How to Avoid Shyness
So once in a while people ask me how to avoid shyness. Now I’m not normally picky about my wording but I do generally have an issue with this question and for one reason.
I’m not about ‘avoiding’ shyness or social anxiety. I’m more about stamping on it with some heavy boots before taking a sledge hammer to it. I’m all about taking people from the most socially awkward they can possibly be to the life of the fricking party (keeping in mind I’ll be expecting an invite to that party). After years of coaching people through shyness I know three things for a fact.
1) Shyness can be beaten (and no cupcake, you’re not an exception to this rule no matter how shy you think you are).
2) There’s no real way to “avoid” or hide from shyness.
3) Our shyness training on overcoming shyness is the best way to make a real actual change to your life.
I won’t get into the nitty gritty of how to help anxiety or avoiding shyness. We cover all that in the training with some cool techniques and tools you can use. Here I just want to make sure you really get that you need to stomp out the problem at the root. Not live with it.
Shyness Is Nice?
There’s an old song which I like pointing out to people. It’s called Ask – The Smiths (I’ve included the lyrics and the video below) but it raises an important question. Can shyness be nice? Can shyness be a positive trait?
Now I go through the comments we receive on this site (which you can leave at the bottom of every page), the emails we get and the messages on our Facebook page (which you can see on the right). And the majority are asking for advice on overcoming shyness but every so often we have people asking if they should just learn to live with their shyness.
The old saying goes “just be yourself”, right?
And to a point this is true.
But, really, by overcoming shyness you’re not actually changing who you are. You’re actually allowing yourself to be more you around other people. I put out a post recently on a problem some people had been having telling me “I have no personality” which went into this idea in more detail.
So, personally, I don’t think shyness is a positive trait. I think it holds you back in life and nobody has the time to be held back.
The usual argument I see is people comparing their quiet shy demeanor to someone being loud and obnoxious. But even the loud and obnoxious people have a social life of people who can stand them. I’m not suggesting you go and be an asshole – I’m just saying it’s a pretty weak excuse to hide away behind your shyness.
I’m coming over as a little biased here, right?
But I’d say I’m in the place to do so. I’ve overcome shyness myself and I’ve helped others do the same. I’ve seen the change it can make in people and I can’t see any reason not to make that change as soon as possible. And if you’re not working on it already you should really be looking at our stuff on how to overcome shyness or (for a more direct approach and faster results) just get started with our online training.
But for the sake of argument – can shyness be a good thing?
Well in the animal kingdom shyness and introverted animals have been shown to live longer. Cautious thinking usually leads the shy Penguins to watch another jump into a hole and see how they do before they follow. Being quiet and meek can make you more approachable to other quiet people who won’t really want to approach or talk to the louder ones. And there seems to be some idea that shy people are innocent or “good” and have some intangible moral or social bonus.
But, in reality, you can overcome shyness without jumping headfirst out of a plane without a parachute and being overly cautious just holds you back in every aspect of life. Being quiet and meek usually means nobody approaches you because they’re too busy being quiet and meek themselves.
And the big thing people seem to forget is there is a middle ground. The world is not split into one camp of people who are shy and quiet and the rest who are loud and obnoxious. Their are people who are in the middle ground who people find fun, interesting and they want them around. This is where you want to be.
And don’t think that this is just something they were born with – social skills are a skill like any other and can be learned.
There are loads of ways to help anxiety and shyness. A million things you can do to improve your life (and trust me beating shyness makes such a difference). Too many people just wave it off and say they’ll fix it later or try to convince themselves it’ll be OK. You don’t need to learn how to avoid shyness. It’s not even a thing because if you’re shy in some social situations that doesn’t just get better by itself. In fact if you let it continue you’ll just reinforce that behavior and end up making it worse.
Whether you have a little fear of public speaking to a full blown issue holding you back in life you’re better to get it sorted sooner rather than later. I know I can come of a little harsh at times. I’ve been told I can be a little abrupt or rude in telling people what they should do but it’s only because I’ve been on the other side of it. I’ve been shy, it’s held me back in life and I’ll be damned if I’m happy letting someone else make the same mistakes I did. Somehow I lucked out and got where I am now and I’m much, much happier for it.
If I could give one thing back it would be to make sure that you knew not to try and avoid shyness but to stomp the damn thing out. It’s really not as hard as you might think.