How to Overcome Shyness
I understand the position you’re in right now. Wanting to learn how to overcome shyness is a pretty big step. In fact I remember the feeling I had the first night I sat on my laptop and started looking into overcoming shyness. And I was in exactly the same problem you’re having right now.
The internet is full of really bad advice when it comes to overcoming shyness and social phobia. It’s all over the place, half of it contradicts the other half and (what’s worse) is the bad advice doesn’t just waste your time, it can make your shyness and social anxiety worse. I wasted a good few years and a lot of money because there was nowhere with a step by step consolidated training system built for shy people. Luckily, you can skip all those wasted years because now there is.
I didn’t have the social life I wanted. I didn’t have the life I wanted for that matter. I knew I was quiet and awkward around people so I started to look into trying to overcome my shyness. Within an hour or so I was sitting reading through multiple guides and watching through videos.
Now for that first night I was filled with all sorts of hope and inspiration. I thought things would be different now and I’d finally learn how to stop being shy. But things didn’t turn out that way.
That first night was years ago. And I tell you this because I want you to take a few things away from this before we start.
- Learning how to overcome shyness is 100% possible.
- There’s a lot of useless information out there which can make shyness worse.
- There’s a right way and a wrong way to overcome your shyness.
And for those who are not frequent readers why should you listen to me?
I spent a long time feeling very lonely. Barely leaving the house and having little to no friends. Watching others live their lives while mine passed me by.
I wasn’t living. I was surviving.
And people tend to think that’s how it goes. Some people are social and others are just shy and stuck like that. But I wasn’t happy. I didn’t enjoy being lonely. And I wasn’t staying in that situation.
A little while later I’ve changed my life. I have several social circles and meet new people all the time. I can pick up my phone and find myself somewhere to be at the drop of a hat.
And I say this not to brag.
But to show a point. I barely left the house for years. And if I can do this anyone can. I now run several websites on shyness and I’ve helped and coached a lot of other people to overcome their shyness and I’ve seen the difference it can make.
This site has around 100 articles on shyness, social anxiety and social skills. While learning on your own time is great, a structured training course can help you get better (and faster) results. If you want an all encompassing guide on turning your life around like I did then I suggest taking a look at this instead by clicking here.
But however you do it – do it now.
As humans we are opposed to change. We’re programmed to make excuses to do something later. So don’t bookmark this page and tell yourself you’ll come back later. Don’t wait for the new year, the new week or even tomorrow.
You’re here. You recognize you have a problem with shyness and you’re here. Use that motivation and make a start now (my training breaks it down day by day for you) and as you start seeing results you’ll have your own motivation to continue as your social life grows around you.
You Can Learn How to Overcome Shyness
I want to reinforce that first point. A lot of people think, for whatever reason, that they can’t learn how to overcome shyness. That it’s somehow beyond them because of their social behavior or whatever.
Now I’m not here to feed you a bunch of motivational rubbish. In fact in a moment I’m about to look over some techniques which you can use today to start overcoming shyness. Just giving you motivational one liners or conversation starters might help you for a few hours, maybe even a day or two – but it won’t really help you overcome shyness.
However you found your way here – if you want to learn how to overcome shyness then you’re in the right place. I don’t want to feed you rubbish information and bad advice – I want to show you how to overcome shyness for yourself and really make a change in your life.
I used to be too shy to talk to people. I didn’t have friends and I hid away from the world mostly behind my computer. Now I’ve changed things and it’s made my life so much better. I’m hoping I’ll be able to help you do the same.
There’s a LOT of Bad Information
Now when I first started looking at how to overcome shyness I was astounded at how much advice there was online. The problem is so much of that information isn’t actually going to help. In fact a lot of it can really make your shyness worse.
It’s a horrible thought. And I’m sure the people giving this kind of advice have good intentions but I’m afraid that’s not going to help the people who follow it. Now since I overcame my own shyness I’ve started to look at the psychology behind shyness I can understand these things better.
Let’s take this common idea for example:
“Just get out there and get over it”
Now this is a common one. I heard it a lot when friends and family saw me trying to avoid going to somewhere or doing something. I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard it yourself. It’s certainly one of the more common examples of shyness advice around.
But there’s a problem with it. A pretty big one.
It can make your shyness worse.
Without getting into the psychology side of things too much shyness is basically social learning. The lower levels of your brain have learned (at some point) that being extroverted (or confident) has led to a negative response.
Think of your shyness as a security system in the lower levels of your brain to protect against negative reactions from others. And as much as you might want to overcome shyness you can’t reason with the lower levels of your brain. It doesn’t understand reason, logic or that you want to go to that party or talk to that person standing next to you.
It understands that if you get into a social situation it’s a going to get you out of it. So when you start to blush, sweat or experience any of the signs of shyness and social anxiety it’s basically this lower level of your brain deciding it’s had enough and it’s getting you out of this situation.
So forcing yourself into situations where you’d normally feel uncomfortable just leads to negative reactions to these social situations which reinforces your shyness with your lower levels of the brain.
It’s a vicious cycle and it’s why a lot of people who feel shy will normally get worse instead of better. They tend to become more and more introverted and shy as time passes and it can make a huge change to your life.
Now obviously you need to break this cycle if you want to learn how to overcome shyness. But rather than just charge in headfirst and make it harder for yourself there’s a proper way to do it.
The Right Way to Overcome Shyness
So there’s a couple of techniques I suggest using to overcome shyness. Some of which can be done around others and some are done from the comfort of your own home. I know it’s appealing to want to do this yourself in front of the computer but honestly a mix of the two methods are the best way to learn.
Ideally the idea is to ‘retrain’ the lower levels of your brain. Some people think that the idea of learning how to overcome shyness changes you. That it changes your personality or makes you a different person.
Now I’ve thought about it – and I’ve spoken to people who knew me before and after and yes there is one major change that everyone has agreed on.
Learning to overcome shyness isn’t going to change who you are. The way I see it, shyness doesn’t define you but it certainly does limit you. You don’t get the same experiences or opportunities as others do and I mean in both a personal and business sense.
So the right way to overcome your shyness means learning to change these negative reactions you have in social situations. And I don’t mean ignore them and pretend they’re not there (although it might feel like that to begin with) I mean properly get rid of them.
Your goal is going to be to teach yourself that there’s nothing to be afraid of. You’re going to learn how shyness works and pretty much ‘unlearn’ everything you’ve been learning in the situations where you’ve felt shy.
And there’s a few steps to do this.
- Set yourself clear and obtainable goals (I’ll help you with this).
- Follow a daily plan and reward yourself each day.
- Combine both social exposure and internal change.
Everyone is different and it takes a different amount of time for everyone. But if you follow a tried and tested system you’ll start to see changes pretty quickly.
Learning how to overcome shyness really can change your life (take it from someone who has been there) and now you’ve taken the first step – don’t stop there. In fact ideally you want to keep on going and do as much as you can. Luckily I’m not just going to leave you here – we have plenty of advice to give and we’re constantly adding to it. I also want to make sure you feel welcome to leave a comment or get in touch with us to ask questions or give some advice of your own. But for now there’s a few more topics you can look at to get you started.
The Shyness Test
I’ll be honest I was kind of forced to put this one together. Most of these online tests are nonsense. They ask a lot of useless questions followed by a useless motivational image for you to stick on Facebook. They serve no purpose, do no good and waste everyone’s time.
But it was so heavily requested that we sat down and put something together which we feel which actually be useful. The shyness test won’t give you dumb motivational quotes to use. It doesn’t care about how your score compares to others or how fast you competed it. But it does give us an idea of where you need to be focusing.
The How to Not Be Shy Mentality
I’m usually pretty clear when it comes to the mentality you need to actually make a change. Life doesn’t just improve itself if you set back so you need to actually make it happen. Now anyone can do this but you need to get yourself into the right state of mind.
We get questions from time to time about medication or herbs for shyness or how to not be shy for a specific event or time frame. If you’re looking for some motivational nonsense or fuzzy feel goods there are plenty of sites for that. But you’re mentally reprogramming years of learned experience. It’s not as hard as most people think but there’s no pill or magic switch.
By default we’ll find change hard. It’s human. If you really want to see a change you need to get out of the mindset of short term fixes. Once you can learn to change the root problem life becomes a whole lot easier (and more fun) but putting a band aid on doesn’t really help. It’s a similar problem to wanting to avoid shyness. You need to take the bull by the horns and make something happen.
Why Are People Shy
I’m more of a ‘look to the future’ rather than ‘dwell on the past’ but when you’re trying to learn how to not be shy then it’s important to understand why people feel shy in the first place. You can completely skip this step if you want and focus on just overcoming shyness and moving forward. But, if you are interested, we do have an article on why are people shy and what causes shyness which are worth taking a look at.
There’s been a lot of studies and work out there on the subject which is really just useless information. I’m not a fan of wasting time learning useless stuff you won’t actually use (especially when that time can be spent actually working on your social skills). And in the (roughly 100) articles on this site I’ve worked hard to make sure it’s all useful information you can actually use.
But understanding the ‘why’ is a great tool in learning the ‘how to overcome’.
Even when you realize what your mind is doing you’re still going to feel shy, but it can be enough to help you recognize your shy behavior at what I call the divergence point so you can adjust during the social situation. It’s not 100% required but I would recommend it.
How to Keep a Conversation Going
Shyness exists in different levels but one of the most common problems people can have when they’re struggling with shyness is learning to keep a conversation going. Whether you feel comfortable at the moment with starting a conversation using small talk or even if that seems like a frighting prospect take a read at our guide on how to keep a conversation going.
We show you how to keep a natural conversation going. We’re not giving you prompt cards with a couple of lines to say. Instead we show you how to just naturally have a conversation and keep it going. If you constantly find your conversations with quiet awkward pauses and you never really know what you say then you might be surprised with how easy it is to change that with a bit of practice.
How to Start a Conversation
People deal with shyness and social anxiety issues at different levels. Some can start a basic conversation but struggle to keep it going. Others have a hard time even getting one started. If you’re not really sure where you land on this spectrum then consider getting some social exposure. Start some conversations with strangers and see how it goes. Or take our shyness test to get an idea of where you should be focusing.
If you’re comfortable starting a conversation with a few comments but then it tails off into a awkward silence then focus on conversation skills but if you don’t feel comfortable starting new conversations with people you don’t know or people in authority then have a look at our guide on how to start a conversation. It will require a lot of exposure in real life, reading alone won’t do it but the more you understand beforehand the easier you’ll find it.
Best Shyness Tips
Rida put together some shyness tips which you can use as a bit of a cheat sheet. Glancing over something like this alone isn’t going to be enough to help you overcome shyness but the fresher you can keep it in your mind the better the results. You’ll need to give yourself a basic understanding of the principles first (we cover a lot here), start to get some social exposure and put our techniques into practice while you continue to work on the fundamentals. While doing this you can keep a cheat sheet handy.
I have a pretty similar issue with the idea of shyness quotes. When misused people can use them to convince themselves that they don’t really need to change anything. Or that reading a few quotes is going to be enough to change something. Again though they can be useful to keep you on track once you have a real understanding of what you’re doing.
You can refer back to these whenever you need but personally I always suggest keeping a few notes yourself.
Is Extreme Shyness a Thing?
I don’t know where the term extreme shyness came from but basically no. It’s not a thing.
I won’t get on another rant but people get themselves into a weird state of mind where they define themselves by being shy. Convincing yourself that you’re shy and that’s the end of it is just an easy cop out. It’s a learned behavior. And anyone can learn to overcome shyness the same way as anyone can learn to ride a bike.
There are some who just deal with a little blushing or feel nervous in some situations and it can go all the way to full blown social anxiety. The only thing this will really change is the time and work you’ll need to put in but there’s no “irreversible extreme shyness”.
Other than all of the videos and articles here on the site which are going to guide you to overcome your shyness we also have shyness stories from people around the world. These are stories we’ve had sent to us from readers around the world. Some have learned how to overcome shyness and are sharing their experience and others are still working on it. You can learn a lot by reading through these stories and you’ll find them linked on the right of every page.
How to Make Friends and Build a Social Life
Our overall shyness training is going to try to take you from stage to stage. And while everyone is going to start and need help with different areas one of the most important end goals is going to be expanding your social circle and start making friends. To some of you this might already sound like exactly what you’re looking for. For others, this might sound like a little way off.
Either way it’s important to understand how to make friends and what you can do to make things easier for yourself.
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