Shyness affects many people. It can affect our ability to go to a job interview, or speak up in class, and our general everyday interaction with people.
Everyone feels a bit shy at one time or another. It is normal to feel shy or nervous in new situations or in front of an audience. Most people overcome this by themselves and are able to function normally. However, there are many people who are unable to overcome their shyness. Severe shyness or “Personal Anxiety Disorder” sometimes requires medication and therapy.
The tips outlined in this article may provide some help for people with this disorder, but it is meant for showing people coping skills to deal specifically with shyness. Using the following tips may help you gain the confidence to approach people and actually strike up a conversation.
1. This may sound silly, but before you go out and approach a person, whether it is an acquaintance at work or a teacher, practice at home. Look in the mirror and say “Hello. How are you today?” If you practice enough, when you say it to the person, it will not just sound natural but also feel natural when said.
2. Practice good posture and work on your smile. It is natural to feel a bit shy, but with a good posture and smile, you become more approachable and the person you intend to speak with may make the first move.
3. If you have a job interview, find someone you know to practice with. Sometimes community groups or employment programs offer sessions where you can do this. If you practice the various possible interview scenarios, you will be better prepared for the questions asked by the potential employer. You will be able to answer with confidence because you will know the answers beforehand.
4. Try joining a toastmaster’s club. They practice public speaking in supportive groups.
5. Join a support group to find other people with the same difficulty. The support groups are usually small, informal, and very friendly. They do their best to make you feel at ease. People who are or have already overcome their shyness can give the best advice because they have first-hand experience about what it is like to feel shy.
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6. Self-fulfilling prophesy: Look in the mirror when you wake up, say out loud what your goals for the day are (I will talk to the new guy/girl at work today, for example), then visualize yourself actually doing it. If you feel you need more time, do it the night before as well, or take as much time as you need until you feel ready.
7. When you do take the step and actually strike up a conversation, go slowly. Talk about “safe” topics such as the weather or current events. Eventually you will notice that you will have something in common with the person you are talking to and the conversation will flow naturally. You will soon forget about your shyness.
8. Finally, the most important thing you can do to overcome shyness is to believe in yourself. You can do whatever you put your mind to, once you have confidence in yourself.
When people have confidence, they are able to interact and meet with people, go after the jobs they want, and accomplish their goals. It is important to overcome shyness to be able to accomplish your goals.