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.
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 over a year 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.
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.
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? which is worth taking a look at.
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 Make Friends
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.
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.