Shyness

Overcoming Shyness

All my life I’ve been an inwardly directed person. While some people like to think out loud, I prefer to process the world internally, answer my own questions, and come to a conclusion before speaking up.

This personality trait has benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, it’s a source of strength as a writer and analytical thinker. Without it I wouldn’t have taken an interest in books/writing and this site wouldn’t exist. On the downside, my tendency to keep everything inside is responsible for one of my major weaknesses — shyness.

Understanding Shyness

Shyness is rooted in fear — an irrational fear of speaking up and being humiliated or ignored. Why are some people so afraid of speaking out? In my mind the main causes are oversensitivity and insecurity. When you associate speaking out with pain and embarrassment, you’ll do almost anything to avoid it.

Unfortunately, shyness is an enormous detriment to success. For people who share this problem, it’s important to understand the causes and work towards overcoming it.

It’s Not You It’s Them

For naturally quiet people, the fear of speaking can arise from a few bad experiences, especially at an early age. When an adult reacts angrily or dismissively to an attempt at self expression, it’s natural to take it personally and shy away from future expression. Even if this only happens once or twice, people tend to exaggerate these incidents until they become mental monsters. Growing up, it took me a long time to realize how self centered people are. The way someone reacts to something you say usually has nothing to do with you–it’s more likely a reflection of the mood they’re in or a recent event in their life.

A key to overcoming shyness is recognizing these perceived slights for what they are–meaningless. When someone reacts to you negatively, don’t take it personally. Imagine the other person’s perspective. Is there something that may have put them in a bad mood? Are they trying to cover up their own inadequacy? Considering the perspective of the other person makes it easier to put their reaction in the proper context.

It’s also essential to let go of bad experiences. When you dwell on a bad experience, it grows into something much more frightening than reality. Don’t do this to yourself! The more you think about a bad experience the more power you give it. Don’t blame yourself. Think about something constructive. The more you can fill your mind with positive memories of speaking up the easier it gets.

Other People Aren’t So Different

Another important step in overcoming shyness is realizing that other people are basically the same as you. Everyone is insecure and afraid of embarrassment. Other people usually aren’t as smart as you think. If you have a question, chances are someone else is wondering about the same thing.

Don’t let one or two bad experiences dictate your entire opinion of humanity. By and large, people are friendly and interested in connecting with others. They’ll respond favorably to your attempts at communicating. In most cases, people will be thrilled that you took the initiative to break the ice.

Realizing Self Worth

The second cause of shyness is insecurity. If you don’t think you have anything valuable to contribute, what’s the point of risking embarrassment?

To get over this you need to recognize the merit of your own thoughts and the value they present to others. It’s ironic that the people most inclined towards shyness are often the most thoughtful. To reach your potential, you need to share yourself with the world. Your brilliant insights don’t hold any value until they’ve enlightened someone else.

The best way to get accustomed to sharing is practice. Force yourself to speak up, especially when you don’t want to. Sit in the front of the room and make yourself visible. Understand that sharing your insights with people is doing them a favor. Once you get used to opening up, you’ll notice how positively people react. This will build your self confidence and faith in the goodwill of others.

The Duty to Contribute

Overcoming shyness isn’t just something you should do for yourself, it’s also part of being a contributing member of society. When you have a thought or idea that deserves to be heard, you’re not only hurting yourself by keeping quiet, you’re hurting the people around you.

A basketball coach once explained to me how passing can selfish. If a player has an open shot that she can make, and she decides to pass instead, that player is being selfish and hurting the team. When you pass up the chance to excel because of shyness or the fear of failure, you’re hurting the group to shelter yourself.

Other people need you. They need your intelligence and insight. They need your help to work through problems. By hiding behind shyness, you limit the help you can give to your friends, family members, and colleagues.

A college professor of mine used to make a big deal about overcoming shyness. He called it a, “silly, foolish habit,” and said, “the sooner you can break it the better.” Shyness doesn’t benefit anyone. Saving yourself a little embarrassment doesn’t amount to much in the long run. By overcoming shyness, you give yourself the chance to be recognized and promoted. You create opportunities and open yourself up to forming meaningful relationships.

Don’t keep your talent inside, share at every opportunity so it can grow and flourish.

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  • http://dweezeljazzart.com/blog/ DweezelJazz

    Great insights. Thanks for the article.

  • http://www.theuniverseas.com Alex

    As an often overly introverted guy myself, I thought this was an excellent little article.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Thanks — I’m glad you were able to relate to it.

    • another_one

      Hi John, loved the article. Being excessively shy for all my life, this seemed like an eye opener. I would like to add that apart from the fear, if at all I do say something stupid (that does tend to happen with all the anxiety…) I tend to brood over it for ages making it shadow every achievement and smart thing I did in life… I realized that I was believing my life being just a collection of all the bad experiences.. so I guess while tackling the whole thing, its important to let go.. (cause everybody else would have let it go sooner than you realize… nobody has the time to brood over my stupidities)

    • daniel

      im in the same position as most of you. when it comes to talking to people on the phone or computer i can talk all day long but when it comes to face to face situations i freeze up. my mind starts racing searching for something to say and i get all tense but never come up with anything more than a red face and tense muscles. always wonder if i have an anxiety disorder or if im shy. sometimes i feel like im an abnormal freak and it sucks. i even have a hard time talking with family. all i know is that i’m not getting any younger and i dont want to feel like this anymore. can anyone help.

      • http://NONE Stephany

        GOOD ADVICE WILL DO YOU GOOD

      • Cristian Robles

        I’m exactly the same! look, here’s some advice. like one of the comments say, you probaably just scared of what u are going to say people will think what you said is gay or stupid or what not, but if u do say something stupid , yea people might talk about but they won’t think about it as much as you. I still have to overcome my shyness. anyway, when i’m with my family i talk a lot and say whats on my mind. but when i’m with other people I don’t know what to say!!! But i know for sure if i think i don’t know what to say when people are talkin about me…IT’S NOT TRUE!!! because if one of my family memebers would say something i don’t care what they say back to me. Think about other classmates in class (if u still in school). They just say whats on their mind, they probably act the same way they do at home, so why shouldn’t u do the same? My biggest problem, and maybe yours too, is when people are talkin to me, my mind goes blank. I’m tryin to think quickly of what to say back. but nothin comes to my mind. The biggest problem of us shy people is probably that we care too much of what people think about us. Like I see this one guy he acts the same way i would with my family, all crazy and stuff, in school, but i can’t act like that in school! lately i’ve been seeing a decline in the number of my friends ( or at least i notice more than before now) So I guess we just have to stay natural when we go out into the world, loosen up, relax, not be so tense, say what you would say if you were typing, talkin on the phone, or with your family. I know all this stuff, but i just put it into practice. but i do gotta say that i have improved a lot since last year in school. I thought i was doin good so far, but then 3 months ago i started feeling down again as i would last year because when i talk to people “I don’t know what to say”. I’m starting to recooperate though. I think the problem was that one of my best good friends,andy, started laughing and saying that i looked funny. he would say the same about my other friend, jeremiah, but he says he only looks funny when he’s mad. anyway i dealt with with his laughing at me for almost a week until i told him that he was pissing me off. i stopped talkin to him because he was annoying to me but then later i wanted to be freinds with him again but he doesn’t wanna talk to me that much as before. man and he was one of my best friends. he found out that i told our other friend jeremiah that he laughs at our “funny faces” and i think that’s why he doesn’t talk to me that much cuz i thinks he feels as if we’re talkin bad about him. then i told jeremiah that he seems to be ignoring me and jeremiah asked him why he wasn’t talkin to me that much as before and guess what he says… he says that when he says somehtin to me, i don’t say that much to him. ever since that incident (and that happened about three months ago) i seemed to think about how many friends i have and that not many people talk to me. I keep thinkin about it now. now i try to talk to andy and he talks to me but not that much, but i realize now, well i actually i already knew, is that i don’t say that many funny things and when i’m done talkin to him he turns to one of our friends in calss, josh, and josh apparently, is very funny to him. when i’m talkin to andy now i continue the conversation but im not that funny. when he talks to josh, josh says many funny things and andy seems to wanna talk to him more than me. right now im not that sad anymore. today i was laughin with my friends and stuff. but the only 2 people botherin me now is Josh and Andy. apparently they like to hang out with people who are ALWAYS funny. when i say somehting funny josh talks to me, but after i while he turns to his even “funnier friends” andy and kevin. I don’t really have many problems with my other friends, but when i see someone is funny everybody wants to hang out with that guy and i think “why can’t i be like that”. the only problem i have with josh is that sometimes when he says something he expects me to laugh, but sometimes i can’t hear him or I don’t get his joke, and i always haer andy laugh at all of josh’s jokes, and it’s annoying because i don’t get a lot of those jokes!! and when he seems to laugh at all his jokes josh seems to talk to him more than me. When i don;t laugh, the guys people that laugh a lot at someone joke, the person seems to want to hang out with him more. so ever since that incident with andy 3 months ago i think now that i don’t have the sense of humor other people have and that they don’t wanna talk with me. i usually feel like that when josh, andy, or this other “funny” guy named daniel is around. mostly andy!!! andy is killin me man!! but when i’m with other people i seem to be happy. so it’s like i don’t want andy or josh in my life. but daniel is cool. even though i wish he would talk to me rather than all the other people in my class (I’m a guy by the way). sorry for talkin about my life. lol. i had to think about what was happening to me in my life. so basically right now my problem is thati wish to be funny. everybody is always talkin more to people that are funny than me. and that hurts inside me man. people laugh when i say something funny. but when other people are ALWAYS funny they wanna talk to them.i still have friends that talk to me rather than other people though. don’t think that im an extreme outcast and that i’m extremely lonely. lol. i’m not a complete loser. lol. (sorry! i had to write what was happening in my life to examine the things that are happening to me, lol) ANYWAY, back to helping you, at home i seem to be funny, but at school or other places not so much, so us shy people just have to loosen up, don’t take ourselves too seriously, don’t be so stiff… be natural, man. just look at all the other people, they say what’s on their mind and sometimes they get embaressed to, but they don’t stay down. don’t think too much about the embaressing things that have happened to you or you think will happen to you. that’s what makes you shy. I would like to talk to you some more, lol. maybe we can help eachother out! here’s my email: elemental_fire@sbcglobal.net you can either reply to me by replying to my comment here or by e-mailing me, but i think email is better. well good luck on overcoming your shyness! reply to me when you get the chance!

      • http://sitestars.co.cc ese

        Like u have rightly said daniel, when it comes to chatting with people on the internet and on phone, I can go on and on but face to face seems to be the problem. Another problem I think I have is that I hardly get interested in what people do or say, that is, I have very limited interests.

    • Victoria

      Thank you for the article it really incourgeous me to overcome shyness.I’m going to practice those steps you offered in the article so i can overcome this fear. It is really hard when your shy. You don’t have as much friends, your scared to talk to people and also scared to do things that you have to do.

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  • http://www.arch-image.com Laurent Brixius

    Great article as always!

    I feel (for myself and for others) that writing a blog is some sort of therapy for shyness. Some do it undercover and some don’t. What’s essential is to communicate our personal thoughts and values.

    Knowing that many people from around the world do value our ideas increase our self-esteem in real life too.

    When you know that so many people agree with you, that’s not a fistfull of people in a room that can destroy your faith in yourself.

    Laurent

  • http://modernsocializing.blogspot.com Geoff Berman

    Great post.

    Another way to help, especially for people that are cripplingly shy, is through social skills practice. Social skills give people confidence to overcome their shyness.

    Anyway, I especially like the part about duty to overcome shyness.

  • Peter

    I think that there’s an earlier precursor to shyness than insecurity. I think it’s simple pride. Your first reaction to this will probably be “WTF?” but follow my thinking here…

    As a formerly shy person, I always attributed my shyness to fear that came from a lack of understanding of what to do in social situations. But with deeper probing (the kind of self-estimation with which we introverts are often so blessed), I began to see that pride was the deeper cause.

    Here’s why:

    We don’t want to look bad! So we don’t take the risky chance of speaking up. Obviously, taking chances leads to experience, and experience to understanding; so avoiding the early social interactions, we grew up without a solid understanding of how to behave in those ways. But abandon that “fear of man” (applying the most extreme definition here), and suddenly, shyness dries up because the fear goes away.

    Note that I’m talking about SHYNESS here, not simply being introverted. I know many introverts that will boldly speak their minds when something doesn’t add up.

  • Dave

    I agree with you on breaking shyness by contributing; however, there are drawbacks and I think you touched on some of them earlier in you piece. “Growing up, it took me a long time to realize how self centered people are.” People are self centered and what I’ve found is that when I contribute there are a few people who just don’t want to hear it even when the majority accept my contribution as well formed and valid. I am nowhere close to overcoming my shyness but your advice about observing reactions and understanding that they have little to do with what I’ve said and more to do with what is going on in the listeners will likely help me further.

    I would like to ask a question about whether we should filter our contributions. For instance, take the following conversation:

    Reporter: Jonathan just got an awesome face paint job, what do you think?
    Jonathan: I like turtles!

    Would you consider Jonathan’s contribution to be trite and uninteresting or something that will award a win in the ‘Fight Against Shyness’ column.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Peter,

    I definitely get what you’re saying about pride. I’d say it’s what inspires the fear behind shyness in many cases.

    Geoff,

    You’re definitely right about practice — it’s probably the best way to get comfortable!

    Laurent,

    You’re right about the usefulness of blogging, and sharing your ideas in general. For shy people it can be good way to take a small step and build confidence. Perhaps that’s why we find so many introverts of the web.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Dave,

    Regarding your question. In most cases I think shy people contribute far too little. They are much more likely to err on the side of not speaking.

    When they have an urge to contribute, what they have to say is very worthwhile. So while the comment of your hypothetical character didn’t add much value, the comment of the average shy person will generally be worth making.

    Besides, people that make thoughtless comments usually aren’t shy in the first place — they err on the opposite side and don’t think before speaking.

    • http://NONE Stephany

      GOOD ADVICE

  • http://tonycomputerguy.blogspot.com Tony

    Excellent work, you’ve inspired me to stop being lazy. I think half the time I avoid speaking up because I know someone is going to disagree with me, and I don’t want to exert the effort of arguing with them. :) I loved the baseball coach quote, so true… Played basketball with a good friend who basically told me the same thing. Thanks for the great read, look forward to reading the ‘How to instantly build self confidence’ article. Take care.

  • GW

    We need more articles on how over social people need to shut the hell up. It’s worse than shyness in my opinion.

    • moneymelz

      lol!

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Thanks Tony — The duty contribute is definitely one of the big clicks I had that motivated me to get over shyness.

    GW — Haha, you have point. That could be another article. Unfortunately, I think the problem isn’t that these people don’t know how to be quiet, it’s that they don’t like to.

  • andee

    Thank you for this article. It gives me hope.

    • http://www.shynessintegration.com Overcoming Shyness

      Great post. I agree 100% that blogging (or any form of self expression) is fantastic for dealing and eventually overcoming the areas of shyness you want to take control of.

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  • http://www.wethechange.com Todd Goldfarb

    hey man, great article. Another wonderful practice for shy people (I am not one of them however, but my girlfriend is) is to do something outlandish to overcome the fear. My girlfriend recently did Karaoke in front of hundreds of people, and although she was terrified beforehand it helped her attain a sense of accomplishment. Overcome the fear by just doing it!

  • TD

    it’s only after you ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything

  • http://www.succeedsocially.com Chris

    Good insights on the inhibition / fear of speaking up aspect of shyness.

    As with any fear related area, you’ve got to be careful about thinking there are magic insights and observations about your fear that will instantly make it go away. Insights can be valuable, but you won’t be instantly fixed just by logically realizing x is nothing to worry about. There’s a strong ‘easier said than done’ element in play.

    In my experience, you need to force yourself out of your comfort zone. You also need to build up a backlog of experiences that confirm your new view that people are understanding, non-judgmental, etc.

    As for overly social people not knowing when to shut up, I think the middle ground is best. Some outgoing people do need to learn when someone is busy, or that the other person doesn’t care about their topic,or that they’ve talked too long. But on the other hand, some introverted types need to loosen up a little about being around talkative types. Life is definitely easier for me since I became more easygoing in that regard.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Chris,

    I 100% agree about insights not being a magic fix. In fact, despite my insights I could still make a lot of progress in overcoming shyness.

    I think Todd is right on the money with his suggestion to JUST DO IT.

  • GA

    I’m not sure “shyness” can (or should be) be fully “overcome”. One who weighs the consequences of their spoken thoughts before they speak them is often demonstrating a wisdom and thoughtfulness that this world could use more of. At a cocktail reception speaking with a stranger or in an intimate conversation with a friend, being quiet might demonstrate ones’ consideration and willingness to hear the entire story before saying something that is hurtful to those within earshot. The real fear of the “shy” person is being misunderstood. They often fear that they won’t be able to skillfully express their thoughts or that their thoughts will be misconstrued or distorted. Many times it is difficult for someone who is really listening and thinking about what is being said to get a word in.

    That being said, never speaking up or initiating interaction will rob one of their peace and the abundant life they are meant to have. So I think ones’ goal shouldn’t be to “overcome” “shyness” but to find a balance between a thoughtful withholding of judgment/comment and the risk inherent in living in a world where good intentions are misunderstood or purposely corrupted. It is the duty of the more thoughtful (shy) to come to terms with (forgive) the fallen nature of man. To whom much has been given (i.e. thoughtfulness) much is required.

    Excellent article!

  • SSK

    Good article, but I don’t like your conflation of shyness and intoversion. Introversion is a personality type, and shyness is a condition, and while the two often come together, introversion is not a requiremnt for shyness. You can be an extroverted type (i.e. you like social interaction) and still be shy.

  • Chadwick O’Dail

    Brain chemistry is not discussed in this article, and I’m not sure if this community supports modifying it or not… Anyhow, while being treated for another condition with a MAOI called Nardil, I experienced a considerable positive change in my social performance. I went from wallflower to Hugh Hefner at a pajama party. Your mileage may vary. Sadly, at the end of treatment, so went the alter-ego, but it was nice to see the other side for a while, and I learned a bit as well that I can sometimes emulate.

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  • Angel

    Wow, this is an excellent article. I love your writing style, your format, and the content.

    I never thought being an introvert as being selfish, or that it hurts the ones around you by not taking advantage of opportunities. It makes perfect sense.

    Thank you for sharing your insight.

    Angel

  • Haris Khan

    Great! Articles like these really give insights to one’s mental health. John deserves an appreciation for this article.

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  • http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com Stephen Hopson

    John:

    This was a very interesting read because, and this is amazing, really, we tend to assume things on the basis of what we see. In other words, we judge the book by its cover even if we don’t mean to.

    When I first learned about your blog and saw how many readers you had on your site, I automatically assumed you were the opposite of shy! In my mind, I could not reconcile a shy person having a popular blog. How wrong I was!

    I greatly appreciate your candor – it makes you authentic and I have so much respect for people who are willing to bare their souls and be open. We don’t have enough authencity out there b/c people are so busy trying to make themselves “look good.”

    GREAT article.

    Stephen

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  • QueenBee

    Awesome article. I too understand so much of what you are saying here. I live this life as well. Thank you for speaking out.

  • harry

    this was an excellent read. by nature, i’m mostly extroverted, but there are specific situations (like everyone else, i hope) where i become extremely shy. there is some comfort in knowing i find myself asking the same questions and feeling the same insecurities you’ve described. from introvert to extrovert and vice versa, it seems we all face the same fears, only some more than others.

  • IM

    [We need more articles on how over social people need to shut the hell up. It’s worse than shyness in my opinion.

    Comment by GW October 9th, 2007 @ 2:15 pm]

    I absolutely agree with this! I’m naturally shy, and think before I speak. The things that come out of people’s mouths amaze me.

  • GK

    Great article! I wish this type of Insightful information could have been written and published earlier.
    Anyone interested in reading about shyness check out this book: Shyness: A Bold New Approach by Bernardo Carducci. Here is the link at amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Shyness-Approach-Bernardo-Carducci-Ph-D/dp/other-editions/0060930683/ref=dp_ed_all/103-6442801-3843829)

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  • Ikkon

    This article might be useful for those who suffer from normal shyness. But my own problem is related to a condition much more difficult to deal with.
    My own issue is a genuine personality disorder, signifigant enought to have basically ruined my life.

    From the wikipedia article on the subject.

    The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines avoidant personality disorder as a “pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

    1. Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
    2. Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
    3. Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed
    4. Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations
    5. Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy
    6. Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
    7. Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

    I am also being treated for major depressive disorder. There is some question as to which problem caused which. Basically unless I break this lifelong pattern, I’m incapable of having what ‘normal’ people consider ‘normal’ intimate relationships. As you might expect the situation really SUCKS. I don’t know whether the kind of advice offered here would help someone like me. Anybody have any ideas on what I can do to get over something this severe? There is some question that I may suffer from Social anxiety disorder as well, as the two kind of fade off into each other. I don’t want to live the rest of my life like this, but I don’t know what to do! I have given up trying to talk to non mental health pros about it because it’s not just normal ‘shyness’ and frankly because of the nature of the condition shrinks don’t know much about it! (most AvPD and SAD types don’t go to shrinks).

    • Kate

      I think it’s important that you do not label yourself as a sufferer of these disorders for which (I assume) there’s no cure.
      These are terms that doctors/psychothereapists use to refer to ‘conditions’ of the mind/personality, and aren’t eisily diagnosed, as you may imagine, due to the fact that every person is different and has different experiences which affect them in different ways. If the individual doesn’t yet recognise the causes/reasons, I cannnot see how anyone else would!
      I know you have a really tough time, becuase I do too, but I think these terms are just ways for the psychothereapists to look like they know all about everything.
      You best personal councellor is yourself- you obviously have a good mind, and you’ve come as far as recognising that you have a problem. The next step is for you to accept who you are and understand that you are not abnormal. if you understand, you wont need to constantly remind yourself of it/control it, because you will know in your heart and your subconscious, which is so much more than you know, that there really is no need to feel like you do. Have faith, and truly beleive that you will overcome this problem.
      I think that the key to everything is beleif- the only reason that you have this ‘disorder’ is because you beleieve that you do. I don’t beleive that. I reckon you’re alright, and I really hope that you get on the road to recovery.
      I’d be interested in hearing from you, and i also deeply empathise with you because, as i’ve said- you and I have similar worries.
      You are sensistive, and probably quite thoughtful i’d imagine. These are actually good qualities to have, you need to know that, and it’s common for people to suffer from low self esteem, yours is so much so because you, unlike many people, have suffered enough to wonder if there’s any cure.
      Hope you do so soon, and don’t suffer with this horrible problem anymore.
      when you notice all those reactions from people to your ‘weirdness’ which i’m sure you’re familar with, realise that they only react like that because YOU FEEL worthless. You AREN’T worthless, and when you know that, it wont look that way.
      Do this- compare yourself to a very confident/proffessional person, and ask yourself why you;re any different. The answer, you’ll find, will be that they beleive they’re great, and you don;t feel like that!
      Once you realise that there IS a cure, you’ll be well on the way to getting better.
      Nothing more to it!
      Take care and good luck, i beleive in you :)

    • Steve

      for avoidant personality disorder and social anxiety type disorders, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can really help. A recommended read is “Feeling Good” by David Burns.

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  • shy

    Er…

    :)

  • shy

    I should have read it two hours earlier!

  • Chris

    I liked the article and hope I can start putting it to practice, unfortunately I feel my condition is more like Ikkon ‘s. It’s good to think theres hope for us though.

  • Abe

    I am a shy person – in writing and verbally. I don’t normally comment on anything. Writing this comment shows that I am motivated by your great article…

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  • Shy Guy

    So basically you are saying that to overcome your shyness, you have to overcome your shyness… Yeah. Absolutely.

    I have been a shy guy all my life, and that’s indeed coloured by past experiences, but those past experiences where constant. In little school and high school, every time I spoke up I got laughed at. (Yes, you read that correctly: “EVERY time”)

    What kind of proof do I have that the same doesn’t happen the next time?
    It really takes ME a lot of time to start to TRUST others.

    Indeed, on the issue of self worth, I nearly have none. Same causes. Sometimes I have done something I’m proud of, but most times I only see the negative sides of what I do. My mind has been trained to do that, after years of people pointing out what I did ‘wrong’.

    That’s a vicious circle that you can’t just step out of by sheer willpower.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Ikkon,

    You’re right in thinking that this article is mainly for normal people who have shyness issues, not for people like yourself with serious mental health problems. I hope you are to get better.

    Shy Guy,

    It is a vicious cycle, and it’s self perpetuating. There is nothing easy about it. The best you can do is to giving an effort.

  • Doug

    Thanks.

    This just confirms what I have already lived through.

    Although I still consider myself a shy person, most of my colleagues and friends find this surprising. Basically, I have learned to make the jump and push myself into the fray. The hard part sometimes is mustering the energy to produce the “escape velocity” to overcome the gravitational pull of shyness, but when I do, the rest usually is amazingly easy…

  • T

    Thanks for this article! I’ve always been shy with people I don’t know and kept away from public encounters. This article was very insightful. Thank you!

  • http://randomclick.wordpress.com/ randomclick

    Great article. Not much to add to what has already been said. I can relate to many of the things mentioned.

    But what a great little motivation read if you know your about to go into a situation where you know you’d normally act shy. Thanks.

  • Chadwick O’Dail

    Ikkon–

    You have a couple choices: partner up with a local doc that is sympathetic, and the two of you collaborate to improve your situation, or head to the nearest university hospital, state your case, and ask for a referral to a specialist. University hospitals love ‘fringe’ stuff, because it often provides opportunities for research or education for graduate students, sometimes at low or no cost if you’re willing to be a study subject. In any case, get to work on the depression part, don’t wait, it’s an insidious and destructive disease. Some of the drugs that are used to treat depression have nice side effects that work on SAD (not sure about AvPD). On the other hand, some of those drugs suck or won’t work at all, but don’t give up, keep trying. Best wishes to you, the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a freight train ;-)

  • J. Glenn

    Great advice that cuts to the root of a lot of social anxiety/shyness that is learned…..but I have to point out something: Introverted does NOT mean the same thing as shy or inhibited; it just means one’s brain processes things differently, alone/within and without needing to run it by others. This doesn’t necessarily make one shy or anxious; just less likely to seek constant social interaction. Extroverts on the other hand do need that interaction with others to process things, and thus seek it more.
    This is hard-wiring, not learned….only our judgements about our temperament are learned. Obviously these differences in preference provide lots of opportunity for misunderstanding & finding the other type “weird”.
    Since it’s estimated only 10% of people are introverts & there is much more negative judgement of this “type”, a negative self-definition can take root, leading to more anxiety & inhibition & “why am I not like them?’ feelings.

    A quick test to tell if you’re extro- or introverted: If you just got some really bad news, a real emotional upset…..what’s your first automatic instinct (not 10 mins later, but FIRST thing)? If it’s to go run somewhere by yourself & “figure it out” you’re probably an introvert…..If it’s to tell somebody or seek their advice to make sense of it, you’re proably an extrovert.

    thanks for listening

  • Anton

    Its NO ONE’s “obligation” to try to be something they’re not for the good of society! In fact, the HELL with society! The individual is what matters and if you’re shy thats OK. I think shyness and introversion(since Im the latter)is a GOOD thing.It isnt necessary that everyone be a social butterfly.Are you a “socialist” or something? Much of social interaction is meaningless and unproductive.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    Anton,

    The individual is defined by society. Without it, we’re all just rather crude animals.

    No one is really obligated to do anything. But I think you owe it to yourself.

    J. Glenn,

    You make an important point. I never meant to imply that introversion is a negative trait. But as you said, it’s certainly the minority.

  • Jimmy James

    As a shy person I consider myself on strike from society because I refuse to live in a world where everyone is constantly attacking me with insults, derision, and physical attacks.

    I do have plenty to offer, but you can’t have it unless you start dealing with me on the basis of freedom and fair trade, not insults, violence and manipulation.

    I never did anything to anyone and after all the trauma I endured as a child I just want to be left alone, but no, you couldn’t do that when I was a kid and you aren’t doing it now.

  • Jimmy James

    Chadwick O’Dail, I’ve gone through 3 years of therapy with two different doctors and taken every type of medication available TO NOT EFFECT except now I suffer from bruxism and my teeth hurt all the time and three dentists and my physician can’t (or won’t) do anything about it. My experience is that doctors and dentists don’t care about patients, don’t have a clue what they’re doing with mentally ill persons, and are just prescribing medication or trying to ignore difficult patients when the usual treatments don’t work. But how rare is depression and bruxism? I sat there discussing arguments I was having with strangers on the internet at $150/hour. If doctors don’t have the answers then who does?

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  • Chadwick O’Dail

    Jimmy– You’ve got my sympathy for what it’s worth. Finding a good doc is a goodly portion of the battle. I’ve had bad ones and good ones, the good ones are usually found by referral. It’s the worst when you move to a new area and don’t have any contacts. Tried any support groups in your area? Yeah, it’s cliche, but it gets you patient viewpoint reviews of docs. I’d suggest you learn as much as you can about your own condition, so you can have intelligent debates about your treatment with your future doc. Ask them questions about why they are choosing a particular therapy. Begin by documenting what you have tried, and meds you’ve taken, for how long, and at what dosages. Having this helps if you need to change docs. Good docs recognize that they don’t know everything, and have a care for your well being. Perhaps I’m spoiled now that I have a good doc. You need to recognize that diagnosing and treating psychiatric stuff is a best guess effort for the most part, and have to honestly attempt to give recommended treatment a fair shake. Many psych meds take weeks to ‘settle in’ and if you don’t wait them out, you may never see the true effect, just side effects while your body attempts to adjust (which often suck!). I strongly question your claim that you’ve “taken every type of medication available”… there are a lot of meds out there, many with titration intervals several weeks long, three years isn’t enough time to try them all (though the search may be tedious and long for the right one). A good resource for patient viewpoints of psych meds is http://www.crazymeds.org or you can check out the forum there also. In any case, I wish you the best of luck, perhaps try a university hospital in your area for a fresh opinion.

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  • June

    Hi John,
    I was flicking through website articles and came across your article on shyness. It’s very interesting some of the points you’ve stated. I don’t think i’ve had a childhood experience wherein i was greatly insulted for anything i’d said. I do however think that my shyness extends from being overly analytical of situations and critical of the actions/words of others (the burden of knowing more than others). Most times during class discussions i know the answers and have good ideas to contribute, but i just can’t say them. I find that other people who are outspoken contribute more to class discussions with meaningless questions or obvious answers, so i don’t bother or am overlooked. Or when someone offers an insightful answer i refuse to share my own as i think it is of lesser significance. The only times when i do contribute to class discussions is when the class is silent, even then i still hesitate. I think it is also true of the fear of being criticised and having other people knowing your thoughts/ideas, it’s perhaps the feeling of being vulnerable. I most especially shy away from expressing myself in large social groups, just the feeling of having several pairs of eyes staring me down makes me feel emabrrassed even if i hadn’t done anything wrong. Sometimes i feel it’s a burden, at other times i feel that keeping to myself is not so bad.

    Again, good article though.

  • http://manomonassa.blogspot.com alexandre

    great article. I always thinks about it but I never achieved it. Now I ‘ll try to better in every situation

  • http://wellabella.yelp.com Wella

    I’ve been subscribing to your feeds for quite sometime now and haven’t commented until this one. Wow! This one hit me hard. I can be boisterous and self-expressive with a limited number of very close friends and members of my family, but otherwise am pretty quiet. I don’t think my shyness stems from being repressed to a great degree as a child; I may be just naturally self-conscious. In any case, it does bother me that I sometimes feel like I can’t express my ideas or opinions without being judged. Also, who really wants to be rejected and have the “wrong” ideas? Having read your article gave me insight to the fears that I’ve recently acknowledged about myself. This commentary motivated me to actually say something! Thanks!

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  • http://www.dougwoods.com Douglas Woods

    Thanks for this great post. Shyness can be a great social barrier for many people and the need to overcome it cannot be overstated.

    Doug
    http://www.dougwoods.com

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  • Mellow

    Just recently my shyness has started to hinder me dramatically on my job, it seems to irritate my new boss tremendously. Lately he has been threatening to make be do presentations if I don’t start talking during group meetings. The people I work with get so offended, but they don’t understand that it’s not my intention, its just how I am. Every since childhood people have constantly reminded me of how different I am. I think my shyness may hurt my career, so I started searching the web for self improvement ideas.
    I think my problems started at childhood staying home with my grandparents never interacting other children. In elementary school I never played team sports because I was always afraid of doing something wrong that would cause my team to fail. In high school I tried to get involved in extracurricular activities to meet people and I made a few friends but I was still considered different to most of my peers. Over the years I have overcome some fears but I still have a long way to go.
    For some reason I can hold a conversation with one or two people just fine but any more than that and I can’t think straight. For example, during a meeting my co workers were having a conversation about globalization, everything they were talking about I had read in the Economist a few months back but for some reason when it was my turn to talk I made a total fool of myself. I truly sound as if I had no clue when I really did.
    Another reason I don’t express myself is because I feel misunderstood and I spend too much time trying to explain myself. It’s not easy explaining something to a group of super critical people.
    I know my insecurities play a major role. No mater how much education I have I still feel like I don’t measure up to others especially when it comes to my vocabulary.

    Thanks for all the tips, is good to know I’m not the only one in this predicament.

  • J. Glenn

    Dear Mellow;
    Have you ever done any reading on Introversion? At the risk of sounding simplistic, it sounds like you may be introverted…I don’t mean to “reduce you” or insult you in any way but your post really hit home for me. The things that struck me : feeling fine talking with 1 or 2 people but “stun-brained” in larger groups, a sense of not wanting to disrupt the group, feeling misunderstood & constantly having to explain yourself (so TIRING!), a childhood history of less social interaction….these could be signs you are Introverted, not in the pop-culture sense of “inward/shy” but in the sense of getting energy from within/”losing” it when with others too long.
    I highly recommend “The Introvert Advantage”; I forget the author’s name but it’s widely available..or check out online info on Introversion in a “Myers-Brigg” sense.
    I am sticking my neck out because I am a newly (3 years) “out of the closet” Introvert and learning this about me has profoundly changed my life for the better.
    I hope this useful to you Mellow!

  • Mark

    I’m not sure if I agree with the irrational fear bit of being shy at the top of the article.

    I’ve always wondered why the word ‘shy’ is given such negative connotations. Because when you’re young it’s actually somewhat useful to be a bit suspicious of talking to strange people seeing as you have no idea what their motives are etc.

    I was always described as shy up until this year really. That was just a comfortable way for me to be and I could get away with being like that, it felt normal. Couple of years ago I went to a party (I never went to parties) and was like a fish out of water, it was a nightmare for me. After that experience I decided never again, and now noone I work with believe I was ever quiet, in fact now I’m told I’m too loud lol. All about balance I guess.

  • http://www.wisdomgettingloaded.com/ tracy ho

    Greats idea,

    Thank you

    Tracy Ho
    wisdomgettingloaded

  • http://simple-fix.blogspot.com Syd

    Thanks for this useful article. I too used to keep quiet many a times when I should have spoken up and am trying my best to overcome this habit completely. Thankfully I have improved a lot in this respect and your article should provide me more motivation and determination in improving further.

  • Dave

    Simple and well thought out article, very helpful to me. Thanks for writing it! – Dave

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  • Whaaa

    Wow, this really should be helping me alot.
    I really want to overcome my shyness around people i dont know so i can have the opportunity to make alot more friends!
    Thanks so much!

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  • http://www.liveloaded.com Jason at LiveLoaded.com

    Overcoming shyness takes a lot of hard work. I have been down that road myself and I’m thankful every day that I have freed myself of the burden of that emotion.

    For me, it took a number of things to get me out of my “rut”

    First, I started working out to develop a greater level of self confidence. Second, I started using the Intelligent Warrior subliminal message videos and doing targeted affirmations corresponding to the messages I was getting through the videos. And of course, I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone. I intentionally suffered through social situations even when I wasn’t “in the mood” just so that I could grow to be more comfortable with myself around others.

    It can be a tough road, but it’s well worth the effort.

    Jason
    Subliminal Success
    http://www.liveloaded.com

  • Zach

    that was a great post. i am a shy person myself and i recently realized how shy i am. i am trying to work on that and become more outgoing. this article actually helped.

  • http://? Jordan

    To start off I have been shy all my life, well I’m only 13 but my mom is even still shy. I’m going to overcome my fear on Feb.4 2008. Now heres the problem I never talk to anyone in school except my four now three friends and I make tons of mistakes.I want to overcome the stupid things I do cause I’m not getten anywhere in life.The people out there that are shy trust me I would overcome sometime soon or your whole life is gonna be a buch of mistakes.

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  • meeka

    thank you for the article. Its something i’ve been struggling with for a while and i’m going to try to use your suggestions. =)

  • Steve

    thanks for the article. I’m in a starbucks at 730pm waiting for my new gf and a load of her friends to arrive, itll be the first time ive met them, and I’m absolutely dreading it! Im trying to think of some questions to keep the conversation flowing when I feel awkward, and I really appreciate the advice about being genuinely interested!

  • Kenneth

    Those things really do work. Thanks! : )

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  • Hashim

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    My problem is that i m very shy person by nature which is effecting my career and married life.even after counselling and attending training programmes ther is no change in me.pls give me a solution.

    • Syafiq

      Dear Hashim,

      Hi! Before this, I also had a same problem like you. Actually, based on my experience, Over shyness is happen because you don’t trust yourself and you always think that you are not a good person whether as a husband, father or friend.

      The best solution that I found is to build up your self-confident through joining and involving in social activities in your neighbourhood or anywhere else that you prefer.

      The point is you must go out and socialize with other people and talk about something that you like for example sports or current issues.

      It will be a little bit tough at first but you will gradually overcome it as time goes on.

      As a men (Husband or Son), Over shyness is not a good thing. YOU HAVE TO CHANGE! Our society has a very bad perception to men who very shy no matter by nature or whatever…. That’t the truth.

      • Hashim

        Thank you for this article. It gives me hope and confidence.

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  • Cory

    i’m a 16 year old male, i’m very athletic and i am able to talk to girls easily, but only through the internet or texting. Whenenver i talk to a girl through the internet or texting the girl usually ends up fallin for me. So therefore i know i’m good at talking to them. However, once i meet up with a girl that i have been talking to and have developed feelings for, total shyness comes over me. I end up just siting there not saying a word.
    For instance tonight, i really like this girl, we’ve been talking for about 2 weeks now and today we went to the movies together. It took me almost half the movie just to work up the courage to put my arm around her. Once my arm was around her and i felt comfortable, i started thinking about the “first kiss” however was not sure how to go about this so therefore i did nothing which i could tell iritated her. Once i left the theartre i felt ashamed of what i didnt do. There is no doubt in my mind that i will never hear from this girl again. I feel like a total screw up, this girl was perfect, she was so beautiful.

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  • Sonya

    Be careful overcoming shyness.

    The world defintely doesn’t need anymore ego maniacs! There is a balance that we all have to find. You want to be a valid contributor to the world and people around you but, you don’t want to get into the area of thinking that people will not be able to live unless they have heard what it is i have to say about hedge trimmings. Great article though, just realize there is a balance.

  • Andy

    Hi there,

    I’m a 26 year old male, i’m confident when it comes to socialising and making friends etc, when it comes to women i just bottle up and cower in a corner, i have no problem talking to women but when it comes to interacting as a partner with them i just can’t get the courage to do anything.

    I’ve recently tried to talk to one of my ex’s about this and even then no matter how much i wanted too i just couldn’t talk or say anything about it, i’m starting to get a bit worried that if i don’t break this habit i’ll end up sad and lonely, i know that it’s upto me and only me to get through this but i’m struggling to think how, can anyone give me any advice at all please ????

    Thanks.

    • Kate

      Don’t worry too much though- it’s a common problem :) hope you solve it and find someone nice x

  • Paul

    You know something that I really liked about this article, is that it reminded me that somewhere inside we are all the same, I usually feel down because I feel like a stranger, but I got stuck in my point of view not realizing than they also need to belong, they might feel strangers themselves sometimes, but I guess if want to love and accept them I better start loving and accepting myself, overcoming the past and working on my fear of rejection, learning and sharing what I got,

    Thanks for the post!

  • ahmet

    l am from Turkey l am 16 year old male l am shyness

    why l shyness?

  • ardie

    GREAT THOUGHTS! My mind was enlightened ’bout the topic. I am actually a shy type person which drove me to some failurities in life.Thaks a lot!!!

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  • Ames

    Great content. Very helpful and easy to relate to. Props for well thought through help without a bill.

  • shyran

    excellent post. i had been an introvert myself. and could really relate to the article.

    though i dont claim to have turned into an extrovert, but to a lot of extent, i have come out of being a shy and silent guy, through efforts to take chance and be bold, speak my mind. and in most of the instances, i found that what i said, did count; contrary to my beliefs and inhibitions. this article is very much to the point. looks like there >are

  • Darren

    This was an excellent article.

    It has really inspired me to try harder at overcoming fears such as stated here, and to speak out more.

    This article has even inspired me to get into more public situations and test the methods named here.

    It’s also very well written.

    Thank you!

  • Sibusiso Hlatshwayo

    Thanks for this very enlightening article, this has given me at least some insight on things to focus on as someone who is trying to overcome shyness. I’m 26 years old and I have been shy for as long as I can remember but I was always in denial of the consequences of being shy, but recently I have seen how it has affected both my career and my social success and I am really committed to do something about this problem.

  • Snehal

    this article is really helpfull.
    It has inspire me.

  • http://metavitae.com Will

    Great Article!

    -I liked the bit about doing right by sharing your insights.

    A few things I’ve learned along the way:
    Don’t be someone who can’t be talked to or can’t listen to feedback, but 90%+ of what people say is because of who they are, NOT who you are.

    Ie: Never internalize/personalize another person’s frame, especially if they sound negative.

    People actually really truly are thinking Mostly about themselves and their lives all the time. In the feature film that is their life, we are all mostly extras.

    “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”, by Daniel Amen seems like a pretty good book; -if you’re shy, you might actually have a region or 2 of your brain that’s hyper-or under- active.

  • KLL

    Great article. Funnily enough people always advice to try to speak up to people who are shy to overcome it, yet that is the whole problem. If I could speak up, then I wouldn’t be shy, would I? Also, I don’t think insecurity is really the underlying problem in my case. I’ve been shy all my life. It’s who I am. I am a very self confident person, maybe at times even over confident. So how can this even be an issue? It is just that when I come in contact with strangers, I want to talk to them. But I can’t. There’s something withholding my speech. I always try to be as polite and friendly as possible, and it helps to get me through a few phrases, but as soon as it gets too personal, I can’t seem to form proper sentences anymore. And it’s not because I’m stupid or inarticulate. So I don’t know. It’s more of an issue I have with people, I think. I can’t let them get too close. It’s like a claustrophobia, but with people. I just think it’s strange because I’ve had this literally all my life, so there wasn’t an occassion that suddenly changed it all. It’s just there. And I just can’t seem to overcome it.

    • J Glenn

      Hey there KLL…I posted a few months ago about this, but I wanted to respond to your post because it rings home for me & I thought it MIGHT be helpful to you. Have you looked into the idea of Introversion? It’s not the same as shyness, but rather a preference for more “space” & not wanting to let people in too quickly, because of a different way of processing & taking in things. It’s NOT a “condition” or an illness, anymore than eye colour is, just a different style of processing. It’s hardwired, not learned or related to insecurity (except that because it seems to be less common than extroversion so introverts may get messages that they are “weird” or “not social enough” so they can start to feel bad).
      If anything, it could be taken as a quiet confidence as opposed to needing to talk to everyone about anything. But that’s a subjective take on it too!
      Anyways, I’d recommend looking into Introversion in the Myers-Briggs Inventory sense, not too “type” yourself into a narrow box, but as a tool for better understanding & even appreciating the way you are. I found it really helped me to “get” why I interact the way I do & the way others interact with me. Though I always liked being introverted, I never “got” why it was so puzzling to others & now I do. Which means I can better “fake it” when I need to (job & social events) without feeling like it’s because I’m odd or broken.

      Anyways, I’ve said a lot here but it’s a subject that doesn’t get enough attention, in my humble (?) introverted opinion!
      Cheers

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  • Rosetta

    Thanks for the article. I am 25 and I have fought a long battle in the area of shyness. I know its origin is some really painful childhood experiences in form of mental abuse, i became withdrawn but I was indeed bright in school (I am a professional in real estate ). I came to realize that the person who was mistreating me had a problem HIMSELF and it was not me. I have learnt to love and accept myself, am not afraid to tell someone that I am an introvert and I dont like partying up to dawn and they respect me for it.(I used to feel inadequate and envy those who were considered ‘life of the party’). All in all, this is a journey, I keep falling every now and then but the most important thing is, i am patient with me and rise every time I fall. My confidence keeps on growing everyday and I love it, I love life and I am happy. lol

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  • Kate

    Hi,

    Like everyone here i understand what you mean- this has been of benefit to me, so thank you.
    Also, seeing that there are so many people who have the same problem is comforting, since much of this problem revolves around the idea of being the ‘only weird one’!
    This is a common problem, and a well hidden one too It hinders you in all sorts of ways, causing anxiety and a choatic and unproductive mind. By eliminating this fear from your life, you open many new doors to changes and new experiences.

    You’re very thoughtful to have put this here, and clearly your caring nature has given hope to many people who are torturing themselves with this pointless worry.

    Like your style

    Good luck to everyone on the road to cure. :)
    Kate

  • http://yahoo.com.ph alice2191

    i was a victim of this problem. i was just confident if i know that the people around me is as good or as smart as me.there are things that i want to change in my life but i could not get it because of my shyness. fromthis article i feel that i am not the only one to experience this one.yes, we have different levels of shyness like an actor who is confident to act and have differnt roles but is shy to have an interview. its my experience and i just want to share it with the people around the world. i wish there will be a time that i will be as confident as anyone else.

  • victor

    article’s good ..but it will be helpful if we can interact with some people who have overcome their shyness and can share there real life experiences also.that will be very helpful .If anyone can help please post.

  • Toby

    Nice mate I think alot more people should realise you don’t always need drugs and a shrink to overcome this problem. Im currently a shy 15 year old and im determined to overcome this.

  • Kate

    I beleive that you can solve this problem with willpower. If you don’t think that- you might as well just accept it huh? What’s the point in even discussing it if you think you’re destined to feel that way forever?
    If anyone knows how crippling this can be I do- I get to the point where I thought everything I said sounded so ridiculous that I stopped speaking altogether. I did all I could to avoid people, wouldn’t answer the door or phone, and avoided all situations where I might be expected to speak. When there were people around I looked more stupid than ever because of how I felt!! Nothing more than that! Being uncomfortable with yourself makes you act weird/unstable- and of course nobody will take you seriously if you look like you feel stupid.
    Realizing this has almost solved my problem, however impossible this may sound: you MUST NOT CARE about it. If you do- you quite simply cannot get over it! Although this may offend some people (who are living in the beleif that everyone else makes them suffer)- it is a form of self obsession. No one really cares that much if you look a fool- they may even laugh (if they’re inconsiderate enough) but do you think they’d be bothered if you laughed at them? Maybe- but they wouldn’t let it govern their thoughts and effect their behaviour for the rest of their lives!
    Psychotherapists- what use are they going to be to someone who cannot understand why they have this problem? The key to controlling feelings (of inferiority) is controlling thoughts (which obviously trigger the feelings), and the only way you can control the thoughts is by UNDERSTANDING them. Once you know that IT DOES NOT MATTER, and look around you at all the fools (who are much louder and more noticable than us quiet people!) you’ll find less people laugh at you because you aren’t so obviously effected by their ‘bully’ mentality. Confidence is the only thing which determines whether or not someone is shy or not- there are no differences; we’re all human! Everyone feels a twat sometimes! Some people can’t stand it and are constantly reliving the memory, becoming hateful of other people who (they think) make them feel bad. Actually the only people who make us feel bad are ourselves- because we LET OUR SURROUNDINGS CONTROL US!!!

  • Katie

    I totally agree. If you just realize that it’s meaningless to think about what others are thinking then you won’t feel like such a weirdo when you say things outloud. I’m just now starting college and i’m forced to socialize with others so it’s good for me to have to talk to other people and make friends that way and have a better time. :-)

    • Kate

      It’s good to hear that people are resolving their issues!
      People are habitual beings, and like everything else, shyness is a bad habit. Once you make speaking your mind a new habit, it will stick, and it’s great to replace such a dominant hindrance to your life with a something that makes you happy! It’s natural for humans to communicate- we need it..
      I can’t beleive I’m so much better these days- I never thought I’d stop feeling so stupid, but I really am recovering- it can be done!
      One thing I’ve realised is that doing something productive (such as a new hobbie) with your time alone also builds your confidence, plus it gives you something to say when something’s thrown at you…
      College will be good for you, and give you something to focus on. I did that last year and enjoyed it, and I’ve got good results too!

      Being introverted… in my opinion it’s a good thing. Some people don’t half blabber on about rubbish! at least we don’t do that hey?!

  • peter

    great article
    really helpfull stuff

    ps
    your missing a “be”
    at the basketball part
    can “be” selfish

    just trying to be helpful

  • shadeofgray

    i will try.

  • Evan Zhou

    Hi my name is Evan Zhou and I am a sufferer of shyness in front of people. All my life I have been afraid to cmmunicate with people for some unknown reason. As a result, I have a very limited amount of connection with people. In school, I would quite wastefully watch other school kids socialise and get along. I am not really blaming anyone, just a sense of frustration towards my self at what I can’t do that others find so easy and simple. Alot of the time, others discriminate against me because of my “only the lonely satus”. I am posting this message because I really only want to talk to someone for a problem that I have fought all my life. Deep down inside my heart is breaking sometimes, this weakness that I have in front of other people has been a major strain on my social life as I struggle to hold on to the only few friends that I have. Lately I have decided to try to overcome my shyness and come out more open in front of people. Thank you, that is all I want to say, please understand me.

    • Scott

      I hear ya bro.

      I wish you the best.

  • Evan Zhou

    PS: I will never give up trying to overcome my problem!

  • KLL

    Evan, I completely know how you feel for I have the exact same thing. I think in school it’s even a tad worse because you’re basically judged on this particular aspect of your personality. I have been trying also to overcome my shyness bit by bit, and I think partly it’s working, but unlike my mother who used to be unbelievably shy as a child and is now nothing alike, I don’t think it’s something I’ll rid off completely. Actually, I think it was gone for a period of time but it came back eventually. It always comes back. I think it’s part of my personality, and one way or another it feels like a huge part of myself would be gone if I lost it. I’m learning how to switch off my shyness in the moments that really matter, but as for the rest, I’ve gone to accept it. Besides, being social and outgoing isn’t everything, either. I’ve experienced one or two years being like that, and I completely lost myself. It took me a month to rid of all the phony friends I’d made and about two years to recover my sense of self. Zon’t get me wrong, this social intimidity hands out a lot of frustrations and issues, but I don’t think you should necessarily see it as a weakness. From time to time it can be a strength.

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  • http://themasterssecretkey.com Candace

    Self improvement and empowerment would be helpful to those who are shy. This would allow them to be more confident and secure so that when they do say something or speak sometimes everyone will agree or disagree. This isn’t necessarily a personal thing but some take it as such.

  • jen

    Thank you for writing about this topic. I have been shy most of my life. I tend to go in rollercoaster cycles where I’m happy, confident and more-so outgoing, then something happens and I lose my confidence and retreat back to myself. I do love spending time alone, being around people is sometimes stressful for me and being alone allows me to recharge. It’s hard for me to have good relationships with my friends. I don’t really belong in a group of friends, more like a friend from this group, a friend from that group. It’s nice in the sense that my friends are spread around, but it’s hard when they are off doing things with their group and I’m left alone. I’ve never had a boyfriend, mostly because of my shyness. It’s hard for me to gather up enough confidence to overcome my social fears. This article seemed to really get where I am coming from and offered some good tips. Thank you Mr. Wesley! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this corner.

  • http://shonspeaks.com Shon

    Hello. I really enjoyed the article and all of the comments.

    I’m 24 years old and recently got married. My spouse is the only person I have ever opened up to fully in my life. I have been shy for as long as I remember. It started with fear of being rejected or made fun of, and progressed into not caring about what people thought (at least that is what I told myself) and choose not to let them know the real me. As I got closer to getting married I really wanted to open up more and let people see why my spouse wanted to marry me (especially my in-laws) and get see my goofy personality. But I noticed some common social behaviors I have never learned or practiced and I just get stuck with not knowing what to do. I still struggle with it daily, but I started to open up little by little.

    And I have always loved to write (which I learned here makes sense being a shy person) and started with a blog http://www.shonspeaks.com and I want to put myself in more social situations so I can get some practice.

    -Shon

  • http://timelesslessons.com Valeria | TimelessLessons

    I too understand so much of what you are saying here. I live this life as well. Thank you for speaking out.

  • Jane

    I disagree. I have always been shy. I am not insecure nor am I afraid. I find that loud talkative people say far less than the quiet ones.

  • John

    This is a great article for anyone to put into practice in their life. As an attorney, I am the shyiest person in court. You will see up to 20 attorneys in one courtroom, and I am the only quiet person in there. My wife would ask me what made me go into law. My answer was to become an outwardly person. Slowly, I am overcoming my shyness. Your article gives great insight to me. I will definitely put it to practice. Thank you for the advice.

  • Michael

    I really liked the way this article was written as the message being put across is simple yet powerful in the way it is told. I never really looked at shyness as a selfish act until reading this piece, but it makes sense. Holding back your thoughts and opinions is self-centred as a shy person will more often than not direct their emotions and feelings inwardly to avoid embarrassment and ridicule. However I don’t see this as a bad thing, as people like this are normally nice and pleasant when you get to know them a little better and they are more willing to voice their thoughts. This is a nice quality to have as a person but it has its advantages and disadvantages.

    I feel for people who hold themselves back, because I’m quite shy myself. Like many others, I’m shy around people because I don’t want to open myself up and appear vulnerable. I have been through a lot of hardship and tough times in my life so far, and I just don’t feel comfortable being open about myself unless I’m talking to someone I really trust. I don’t want to come across as a whinger, but its just what I honestly feel. With people I know like family and good friends, I can be loud (not the annoying obnoxious kind of loud) but loud enough to voice my opinions and be communicative.

    It just frustrates me though that shyness is perceived as a negative quality. I understand that shyness to a certain degree holds you back from fulfilling your potential, but as long as you don’t let the shyness get in the way of what you want to achieve, then there is nothing wrong about being shy. However, this article was very insightful and it made me think at a deeper level about the causes of my shyness and where it has rooted from. The two main causes of shyness, as mentioned in the article, oversensitivity and insecurity, can definately be related to myself and perhaps why I am shy in certain social environments. I’m definately a sensitive person and like many people, I have insecurities about myself.

    However many people perceive me as shy and quiet and I think they are immediately put off by my nature. I felt as though I need to be louder and a bit more assertive so people will warm to me. I’m still uncertain as to how I approach this situation but reading really good articles like this will definately help me deal with this problem and understand myself a little better.

  • Jon

    this article helped me alot
    let me also say that life isnt very long if you want to be an “out of the box person” go for it.. people arnt going to think less of you if you sound stupid or mess up…think about if you were them…you look at people that are more “vocal” than you are and you see them as a productive and happy person…but on that note BE YOURSELF…be confident and GO FOR OPPORTUNITIES when they arrise…with a positive attitude, it helps me
    I hope this was helpful,
    jon

  • Ted

    This article has to be one of the best ive ever read in my life, it relates to me so much, ive always been scared to open my mouth its like i much rather be miserable and not take a risk then take a risk and see what happens talking wise i mean. ive always been scared to speak my mind but now after reading this article i realize that theres no point for all that self conciousness. I was given a voice for a reason why not use it, shyness has made me into something i never wanted to be and now after reading your article i just dont care anymore id rather give up shyness then stay the way i am.

  • Alex

    Shyness doesn’t need to be overcome.

  • http://www.myspace.com/joshuaandrewvoss Josh

    I enjoyed your writing. It helped direct my soul outward instead of keeping it sheltered inward. Introverts need to learn how to become Extroverted sometimes, and Extroverts need to learn how to become introverted sometimes, I guess… Thanks for the advice. Keep up the writing.

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  • Brandon Parkinson

    This was awesome. I’m a senior and all of the things mentioned above apply to me. I have this fantasy misconception that ppl will react negatively to what I say. I will use this advice to improve my success in my social life.

  • Amo

    This is a great article! Thanks for your thoughts and insights. Shyness has something to do with fear, the fear of embarresment, the fear of what others think of you. It is very possible that people with extreme shyness may have had a bad past, for example, being left out at school. I was a very shy person myself. It was due to my past. I had speech delay during my childhood and early teens. This brought my confidence right down. I did not speak, becuase if I did, I was scared of what other people thought of me. Other students not welcoming my contributions or picking on me did not help either. Even at social gatherins I would constantly stick around my cousins and people would say “look, there is that quite boy who does not talk to anyone”. I don’t know why thay would say that, they did not understand my problem. This word got out and a lot of people percieve me as a natural shy person, this did not help either. My speech delay as healed and since enrolling at college, I have opened up and began learning social and communication skills. I am still a shy person but not as extremely shy as I used to be. In my opinion, shy people need to push themselves and take it in small steps at a time. I did not value myself, I was scared of what other people thought of me. Again, thanks for this article, it will help me on curing my shyness.

  • Amo

    I have also found out that even if you do contribute and engage in discussion or try to engage in a discussion (groups) the rest of the group will not enthusiastically respond to the individual. Subconsciously, they will know that you are a shy person and treat you like a lesser person from my expeirences. At times I tried to engage in a group discussion, they were constantly talking about their own stuff and even if try, they did not even make eye contact with me, not even talking to me! Even if I get the basic social skills right!
    Then again, by a large the majority are welcome to conversation or discussion and respond in a positive manner.

  • http://www.thinksayact.com Paul D

    I am naturally a shy person around people I don’t know but when I am around my friends I open up a lot. I think I need to be more comfortable with myself and then it wont matter who I am around – I will value my own opinion enough to speak up around anybody.

  • http://blog.dreambuilders.com.au/journal/rss.xml Liara Covert

    The “don’t take it personally” point is a fundamental one which can empower people to rise above self-created illusions. You can also choose to believe shyness does not exist and dissolve that mindset in yourself. When you believe in something, it matters and you evolve to become what you think about. Stop thinking about that particular thing or trait, and you may be amazed at how you transform unconsciously and consciously away from it.

  • Jack

    hi this is a good article for the internet. makes sense and gives a different perspective.
    to overcome shyness it needs to really be a constant battle for months on end, and it needs to take real effort.

    good job!

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  • Bob

    I’m sort of bi-polar when it comes to shyness. I can be pretty loud at times, mostly around people I already know. But in a big, loud party situation with a lot of random people, I tend to freeze. My absolute worst moments come in casual moments with girls that I think are attractive. I honestly can’t think of anything more difficult than talking with cute girls. Thinking about it right now really puts a sinking feeling in my chest. I’m absolutely sick of being so terrified, but I have no idea where to start on changing myself.

  • Amo

    I think one of the most essential point is to stop being so self conscious about one’s self. One should not care what others think or say about them and be as natural as one can be. This takes practice and one has got to do it consistently.

  • mel

    great article.

    growing up i was painfully shy and that has hindered my life and growth in so many ways. over the years i have managed to ‘come of out of my shell’ but still there are lingering moments of shyness.

    think parents have a big role to play, by encouraging children, making them feel appreiciated and just to reaffirm that they are capable.

  • Jordan

    haha. I just spent 5 minutes hyper-analyzing my comment. not afraid of what people think or anything….

    I’m a shy person writing a psych paper on shyness. I used this as a source (cited in proper MLA format of course). I’m trying to use sources written by other shy people; otherwise they just sound too clinical and detached. Thanks =)

    • http://www.shonspeaks.com Shon

      Hi Jordan,
      I don’t mind if you cite my blog for your psych paper. http://www.shonspeaks.com. Good Luck

  • Summer

    Just want to say, this is really effective. I’ve always been excruciatingly shy (if you say hi to me, I dive under the desk to hide). I’ve read a TON of books about how to overcome it, but none of them had the ideas listed here. Of course, none of them worked for me

    I esp like “The Duty to Contribute” and the basketball analogy. I got to thinking about it and realised that it is true; if I have thought of something that the others should know about, I should bring it up. I tried it out and I find that I’m slightly more confident.

    Thanks so very much :)

  • Kendra

    It’s rare when I read something and still think about it months later. Yes, I remember concepts, but this article really stuck, and helped. John is awesome. I’ll go read more of your articles now, thankyouverymuch!

  • esther

    Am a shy person myself. thanks for your write up,it quiet helpful. i have determine to speak up in publis and not bother what people say anymore, because shyness have cause me my effectiveness in my work place.

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  • Zahra

    I feel I will never be able to overcome shyness…I am VERY shy and it bothers me like hell coz it come in my way at work and social gatherings…I miss opportunities and then feel like a loser!

    I have no idea how to overcome this, Im finding it difficult.

    I cannot be spontaneous and dont speak my thoughts, so I appear dull when Im conversing with someone.

    Also, I feel being well-read on different subjects helps to overcome shyness, as you feel prepared when you are engaged in any conversation. This again is my drawback, as Im not that well-read on subjects liek politics and history.

  • janette de rio

    when i talk i feel people are going to talk about me and say bad things, and i cant see people by there eyes i get red and nervious and i hate when they look at me

  • janette de rio

    and im tired of being shy because im 18 going to turn 19 and im still shy and my dad said when this year finish i need to get ready to work.

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  • Charnae

    GREAT ARTICLE! WORDS CAN’T EXPRESS HOW MUCH THIS HELPED ME!

  • Joe

    I can’t agree any mome.

  • anintrovert

    hopefuly, this will change my life :D
    thanks!

  • Neal

    Some people are more shy than others…

  • http://yahoo.com tintin

    great! excited to apply your advices! and soon share them to our students..thank a lot

  • duncan

    ever since i was a little kid i have been shy. i hav had some friends but for the most part EVERY year i have been in school i havent really had any real friends. i would sit by myself wishing i could just reveal the real me to other people. im now 16 a junior in high school i have some friends but when im sitting with them at lunch its like i want to talk to them but i cant. i do go out with them sometimes but when they do stuff like go to parties im usually left out. basically what im tryin to say is the people that i consider my friends i cant open up to them. when im around my family im always crackin jokes, makin people laugh but when im at school i just freeze up and dont say anything and when i do try to open up it just seems awkward and uncomfortable. i really really dont want to live my life like this anymore because ive dealt with shyness and being uncomfortable around people for like 10yrs man and im sick of it. i know i can get along with people because i have the same intrests as most people and people are always telling me im nice. all i want is reveal that crazy funny side of me that i know i have.

    • stazy

      duncan, ure so much better than that. just keep trying to talk to them… one out of the ordinary sentence per day. and maybe itll be easier if u try talking to one of ur friends alone (i personally find it easier to talk to people when its one on one). nd then try talking to another friend one on one. i know that for me i always found it easier to connect and be less shy when its jsut me and someone else..the pressure gets taken off a bit. and then maybe wen u n ur friends get together again..ull feel more comfortable talking to the same people u connected with individually

  • http://www.innerzine.com Amy Twain

    Wow, a great post. very well said. You nailed it right there. Comprehensive insights and great advice for the shy everywhere around the world.

    You’re right when you said that, “Don’t let one or two bad experiences dictate your entire opinion of humanity.”

    Anyone can relate to being shy at one point in our lives. I, too have a shy past, (http://www.innerzine.com/self-esteem/how-to-overcome-nervousness) I wasn’t exempted by the clutches of shyness.

    Yes, it’s important to overcome shyness and we need to have a healthy self esteem so that we can be the best of what are made to be.

    http://www.fabulousselfesteem.com

    To your success,
    Amy Twain

  • http://www.healsocialanxiety.com Phil

    I have been greatly helped with my compulsive shyness by attending Social Phobics Anonymous support groups (also known as Social Anxiety Anonymous. They have free local and also free telephone conference call support groups.

    They also have a free literature web page. The address for that is http://www.spalibrary.info

  • http://www.healsocialanxiety.com Phil

    I forgot to post their main web page: http://www.healsocialanxiety.com

    (Again that’s for Social Phobics Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous)

  • Ese

    This is interesting… I’m soo excited cos i’m on my way to a new shyless me.

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  • Kristina

    I have no problems when talking to one person, but most of times when in a group of people, even if I know them all well, I fear opening up.
    Realising the major disadvantage of this in MANY areas of life, I have decided that nothing is more worthwhile than trying to overcome the social phobia in no matter what cost. I have analyzed the problem and this has led me to a conclusion that in any social event there is a major possibility of making a fool out of yourself. Whatever the outcome of what I say and how I say it, it cannot be worse than living a mundane and lonely life. Im not saying that people make one`s existence worthwhile, im saying that sharing one`s existence/expressing oneself is what makes it more worthwhile. I think any given moment is subject to past and therefore it shall be forgotten, so no point holding on to it too much, dwelling on past bad experiences, like you said.
    Anyhow, my experiment of expressing myself more has proven that shyness is a habit and can be changed. It is very uncomfortable in the beginning and at times it did not seem to be working, but in fact I realise that I now care less of the criticisms of others and it helps me to speak up.
    Liked the article, thanks.

    ps. activities of self expression are also of help- writing a diary or drawing etc. :)

    • Cristian Robles

      thanks Kristina! i think your advice will help me out a lot. yea it’s true i think too much of what people will think of me. at home i’m crazy. at school i’m *yawn*..boring! i shouldn’t care if people thinnk i’m gay or stupid. at home my family likes me and i’m able to make my bro and sis laugh. why shouldn’t i act the same with other people? anyway, thanks. if you could overcome your fear, so can I!! :D

  • Kristina

    yeah thats it- too much worry about other`s reactions. I find that most people think that they are more important to other`s than they actually are. Noone`s gonna actually dwell on other`s sayings and personality as much as we think.
    My experiment is rather hard, but I feel that at least I have taken a direction and moving towards sth better. Good luck! keep on reading about other shy people for motivation:-)

  • abraham

    this was damn gud… some problems discussed here were exactly ma problems…i always have the feeling “oh shit wat am i gonna do… am i gonna make a fool of myself…u r a stupid… u r an idiot…blah blah blah…”especially this happens when i go shopping alone… i wait in front of the shop for may be 2 minutes… the conversation as mentioned above will be repeating itself in my head… then sometimes, i walk away and sometimes i pull myself in to the shop. there were many at times i walked away and then got a feeling tat i’m not a man and went back to the shop..so i always try to pull my friends for shopping….wen i’m wid ma friends and ma family i talk to them with ease express myself…but suddenly a new person joins our gang or a person comes for dinner then i cant find topics to speak…my friends always say that i am always a better company wen i am drunk. basically i feel the problem with me just fear to express.. lets c if i can reconstruct the new shyless me… and yeah more advices and suggestions are always welcome…

  • Saad Sikandar

    WOW this article is really something and it is very comforting to read all the comments here and now i know that there are also people out there like me …

    I have a twin brother and he is very out-going and most of the people love him for him openness toward them … He sometimes use self-deprecating humor without any shyness at all … While on the other hand i am very shy and introvert and always get nervous, draw a blank, Stutters, Talk Fast when talking to stranger or opposite sex which is truly a bummer …
    I am a good talker and make people laugh when it comes to my friends and Family … But the thing is all the friends i have is because of my twin brother and i dont want to be dependent on him …

    When my father noticed my shyness , He told me that he had the same problem when he was in college even though he had alot of money, a apartment and a car AND all the students in the college wanted to be his friend .. But he didn’t overcame his shyness for a very long time
    He told me that he didn’t wanted me to have the same problem as he once had …. He gave me some advices on how to overcome my shyness and i have to say that it is really working and have met alot of wonderful people…

    • Cristian Robles

      Hi! I’m the same as you. a shy person. you can read my comment in the article, it’s somewhere at the top. i have improved on my shyness compared to last year. i was like emo. lol. any way can you tell me some the advices your dad told you please? i would really appreciate it. thank-you!! :p (my email is elemental_fire@sbcglobal.net)

    • http://kix kix

      Could you share your fathers tips with me aswell? I would be very grateful :)
      My e-mail is nyjasis@hot.ee

  • Jemma

    I found myself smiling at so many points in your article, just having my issues verbalised in writing and realising how irrational they all are. I’ve just started university and none of my high school friends are at the same one, so I’m pretty much an anxious/shy wreck when it comes to everything I do. In lectures I can’t pluck up the courage to introduce myself to people next to me, fumble and am way too self-conscious about my every movement. Some people have made the first move, and I’ve been tongue-tied, the conversation deteriorates, then I basically bail without saying goodbye. I’m pretty much jeopardising any chance I have of making friends…so after reading this I’m making a promise to myself to put myself out there and introduce myself and overcome shyness!

  • …….

    Yes, you advice is good.
    Now i cant overcome shyness i research and i have socailpobia and i have depression.
    it drive me nuts PLEASE HELP ME PLEASE REPLY IF YOU HAVE THE ANSWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Irene

    Hi!!
    Last night I was looking for some tips on overcoming shyness and I found this article. I really liked it!!
    I am a very shy person. When I am with my family I am pretty open but with friends it is way different. They ask me very often if im mad, angry, depressed or something like that because I would never speak. During club meetings, I am usually the one who is always observing and the one who would never speak up.It feels a little uncomfortable at times because people expect to hear something from me but i cannot think on anything. When I propose to myself to participate at meetings or during class, i can never come up with anything to say. It seems like the more i think about it the more blank my mind goes. =( Most of the time I am scared of not pronouncing the words correctly. English is my second language, so Im scared of not being clear engough. =( I am not ashamed of my accent but I dont know why I am so scared!!!

    Anyone would like to give me an advice??

    Thank you for your time!! =D

  • abraham

    the thing wht i learned by getting involved in conversation is tat v think too much about what v r gonna say… and worry about it.. instead just concentrate on the topic of the conversation and listen to wat different people talk and then u’ll find things coming to u…now at first u may find it difficult to tell out wht exactly ur mind thinks off but just be patient and have confidence in urself… u’ll soon find urself making real gud arguments and dialogues… just give urself sometime…n most importantly trust urself…

    Well I dont know how many indians here but i’m gonna tell about a dialogue from a bollywood movie called “3 idiots..”In it Amir Khan (the hero) tells like wen ever u have a problem or u get stuck just patt ur own heart and say “all is well” to urself(try saying it with the indian accent…works better..)… now it may sound real stupid but did a little bit of work on me…

  • Fabrizio

    This is a great way to see that we are all after all humans very different from each other, but at the same time very similar. Today I have learned a lot from the article and comments. I just want to say that I’m shy now and will not let it controll me, my life, my future and will fight until I eliminate it from my life for good.
    Its good never to give up, thats why I’ll fight till the end and will post another comment once I overcome this “obsticle” that is not letting me live my life to its fullest but that once I overcome it, it will make me stronger. And I will tell how my life has changed sice TODAY.

  • DAn

    wow, im surprised at how unbelievably similair that is to my life, im afraid of embarrasment because my dad was always so dam sarcastic and always teased me. the one thing i dont understand is, how would i let go of it?, i try to but part of me constantly reminds me, and i dont have any good experiences of speaking out i can hold on to.

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  • wendy

    One quote that is helping me significantly is: ” The mind is everything what you think, you become.” Our minds are so powerful, so if we put labels on ourselves, our mind filters everything through those labels. Then our experiences help reinforce everything and it becomes a malicious cycle of poor self-imaging. Negative repitition helps make it true to us. The answer is to change the way you think about yourself, be bold, for we are the creators of our experiences in this life. Conscious Positive repitition changes the subconscious through time, but it’s the best investment you can make, cause it’s your happiness and well-being in this life. And plainly, fuck psychiatrist’s and doctors most of them are treating symptoms not the root issues to milk your money.

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    Overcoming shyness can seem like a major challenge until you discover the best ways to approach it.

  • http://www.powerofapositivemind.com Ryan Critchett

    Great Article!

    It really makes sense to think of what other people may have went through that day to put them in the specific state they are in. I too truly believe that most people are more concerned about how they appear and are coming off than anything else. Act as if you weren’t shy, consistently, and you will have developed the habit of certainty. Great article

  • Jeremy

    As a friend told me, You only live one life, so make it
    exciting, and worthwild~!

  • mak

    hey !!! really interesting and practical things that have been talked about ….shyness is a hinderence in one success and should be overcome as soon as possible.

  • Reggie Menezes

    Wow… the article is cool and will leave a mark on many. And will also boost the moral of many people going to read this.

  • http://www.roshanayi0.blogfa.com zer0

    very nice article…. thank u…

  • Aris

    Great article! It helps me a little so far though, I still need to work on how to overcome my shyness. I’d say that I’m the most shy boy in my college. Over all my friends in my English class, I have 0 marks for not saying even a single word in a presentation a few days ago.

  • Maggie

    Im a singer and i can sing with a buch of people really easily, but when it comes to singing by myself my voice cracks and i sing the wrong notes. Its all becuase i care too much about what people will think of me. Someone very close to me told me not to care so much about what other people think of me. And i told her its easier said then done. And its not just being in front of other people, its guys too. I never ask a guy out becuase 1 im shy and 2 i hate being rejected. Is there anything i can do to change this?

    • Mandy

      well maggie, what your friend said truly is easier said than done. I am going through a rough time in sort of the sam situation. if you are comfortable about who you are and stand your presence in the room, you will be totaly fine. its like with clothes, if you are scared to wear something because you think people might make fun of it but you wear it anyway, people will make fun of it because you are not confident about yourself. if you wear it and are comfortable becasue you like it then everyone will see you for who you are and it will all work. you shouldnt be afraid to sing in front of others. singing is a great gift so show it off. know that you are great and it wont change if someone is looking at you, if your wearing a great outfit does that change because someone is looking at you.. no. just be comfortable and comfident. plus its not the worst thing that can happen if your voice cracks for a second, will that be the most important thing in your life to look back on…. not even close so just enjoy and smile. happy healthy wishes :)

  • Mandy

    i used to be so outgoing and great around eveyone. Just in the past two years i have been getting very shy and have been told anti social. I am great and fun when i am with people who are (not to be mean) “less cool than me”. But if the people are what i believe or what other people coned as “the cool people” then i am very bad at the social stuff. Even if they might be at my level or are my “friends” i still can feel shy around them. I wont know what to say and will always be on the outside of the circle…literally. I feel like they dont even notice me. I can say something and they wont respond, i can stand there and i feel like the dont see. i really want to overcome this. I am fine with family, very close friends and the people i have known forever and talk to alot, but if i just and friends with them at school and not super close and in the “in crowd thing” then i am super shy. I feel so uncomfortable. I have less and less friends now. I really want to change for next year. Please help!!! any suggestions??????!!!!!!!!!!

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    yeah,i’m always so shy infront of a lot of people!

  • gayathri

    Well this is the article i needed to go through.. the biggest drawback mine is shyness… i got many deep thoughts but no words to tell it out…really speaking i am afraid of people… I could never put up myself in best… due to this shyness i started developing lack of self confidence…Let me Bring a full stop to this… Thanks

  • j1234

    as a shy person i found that before i say something i usually think about what i am saying and think myself out of saying it. although stil a bit shy ,i started using the 3 second rule- saying what i feel within 3 seconds of thinking it. it stops myself staying quiet and its pretty useful. hpe u find it useful

  • j1234

    forgot to say that it basicly eliminates the chances of u thinking urself out of saying things. start using it in smaller situations in small groups andthen build up. it helps

    • Mandy

      thank you so much for responding to my comment. I will try that. I really appreciate you doing this. Be Happy

  • Daniel

    Thank you, this article is really inspiring me to battle my shyness, it has held me back so much in life. I’m sick and tired of it, we need to start enjoying our lives.

  • j1234

    http://selftherapy.org/listen/ tried it once now. gna keep doing i. was uplifting. itsall about being able to accept feelings which occur in situations. and contacting the feelings. it seems very good. try it and write your reactions back here. would like to see if its useful for others.

  • terrell

    Love the article. Provides great insight and motivation. Helped me!

  • jam

    really good insight – will bookmark and read as much as possible to drum the facts home. shyness holds so many people back and drains us of the person we could be, such a shame when everyone has something different to offer.

  • overshy

    nice article, its may help people to overcome shyness

    cheers

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    Very good read, I am still struggling with this issue :)

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    This is a real tough one to overcome and people that haven’t been there just won’t understand. You need to keep at it though.

  • Ru

    very true. one of the things that i really liked about this article is to not be too concern about the mistakes that you might make. its better to do somethings right and wrong rather than not doing anything.

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    Love the article. Provides great insight and motivation. Helped me!

  • http://helpmebeconfident.blogspot.com/ Mike Shaw

    This is a seriously detailed blog, with lots of usefull information.

    I suffer from shyness, and set up my own blog because of this.

    I hope that I can create articles as good as this in the near future.

  • http://www.shyFAQ.com Tim Arends

    A shy person’s fear is not totally irrational. Part of it grows out of an inability to think of something to say or difficulty making conversation. Therefore, improving your conversation skill is important. As for negative thoughts, the best way I have found to combat these is to say to myself, “stop!” as soon as one comes up and then think of something pleasant. Sometimes I have to say “stop” to myself several times a day.

  • Taryn

    I have the same problem, and am only now learning to cope with it (I’m 36). One thing I learnt recently, which I wish with all my heart that I’d known when I was still at school, is to smile. I’m sure I wouldn’t have spent so many lonely hours by myself if I’d known. People have believed me to be aloof and bitchy all my life, when all I was, was petrified inside. Now that I’ve started smiling, even though I look like a goofy idiot half the time, the other half, people actually smile back and talk to me. A breakthrough! How my life would have been different if I’d known earlier! I am still terrified when I’m with a man I really, really like. Therefore, I have always been out with guys who don’t interest me too much and who don’t intimidate me. Obviously, my relationships have been terribly boring for me. I have now met a man I’m totally crazy about, who for some reason is still hanging around, even though I hardly spoke to him for the first 8 months. Most guys give up after the first week. Now, being in this situation regularly, it has given me an opportunity to actually ‘watch’ myself. I have found that not only can I not think of anything to say, but my whole body tenses up, and my breathing becomes short. So now I’ve been practicing, when I’m with this guy, to take deep breaths, and to relax my body, and also to move my body naturally, and not just sit there like a statue. The amazing thing is that in making myself move and breath, suddenly talking isn’t that difficult. I have to concentrate really hard to move, but it is paying off, and I’m really happy to say that I’m becoming more myself, and the me I want me to be.

  • Gladys

    This was a great article, some things in there I’d never thought about before.
    “He called it a, “silly, foolish habit,” and said, “the sooner you can break it the better.” Shyness doesn’t benefit anyone. Saving yourself a little embarrassment doesn’t amount to much in the long run.”

    This just depresses me, because it’s true, and yet no matter how many times a day I tell myself I’m just as worthy as others, that my opinions and ideas matter, my shyness somehow, someway, still ALWAYS manages to sneak up on me at one point or another. And I don’t agree that it’s a “Foolish, silly habit.” It is NOT foolish and silly, it is a serious issue that affects many people and can’t just be broken overnight. I’ve been dealing with it for years; I’m 22 and it’s gotten better since high school, but there are still so many times where it will dictate my day. It’s just so frustrating because it’s like no matter how hard I try, I can’t get anywhere. Sometimes I get so exhausted from all the effort that I can’t bring myself to keep going all day long. And talking to members of the opposite sex, that’s near impossible most days, especially if I find them particularly attractive despite not even an attraction towards them personally. I feel like an outsider, I see people my age mingling all the time, all over the place, and it’s like they’re on that side, and I’m on this side and that’s the way it’s always going to be. Last year, me and this one guy would sometimes talk at work, no problem. And he wasn’t here all summer, and now he’s back and it’s like those conversations never even happened, like we pretend they didn’t. And I’m petrified whenever I see him so I just scurry the other way, I might say a few words but I feel like running away because I’m not sure what to say or if he even wants to talk to me. THAT might be silly, but it’s scary for a shy person – it’s in the way we monitor things, it’s so deep in our system that by the time you’ve fought through it in your mind, actually carrying out the deed becomes exhausting in its own way. I LITERALLY get tired talking to people; and no one, not even my closest friends, get that. One of my friends has sometimes called me anti-social, and I’ll say I’m not, even though I know to a degree I am, and wish I could tell her just how hard it is and that she’ll NEVER know because she can talk to ANYONE. Everything affects someone who suffers from shyness, even the simplest little things that other people wouldn’ even THINK about, something as “small” as saying hi to someone or as mundane as being as quick as possible in the checkout line so that you don’t “hold up the line” and start irritating people that waiting behind you. I know some of it is very silly, and perhaps even foolish, but most of it goes far beyond that. For me personally, is is NOT about vanity or a form of “egotism,” but it just is the way I’ve always been no matter how often I’ve tried to break free of it. I don’t think I’ll ever be fully free of it, but I do hope to break down that barrier more by the day, month, and as the years go by. It’s not easy, it is NEVER easy, but I hope one day I can look back and see that I’ve come further in triumphing over this terrible condition.

  • missP

    Excellent article! As a shy person, who often feels that what I have to say isn’t good/interesting/funny/etc enough you have definitely given me a lot to think about! The last section about us having a duty to contribute was the most effective part for me. Thanks a bunch!!

  • a

    does anyone know of info/ books/ articles/ studies on the relationship between shyness and PTSD or lasting trauma?

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    i’m always so shy in front of a lot of people!

  • lolanyc

    This article is a bunch of easier said than done.. I agree with alot of people on here that they have problems talking with teh opposite sex. My BF and I are alike and we are having problems talking. He intimidates me he is hot smart successful athletic,, and I love him but Im afraid to talk because he might think im stupid. I have anxiety also with his family. and this isnt the 1st bf ive had these problems with. I find that the more insecure i feel the worst it gets. If i meet someone who I could care less about then im chatty cathy! The more i care the less i talk. and i ruin everything. Its actually scarey. Like im self sabatoging myself. I get that sinking feeling, butterflies, look around wonder if people are noticing how quiet i am. THEN whats worse is when my BF calls attention to it like why r u so quiet.. what do u have to say to that. and i feel put on the spot, like giving a speach in school. geeze maybe thats where it all started. I always had that fear. Im in my 30s how do i overcome this!!!

  • calg

    I cried when I read this, because its what I’ve needed to hear for a very long time. Thank you.

  • AnimeShyDrawing

    i’m still shy i’m 12yrs old lol but i have been loud around my friends lately even last year.but i still have problems of being shy i haven’t been trying on going to my friends house on weekends only my friends that are closer to me.And maybe because i watch too much anime or i want to keep on drawing anime and look at drawing anime tutorials.All the stuff you said on overcoming shyness (all that stuff) is actually things i been through.But i do show my drawing talents to ppl i just met and my friends.

    P.S. I loved anime so much i think half of my personality has become anime.i been experiencing my reactions even when i do them.(Jeez aren’t i special hehe)

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    It’s ok to be shy. Accept that you are 1st, then make efforts everyday to becoming more social, every step forward counts!

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    If forcing yourself to do something everyday pisses you off, you’ll likely never get to the state of mind I’m describing

  • mostafa

    this is a GREAT article…. and specially the comments… thanx a lot :)
    when i read the article and comments i felt like I was the one talking, and that makes me happy to know that i’m not alone and that other people have my exact feelings.
    being shy SUCKS like hell!! it really does, i mean i’m great when i’m with my family and feel like i’m being myself but when i face others suddenly i become frightened and lack confidence.
    i know that i am a very interesting person and that people would adore me if they saw the real me but i just cant show that because of this fear that builds up inside me, and i hate it… i wish that i could just shout whenever i want to and just walk to a girl i like and start talking to her, i want to be able to speak out when i have an opinion in my class or anywhere else…
    i think the best way to overcome this fear is to have activities and hobbies and participate in those activities like music clubs and dancing clubs (which apply to me cause i like music and dancing) to have the opportunity to show yourself to others and it might be hard at first but i know it will fade away because its different than talking… i’m also interested about the smiling thing.. although it does sound kinda goofy specially when i imagine it.. it might really work……. i really have much to say that i could write a book but i guess i’ll just stop now..
    again i really thank everyone from the writer to commenting people..
    much love and hope for the best

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    i think the best way to overcome this fear is to have activities and hobbies

  • Jaljeep

    I’m very shy.. And I read in the comments and find it true that the more I think about what to say the more my mind just goes blank but when I just listen to what people are saying stuff just pops into my head of my opinion on the subject… So I’m trying to work on that and I think a reason for my shyness may be how my dad was very strict wen I was young and allowed NO talking back or I would be yelled at or punished so I think I may be afraid to talk back to people because of that but I don’t know i just hope I can use the advice here to become more social

  • Crissy

    being shy makes life so difficult! during high school i didn’t have any friends and every day was lonely and eventually i just got more and more depressed, but i couldn’t bring myself to speak to people. then i took a gap year before uni because my depression was so bad, and i knew i wouldn’t cope otherwise. the gap year did help (in fact i think it was necessary because otherwise i would have had a mental breakdown) but my shyness hasn’t gone away all together. on my gap year, we did charity fundraising and basically you had to approach like at least 50 people a day (i’d say). i would have found this impossible normally but at that time i was so i guess ‘shook up’ psychologically (because of my depression) that i wouldn’t let myself feel shy… i kinda just cut off my feelings and did it… i learned a lot from that because now i can approach people and have a one-on-one conversation, and i don’t get as nervous about first meetings like i used to because i’ve learned not to care what strangers think about me. what i’ve also learned is people actually don’t care that much if you mess up, a lot of the time they don’t even listen to what you say lol. but i know that i thought ‘switching off’ those thoughts was impossible before… anyway, my problem now is that i get shy around people that i’ve already spoken to before, like i worry that i’m annoying them or they think i’m boring, i don’t care as much with people i don’t know but with acquaintances… and also i get bored and don’t really listen in a lot of conversations… and i get tired out by talking really easily. i think this comes of not being used to speaking a lot but i need to work on it because i don’t wanna live a lonely life for the rest of mine…

  • http://www.YourBusinessYourSelf.com Sue Mitchell

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with this. As a shy person, I have magnified those few times in childhood when I got a hurtful or embarrassing reaction and minimized all the thousands of times I’ve had a favorable response from people. I’m going to spend some time listing all the times I can think of when people have responded well and keep it handy!

    I just had an epiphany the other day that I’m extremely sensitive (I’ve built a protective shell that even had me fooled), so it was very validating to read your post saying that sensitivity is at the heart of shyness. Yes.

    Also agree about how seriously shyness can impact your life. I think sensitivity is a gift, but it’s important to learn how to live with it in ways that are advantageous, rather than letting it hold us back. This post helped!

  • http://www.k1.org k1

    I am so appreciative of these varied resources that have been published for anyone’s benefit.

  • Marlowe

    I never realized how unhealthily shy I am until I joined a high-school club and the president called me on it. Thanks for the help.

  • http://lovefwd.net Jennifer@Lovefwd.net

    It’s pretty amazing how subtle the effects of shyness on our daily life.
    Sometimes you simply choose to avoid some stuff without even thinking that the main reason u wish to avoid those stuff is because you are afraid of confrontations, because you are too shy.

    It’s so evident in dating and meeting a new partner.

    Great post.

    Jennifer

  • Awurabena

    I’ve learnt a lot from your articles. Naturally, I wouldn’t have posted a comment. I guess I’m finally overcoming my shyness. Thank you.

  • perlander williams

    I too am shy, and I do understand that it holds me back…I promise to overcome this shyness, thanks for the info.

  • Nicola

    I really enjoyed this article, and I hope to follow some of the well made points in it. I didn’t think that the following was useful though:

    ‘A college professor of mine used to make a big deal about overcoming shyness. He called it a, “silly, foolish habit,” and said, “the sooner you can break it the better.” Shyness doesn’t benefit anyone. Saving yourself a little embarrassment doesn’t amount to much in the long run.’

    I don’t choose to be shy, and to hear a trait of mine, especially one I feel insecure about, described in this manner is quite unhelpful.

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  • bill

    how can you talk with people if you have no clue what to say? with most people that is how i am. with a few people i can talk like there is no tomorrow.

  • keith

    Thanks ! You just helped me with shyness problem. Now, i’ll focus on self worth first then move to the other area ;)

  • Anna

    My shyness bothered me all my life a little but I refused to admit it. Until today when I asked my boyfriend: “So do you want me to go with you to that social event your friends are having on Friday?” And he (with best intentions) replied: “Well it would be easier to go by myself and b/s with them and not worry about leaving you somewhere in the corner. Because You are always quiet”. I cried after we hang up. And what a nice blog, I’ll start using it…

    • Emily

      Anna, I just read your comment and it reminded me of the many times this has happened with me. My boyfriend (of three and a half years) has stopped inviting me out or introducing me to new friends as 90% of the time if I do come I will end up crying in a toilet somewhere, or having to leave which is unfair to him as he feels torn between me and his friends. It’s hardest when the people closest to you point out your shyness as they’re the ones who should understand the most. I know this comment is a few months old but I just wanted to say that I understand what you were feeling and that I wish you all the luck to overcome your shyness and to feel happy.

  • Ramkumar

    Hi am ramkumar and am 22 years old and i completed my BE(cse).during the time of speak with others including my close friends i meet the problem of fear and stamaring.so i lose the lot of oppertunuties regarding my jobs.so pls help me how to avoid that problems…

  • Ramkumar

    Hi am ramkumar and am 22 years old and i completed my BE(use).during the time of speak with others including my close friends i meet the problem of fear and stammering.so i lose the lot of opportunities regarding my jobs.so pls help me how to avoid that problems and my mail ID: ramkuamr

  • Ramkumar

    Hi am ramkumar and am 22 years old and i completed my BE(cse).during the time of speak with others including my close friends i meet the problem of fear and stammering.so i lose the lot of opportunities regarding my jobs.so pls help me how to avoid that problems
    Mail ID:ramkumaravc@gmail.com

  • Amy

    Hi, I am a 29 year old who has dealt with shyness probably for around the last 5 years. I don’t have to much trouble speaking out in meetings. But I have problems face to face, and being a carer working face to face with the public is what I do on a daily basis. I can’t really explain or understand why it happens to me, when I meet people I come over with a sweat.. I don’t know what to say and I instantly go red! I think this is confidence above all. I’m getting a little tired of it as it stops me from doing a lot of things.. Essentialy growing up. I don’t earn enough to support my family and can never afford to do things with my partner or treat her to things, makes me feel inadequate. So I know the solution is to find a job/career that will earn me more, but the thought of it petrifies me.. I have no self worth and don’t think I am capable at things. Anyone have any advice or know where I could get some to help me beat this? Would be a great help

  • http://theshynessproject.wordpress.com/ Brittany

    Hi I enjoyed reading your blog post and the comments here! There are some positives about shyness and then there are some aspects of it that can really interfere with your life. Your advice is very true, and I think it’s good that you used it to deal with a lot of shyness in your life too.

    I recently started a blog myself (http://theshynessproject.wordpress.com/) to document a one year project to confront my shyness. There are some things I don’t mind about my shyness and other things that I want to work on since they’ve been holding me back. Hope you can check out my blog sometime(and feel free to leave comments or write to me)! Thanks,
    Brittany :)

  • Emline

    well, i believe it starts from young and the adults around us. if the parent is supportive of the child and do not discriminate and has patience and endurance for the child, the child will be one who is self confident and usually wont be very shy.

    I saw this myself where a dad scolded his 7 year old girl who is growing for not being able to understand the instructor’s commands and even threaten his daughter that she will not be able to enjoy other perks if she carried on to be shy. i think evn we adults take time to adhere but this dad is so discriminating. i only pray the best for the child. i think the dad really needs to learn on how to raise a child.

  • Quiet

    This article hit my problem right at the core. I knew I was shy and I’ve tried so hard to overcome it, but I never really understood why I couldn’t. Something as simple as fear can make such an impact on who we are. I only wish I knew how to get rid of fear. Thinking confidently is a good one but when situations come when I try to be social I freeze up and feel like what I’m saying is stupid and everyone around me is so much better. This article has really helped! Thanks so much.

  • Madelyn

    My shyness is not derived from a fear of being embarrassed, but really the inability to really know what to say to and/or around people. I’m not afraid to make a mistake in my words or in public: I feel it is a way to learn and discover. My problem really is that I simply don’t know how to speak in person. Everyone seems to be under the impression that being shy means you’re extremely self-conscious, you’re suffering from a bad memory or you just have a bad image of yourself [sometimes I think my ego's too big as it is!].
    I don’t think I’ve ever heard a person address those of us who simply can’t speak. :/

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    shyness can be a major hindrance in life. One should really try to overcome it.

  • manasa

    hi,this is my first post ever.i completed my college studies with my stupid shyness. i am a doctor, due to my shyness i am not able to talk even with patients.now i am preparing for my pg entrance i dont know how can i handle the cases. i never thought this would be a problem for me i hav realised recently how big is this problem, now trying to overcome this.i cant express myself even to my best friends please help me to get rid of this. i will try to follow the above mentioned tips

  • Petras

    It’s so much easier said than done, but so much of shyness seems to be feeling insecure in the ways this post said. I know i’m fine with people when i’m comfortable, but it’s so easy to worry about how I come across. I just have to constantly remind myself that other people aren’t always judging me. This post is also a good snap shot of how I think: http://www.succeedsocially.com/shyworries

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    Being shy doesn’t help anyone…it is definitely better to get over it as early on in life as possible.

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    I think the best way to overcome social anxiety is facing your fears. You can try the EFT or CBT programs – you can do self-hypnosis…but nothing beats facing a fear head on.

  • Roachie Roach

    I never thought in a million years, that there would be so many people with the
    same exact feelings I have. I’m 20, turning 21 very soon and let me tell you
    I’m one oh-so-shy person. Reading everyones comments, and seeing that I’m not the only one who feels like that it’s just a breathe of fresh air, I’m not the only awkard shy person after all. :)
    I hold back sooooooo much from everyone even my own family, and I really hate that. I want them to know how I feel, but I just can’t communicate. My social skills aren’t very strong. I sometimes mispronounced words, and I feel so stupid doing that. I stutter, I can’t finish sentences, my mind is seriously blank when someone is trying to converse with me. And that right there holds me back from everyone and everything.I know I’m shy because of the way I talk, I’m so scared of mispronouncing words or saying something and it doesn’t come out the way I wanted it to. Is that just a lack of socializing? Whatever it is I just want to break free from it. I’m in a position where I have no idea what to do with my life (career wise), and me being so shy I know that’s holding me back from a lot opportunites.
    Reading this article lets me know there is a way, and gosh darn it I need to find that path to finally overcome my shyness and like everyone else become the person I am supposed to be.

  • mr361

    Hello ive been suffering from shyness as far back as I can rember.im happy to have stumbled upon this site,it really does bring comfort knowing im not the only one dealing with this.for me its like some days I will not even be able to speak a word I fill like wutever I say is going to sound dumb or not come out right, an the people im talking to are going to think im an idoit. As much as I want to just blurt out thoughts or answer a question I jus ended up letting the fear of emberssment keep me quiet. im in my mid 20s now an ive become a bit more comfortable wit my self witch allowed me to be a little more talkitive. But it really depends on who im talkin to, Or if other people are around. I know I can talk alot because people that dont intimadte cant get me to shut up. Its the way ive always been. I know it will get better only if I work on it putting myself out there not careing wut the person thinks. no one person is perfect so all yall keep over tryin to overcome it, and I will as well.

  • Meagan

    Im super duper shy nd its good to kno that im not alone…nd reading the comments i can so relate.Like sometimss i forget to breathe when im present in other peoples company nd its torture going to gatherings with the familie,cuz i was raised by my grandparents(me nd my twin)nd my grandmas a big mouth nd she would always exegerate stories she tells about us…so i guess thats wat made me so self cautious around people cuz i always feel like there talking bout me when i kno that there not.Im naturally shy since i was little…i was always scared of saying something stupid so i say nothing nd pretend im busy listening to my ipod nd

  • monica

    I AM 43 AND STILL VERY SHY. HAD TO QUIT UNIVERSITY AFTER A FEW WEEKS. i HAVE A GROWN UP SON AND A SMALL DAUGHTER, 6. i AM RAISING HER ALONE. i FEEL VERY LONELY AND ALTHOUGH I KNOW I AM QUITE GOOD AT TALKING TO PEOPLE, I KNOW ABOUT VARIOUS THINGS, I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SELF-CONSCIOUS EVEN AROUND MY FAMILY. It is so hard to know what to say!!! I asked my poor son if i was normal months ago. I think i was close to breaking point. He said he never noticed i felt like that. Shy, that is. That was good, maybe i’ve outgrown it a bit, but not caught up. A meditation cd called “Holosync”has helped enormously i am getting calmer and more confident. Sometimes though it’s so hard.

    • shane

      all I can say is keep going with it. perhaps you need to become more mentally strong, martial arts is a very good way of helping you grow spiritually. I guess its important to be proud of yourself, so maybe try do something each week that you would normally find difficult to do. At the end of day when you look back, you will smile.

      Watch some of Bruce Lee’s inspirational videos on Youtube. really good understanding.

      I wish you all the best. Truck on as they say.
      Shane

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  • D

    Thanks for the article, I found it really useful and meaningful as I am a shy person. And sometimes, that hinders me from my career. I’m being labeled as a quiet guy all my life. I really want to break free from my shyness, I found it as a major obstacle in my life.

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  • Regan

    i made me feel like shit, the advice was good enough though

  • Drewby

    Also remember that you don’t have to be something you are not.   If you’re not a leader,  don’t try to be one because you think you should.   That’s the trap I fell into.  I thought I should  try and be extroverted and be a leader because that’s what people were doing at work.  I really am a great behind the scenes type guy.  I can get more done handling the details and letting someone else be the one in the spotlight.  It took me a long time to realize that I am fine the way I am.   I prefer smaller groups of people (when I get a choice) and try to avoid giant mass gatherings of people.   There will always be situations we cannot avoid.   It takes all kinds of personality types to get things done.      Peace.

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  • http://flawlessconfidence.com Martin

    Other people aren’t so different – that’s the most important realization! Whenever you feel insecure, remind yourself that other people can also feel insecure at the same moment. Shy people tend to think that they’re the shiest people in the world and that everyone is more confident than them. That’s not true – most of the time other people are as shy as you!

  • Canticlesinprogress

    The author’s benevolent intention is to be applauded. However, if you are a chubby kid and want to learn to run well do you speak to the other chubby kid who never got picked for the track team (or whatever)? If you want to learn how to increase your small business profits do you go down to your local unemployment queue?

    My point is that there is too much well meaning “advice” out there provided by those who have not slayed the dragon. Fear is the dragon. EVERYONE has a dragon to kill. Someone, somewhere has slain the particular fear you need to face. It is them you need to seek out.    

  • Manu Blog

    http://thingsimdoingtoday.wordpress.com/

    i have some great tips about shyness on my blog.

  • Manu Blog

    http://thingsimdoingtoday.wordpress.com/

    i have some great tips about shyness on my blog.

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  • Lana

    this is so helpful – thank you!!

  • http://twitter.com/TimothyMably Timothy Mably

    Great article :) I could really relate. I’m so glad you and others can too. I thought of a lot of these reasons beforehand and worked on it but nothing happened. I hope this helps.

  • taz aabha

    A long time ago my mother told me “there’s a fine line between shyness and selfishness.” I now see that they’re the same thing.

  • shy mom

    Thank you  that relly helped alot . I was shy growing up around my extrovert  friends now i see that i have passed this mean monster down to my daughters i dont want them to miss an oppurtunity to help others by keepimg their expressions inside them!

  • james

    Wow what an excellent post! Your confidence tips are some of the best I have read on the net. Keep it up!

    http://lifeandmind.net

  • james

    Wow what an excellent post! Your confidence tips are some of the best I have read on the net. Keep it up!

    http://lifeandmind.net

  • http://twitter.com/howtonotbeshy howtonotbeshy

    The part about other people not being so different is huge. There was a study done and it showed a huge percentage of people (I think it was like 40% but I’m going by memory here) are likely to be shy.

    You can walk through a busy street and pass dozens of people just as shy – if not more so – without knowing it. And finding these people at a party is great for both of you. They’ll appreciate you starting a conversation and you’ll get the confidence from their acceptance. I’ve spoken about a similar thing before over on http://howtonotbeshy.com/.

  • Avanthikak67

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  • Penny

    Sucked.

  • Fazbuddy

    Thank u sooo much for the article, really good insight.

  • Fazbuddy

    Thank u sooo much for the article, really good insight.

  • Anonymouse

    I like specifically what you said that it’s ironic how shy people tend to have thoughtful insights. True, we should not always hide our thoughts, because indeed they are valuable.

  • Jozepaul

    Thanks alotttt!!!!!!!!!!!! This article is really lealy awesome It’s Changing my Life!!!

  • http://www.socialcirclepower.com/how-to-overcome-shyness How To Overcome Shyness

    How To Overcome Shyness is to Build New Memories in Your Future.

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  • Mick Jagger

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention about the highly sensitive person :/ 

  • Owen

    What I’ve always found funny is that people who don’t really have to deal with shyness don’t really understand the difference it can make. They just assume its a case of ‘just get out and get over it’ or something. But that kind of thing can just end up enforcing shyness which can become a downward spiral.

    I got some great advice from your articles and this one about shyness in conversations 
    http://overshyness.com/how-to-keep-a-conversation-going/. I’m slowly working on my shyness and who knows where I’ll be in a few months time!Good luck everyone else reading this, I know what you’re going through.

  • Uli

    excellent article.

  • jp

    I thought this article was great. I feel that a lot of the points were right on. One small critique would be to also mention another root cause of shyness which is insecurity with our phsyical appearance.

  • brad tipton

    Wow what a great article !   The article is great because it gets “behind” what shyness is all about.  So much of shyness is about dwelling on self.  

    But dwelling on self is NOT always bad because people who tend to be inward in their thoughts usually have something very valuable to say.  

    What’s so funny is the fact that they have something valuable to say means it should definitely be shared so EVERYONE can benefit!  I have worked in the dating industry over a decade and spoken with over 10,750 singles.  Most of the men were just shy.  On my website http://getovershyness.com I not only tell people they should “get over shyness” but I give them the specific steps, tips and strategies to help them do that and get IMMEDIATE results.

    For example one of the best things a person can do to get over shyness is begin to spend time on a hobby they really enjoy. 

    What will happen is if they spend time on the hobby they will get really really good at it and being really good at something gives a tremendous sense of SELF CONFIDENCE which is the key to getting over shyness.

    Again Wow!  Thanks for such an insightful article.

    Brad

  • http://theshynesscure.com/ Andrew M.

    I like thinking the “other people aren’t so different” way. The truth is that everyone focuses on themselves and are also concerned about their image. This makes them too busy to see any small “mistake” you think you’re making.

    When it comes to fast solutions, certain techniques to overcome shyness are more efficient than others. Try them out and see what best fits your personality!

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  • Neonscolor

    I H-A-T-E being shy, Once, ( I was younger though ) I was reading a paper and then this girl look up at me with a dirty face and says “Thats your luckiest day?” 
    I was so embarressed ( <— typo :P ) Then again she was mean but that expierence ( Another typo ) has been across my mind every time i speak… Usually.
    There is no way for me to get those word out of my head I don't want this shy feeling to go on until I die, I want to live life the fullest, and get out of my shell, not locked up in it… WHAT CAN I DO, I am just a young girl so please HELP

  • W S Reaman

    Great Article am defently going to put this in to practices I see how this effects my everyday life and I hope to over come my shyness

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  • Hannah

    I am naturally shy and in the past couple of years it has spiralled out of control into social anxiety. I need people like you to remind me that I have nothing to be afraid about. Thank you!

  • Jozepaul083

    This artical is wonderfulll thank you so much!…….

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  • Jodie

    What a brilliant post! I’ve just found your blog and it is so motivational. I found the last section ‘The Duty to Contribute’ especially interesting. I’m starting university in 7 months and by reading your blog and taking steps, I hope to slowly but surely overcome my shyness so that I can make the most of meeting new people.

    I’m actually really looking forward to college tomorrow so that I can try and make these steps!

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  • art♡

    Hey im glad I looked at this site as I think I suffer from shyness quite badly
    Sometime if I havent seen a family member for a long time I cant talk I cant find any words to start a conversation
    I am glad its not just me

  • Samantha Clark

    I found this blog very much helpful in Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness.

    How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Shyness

    Hope it helps everyone.. Thanks!!

  • Saadia Chaudhry

    These are all very thoughtful ideas from complete strangers. It does seem like the introspectiveness of the writers and some of the commentators is advantageous as long as it doesn’t become shame because of how people might react. I think our school age society also values gregariousness over pensive thoughtfulness, so understanding your inherent value is very important.

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  • Abraham

    I really shy person what ever I said like people dump so how could I get over it…