What is Shyness?
Social anxiety or social phobia is an uncomfortable response to certain social situations that can develop into a debilitating disorder called “shyness”. Shyness is defined as the involuntary and acute avoidance of potential social situations that could potentially lead to embarrassment, humiliation, or negative outcomes. It is most often associated with feelings of social isolation and/or self-consciousness in social settings. Shyness causes people to avoid such activities as eating in public, talking on the telephone, or making eye contact with others.
People who are naturally shy experience various symptoms including the inability to confidently communicate, blushing, nervousness, lack of enthusiasm, or decreased social interaction. Although these symptoms are very disabling in their everyday lives, people who are shy are often not aware that they have them. In addition, shyness develops over time as a result of ongoing negative feedback from the people around them. Over time, this negative feedback leads to the person feeling even more uncomfortable and “shy” in social situations.
Signs to Look Out For
One of the most common symptoms of social phobia is blushing, which is characterized by an overwhelming feeling of shame, embarrassment, or humiliation. Shyness can also be accompanied by increased sweating (hyperhidrosis) in particular body areas. Increased sweating can be indicative of other medical conditions such as a low thyroid hormone level, changes in the urinary or digestive system due to infection, or nerve damage resulting from extreme stress. Increased blushing or sweating is considered a classic symptom of social anxiety. However, some shy individuals also report having “touchy” or “nervous” feelings or not being able to initiate contact with others due to social phobia.
How Does Shyness Affect Us?
Shyness is a very debilitating condition that can make life incredibly difficult and miserable. If you struggle with feeling shy in a social situation, then you may have a problem that needs to be addressed.
So often, we associate being shy with someone who is not confident in themselves. But it can be just the opposite. If you want to feel more confident and bold in yourself, shyness will not make the cut.
We are so drawn to the confident personalities that we all seek out. It seems to make us feel good to be around them. But the thing is, they have us chasing them, not because they are following us, but because they are attracting us. If you have a natural flair for speaking to a crowd of people, don’t waste it on trying to be quiet.
If you think that people will find you more confident if you are more outgoing, you are dead wrong. Shy people like to keep to themselves and blend in with the crowd. They are much less likely to shine when there is a lot of attention on them.
So, how to be confident in public? Learn how to push beyond your shyness with these tips!
1. Build Your Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is often defined as the opinion one has of oneself. It impacts how one feels about themselves, how they view their strengths and weaknesses, and how they function in their everyday lives. Low self-esteem can have a negative impact on academic or professional performance, happiness, relationships, and self-care. People often focus on building up their own self esteem by thinking about their strengths. If you think about your strong points, you will feel better about yourself. This may be accomplished through: -focusing on your skills -comparing yourself to people who may be more talented than you -choosing to focus on what you like about yourself -writing down what you do well
If you are low on self-esteem, you will be more likely to view yourself negatively. To avoid this, focus on building your self-esteem by appreciating your accomplishments and forgetting about the little things. This will help you feel more confident in your interactions with others and will make you feel like you have something to offer.
2. Have an Engaging Personality
Stand out from the crowd by having an interesting and engaging personality. You don’t need to have a perfect smile. Just have a bit of confidence in who you are and you will be noticed! If you want to be more confident, then the more outgoing you are, the better chance you will have of getting that ball rolling.
3. Use Humor to Break The Ice
Try telling a joke to break the tense atmosphere or talking about something you have a personal interest in – for example, how you got your funny hair or the childhood pet that killed a dog for you. When you have fun with others, the shyness melts away. So how to be confident in public – bring some humor!
4. Dress Nicely
If you can go out without feeling embarrassed, you will have more confidence. It also makes you look more attractive – which will have positive effects on people around you. So what do you wear to a party? How to be confident in public – wear something that makes you feel comfortable and at ease!
Now that you know how to be confident in public – start acting confident!
Go out there and greet new people, talk to them, smile and be yourself. You will realize how much easier it is to develop confidence when you know that people are not judging you based solely on what they can see of your appearance – but by what they can hear about you. So what are you waiting for?
Do not let people walk all over you. Be assertive, and stand up for yourself. You are a unique individual and you deserve to be treated as such. Don’t let other people tell you who you are and what you should be. This will further fuel your shyness and make it even harder to get over it.
If you have had problems in the past with being shy, now is the time to learn how to overcome your shyness.
There are plenty of ways to do this;
Find a hobby or volunteer work that you enjoy doing.
Find a group of people to talk to.
Join a club or volunteer at an animal shelter or daycare center.
Join a church or study group.
Any kind of activity that gives you an opportunity to spend some time with others will help you feel more at ease.
5. Boost Your Confidence
Confidence is key in achieving your goals, whether it is in your personal or professional life. If you feel confident and determined, you are more likely to persist through difficulties and overcome challenges.
Here are 3 suggestions or ways to boost your confidence on a daily basis.
1) Focus on your personal strengths. There is no one better at telling you what you are good at than you! Journal your strengths each day. Keep a list of your top five.
2) Take care of your physical health. How well you feel physically affects your mental health. Focus on getting enough sleep, drinking enough water each day, and eating nutritious foods.
3) Keep a notebook of positive thoughts. Set aside time each day to reflect on your day and include any good things that happened. Put a positive comment in one area of your home or life. The first strategy is keeping a notebook of positive thoughts.
Once you are comfortable with other people, you can entertain them without feeling self-conscious. For instance, if you are attending a party where there is music, dance to the rhythm. If there is a DJ, dance to his beats. This will not only increase your confidence level, but it will also make you more approachable.
When you approach another person, say hello. Say hello to the person to your right. Look them in the eye. Think of them as a friend and smile. If you are talking to someone, interject with witty comments. You can even compliment someone on their outfit or hairstyle.
6. Trust Yourself
Trusting yourself is very important. No one will trust or like you if you don’t feel the same way about yourself. Here are some frequent thoughts people ponder over when they are in a social gathering.
- How can I hold a conversation?
- What should I talk about?
- I was going to say that.
- I can’t think of anything right now.
- How much should I contribute?
- Will I hurt someone’s feelings with my comment?
- Will my comment be interesting enough?
- I hope I don’t interrupt?
There’s no need to stress about what to say or what the right thing or right time is. To overcome this habit, speak up instead of overthinking things. People do not really care as much as we think they do. Here are more tips on how to Trust Your Intuition.
7. Ask Questions
If you’re afraid of awkward silences or have nothing to talk about, consider asking others questions. Be sure to ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered easily with a Yes or no. The idea is to allow the other person to expand their thoughts and talk more. This will give you the extra time to think about the next question.
Here’s an example of asking multiple questions based on what someone is talking about. Remember, people think they are interesting if we ask them the right questions.
Let’s pretend a new business lead invited you to a new restaurant you’ve never been to before.
- Ask if this is their favorite restaurant in town?
- If they answer yes, ask them why. If they answer no, ask them of their favorite restaurant
- Ask about their favorite dish on the menu
- Then ask why they like the dish
- Is it the only thing they’ve tried there
- How did they find the restaurant…etc etc
Try the tips I’ve shared with you today to overcome shyness. Practice makes better, not perfect. The more you practice using the tips you’ve learned today, the more confident you will feel in your social interactions. Here are some useful tips on how to overcome social anxiety