If you’re good at giving advice, other people’s relief and gratitude will make socializing even more comfortable.
Worry less about your weaknesses and focus more on your strengths. If you can use your strengths properly as you socialize with other people, you’ll later realize that you don’t feel shy as much as you did before.
10. Don’t compare yourself to people who are never shy
Everyone works and moves at their own pace. If you notice people around you who are more confident in public, don’t let it bother you one bit. They have their own baggage to carry and you have yours. Never compare yourself to others.
The worst thing that can come out of it is you’ll feel too bad about yourself. Maybe you’ll end up saying things like “I’m never going to be like them” or “What’s the point of trying to be better”. That’s going to ruin your confidence overall.
You never know what other people go through on a regular basis. Like I mentioned earlier, even the most confident or socially skilled people were once shy at some point in their lives. Maybe they too had to worry about how to overcome shyness like you are now and look how confident they are today.
Instead of comparing yourself to others in a bad way, use the people who are better than you as sources of inspiration and motivation. Keep telling yourself, “if they can do it, so can I”. And you can. You need to know that you can.
Overcome Shyness At A Party
Now that you’ve settled your mind on how you see your shyness trait and how you should overcome it, now you need to practice it in a more social setting.
To say and to study overcoming shyness is one thing, but actually doing it on practice at a social event is another. If you can overcome shyness at any party you’ll need to attend, then you’ll know you’ve succeeded in your goal of reaching social confidence.
To start you off, couple these following tips on everything you’ve read thus far. I will list below 10 tips on how to overcome shyness at a party.
1. Know why you’re there in the first place
Once you’re at a party, you have to realize why you took your time to attend in the first place. Were you invited by a friend? Did you go there at your own discretion? Is it a place where people like-minded with you usually hang out?
Know why you’re at a place or at a party and know if your social confidence needs to be utilized there. If you know what you’re doing and what you have to do prior to going in, you won’t be taken by surprise. If you’re there to socialize and you’re mentally prepared for that, your anxiety will have a less chance of overtaking your emotions.
2. Don’t think inwards. Instead, focus on everyone around you
You may get self-doubting thoughts in your mind while at a party because your social anxiety will dictate it. You may think things like “Do I even need to be here?”, “Will these people like me?”, “What if they don’t like me already?”.
Thoughts like that will harm your social confidence. So instead of thinking inwards, forget about that for a minute and just focus on everything and everyone around you.
Take a look at the place itself. Does it have nice architecture? Is the music that’s playing in the background perfect for the mood? How is everybody else dressed? Are there people there you can be friends with?
Once you’re engaged in a conversation with someone, focus on them. Listen to their words properly and drown out your own self-doubting thoughts. That way you’re able to ask the questions if a question is needed and interact with them properly. You’ll get to know the people you talk to better.
3. Practice having a clear, resounding voice
Whenever you do talk with others, whether it’s with one person or in front of a group, you need to make sure your voice is clear. You need to make sure that when people listen to you talk, you’re already catching their attention even before you say anything interesting.
You don’t need to have a deep, baritone or alto voice in order for you to sound “resounding”. Study talk show hosts for this one. Listen to hosts like Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, and Graham Norton. They don’t necessarily have deep voices, but they are able to captivate viewers and listeners whenever they talk.
This is because they seem and look confident when they’re speaking. They ENJOY speaking in front of others. This is the kind of mindset you need to put your mind into. If you actually enjoy the idea of speaking to others, you’ll sound confident and your voice will be resounding.
4. Socialize one at a time, and then all at once
Whenever you’re at a party, make sure you don’t overexert yourself early on. Take it easy at first. Socialize with one person at a time.
Make sure you focus on everyone you talk to. Get to know them. Build a connection with them. Whenever you find people you can really relate to on a personal level, make sure you open the possibility of future interactions. You can even ask for their contact information.
At times, you’ll get the chance to talk in front of many people. Don’t be afraid of this possibility. In fact, get excited of it. This is your chance for others to see you as a socially confident person and as a potential friend.
Another thing you should keep in mind when it comes to this is to not be afraid of making a mistake. You just need to keep going and socialize. If you do end up doing or saying something silly or awkward, just laugh it off, brush it off, and move forward. Others will see it as a minor thing and will not really make them see you any differently, as long as you move past it right away.
5. Dress well and groom yourself
Make sure you’re dressed just right for the occasion you’re participating. This means you shouldn’t underdress, nor should you overdress. If the event is a formal setting, don’t wear a plain shirt and a pair of tattered jeans or shorts. Conversely, if the event is a casual gathering, don’t wear a suit and tie or a long dress.
You also need to make sure that what you’re wearing doesn’t only speak volumes about fashion but it should also make you feel comfortable. You’ll be talking to many people for a few hours. Make sure what you’re wearing will not hinder your level of comfort.
You should also take your grooming habits into account if you’re to regularly go out to socialize from now on. Take the time to look after your hair, nails, so on and so forth. If you look good, you feel good, so not only will you look appealing but you’ll also boost your level of social confidence.
6. Know a few jokes
You don’t have to be the funniest person in the room in order to overcome your shyness, you just have to be able to crack a few jokes every once in a while.
You can use your personal experiences for this one. If there’s anything that comes to mind that can come off as funny, share it. Share a funny experience or an embarrassing memory. This will make people laugh and it will also make you appear as confident because you’re not ashamed of sharing an embarrassing story.
You can also take a lot at stand up comedians if you really want to get deep into the craft. Not only because they have funny jokes to tell, but also because you can learn how to structure a story from them.
7. Have moments of isolation to give yourself a break
Once you step into the venue of the party, you don’t necessarily have to dedicate 100% of your time there just socializing with other people. You can very much give yourself a break every once in a while.
Take a seat, have a drink, just observe everybody else without having to talk to others. Give yourself moments like these in every social setting. Consider these as moments of recharge before you step in front of others to socialize again.
This is very important for you as someone who’s working on overcoming your shyness. In time, you’ll feel the urge to rest less. But for now, whenever you feel the need to give yourself a moment of isolation, listen to your body. Just make sure it doesn’t overshadow the rest of your night.
8. Find people you can relate with
This is something you can practice at first, as you’re working on overcoming your shyness, but will eventually grow out of later. For now, you can focus on socializing with people you can really relate to.
Whenever you’re looking for places to socialize in and meet people, you can go ahead and actively search for places where people who share your interests hang out.
For example, if you like dabbling in the world of art in your free time, maybe there’s an upcoming exhibit you can visit where you can meet other art enthusiasts. If you’re a fan of sports, maybe you can visit sporting games or forums. Go to places and parties where you know you’ll meet people who share your interests.
As mentioned, this is something you can do fairly early on, but you’re going to have to also interact with people who seem like total opposites to you later on. This is just a way for you to socialize a little easier and give you a higher chance of succeeding. Doing so will boost your social confidence greatly.
9. Don’t think about it, and just jump right into it
Don’t allow yourself to have second thoughts when it comes to going to parties. As the motto of a famous sports clothing line says, “Just do it”.
Don’t give yourself time to think about not going at all. Just clear your mind of any doubts. Trust me. You’ll regret not going more than you’ll regret actually going. It’s always better if you give yourself the chance to socialize in the first place rather than not allow yourself the opportunity at all.
10. Be genuine about wanting to make friends
Most importantly, you have to want all of this. You need to make sure your end goal is genuine. Otherwise, you’ll end up disliking yourself for doing something you never wanted to do in the first place.
You need to know why you need to overcome shyness. You need to overcome shyness because it will do your social life wonders. After that, you then need to know the importance of socializing and building friendships, and they’re important because it will help your mental health and will make your life so much smoother.
Know all of this and genuinely want your end goal. Similar to any other journey, if you really want to reach the summit, you’ll be more than willing to go through the climb.
Overcome Shyness Faster, And Improve Your Social Skills
If you work on overcoming shyness and you stop being shy all the time, you’ll feel a great relief. But, if you don’t learn the social skills you need, you’ll quickly start to feel inadequate in social situations again. Overcoming shyness will all be for nothing if you don’t pair it up with improving your overall social skills.
What I suggest is that you take action and learn the right social skills so your transformation can be smooth and effective.
Once you have the social skills you need, you can not only stop being shy, but also hold great conversations, talk to new people, talk to groups with confidence, find the right friends, build new friendships, and get the social life you want.
To get to that situation ASAP, I recommend that you check out my methodology. I organized all the lessons I learned through the years to help myself be less shy and more social. And now it’s your turn to learn to benefit from it as well.
Best of luck,
– Paul Sanders