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Shyness vs Introvert

It's important to point out that shyness is not the same as being introverted. Introverts actually feel energized spending time alone doing their own thing. They aren’t afraid of social situations, but rather simply prefer to be by themselves. Social situations drain them emotionally, while solitary activities energize and spark their creativity.

In contrast, shy people desperately seek the acceptance and approval of others. This makes them extremely self-conscious and fearful of being judged, ridiculed, criticized, humiliated, embarrassed, and rejected. They have a negative self-preoccupation and often evaluate themselves and their own ability in very limiting ways. In fact, when it comes to social situations they expect that they will make mistakes and fail miserably to connect with others on a meaningful level. Their unhelpful thoughts and beliefs about their social interactions make them feel extremely insecure. And yet, one of their most endearing traits — that of being a thoughtful listener — is a vital part of any meaningful social relationship.

Why shyness?

Why are some people timid in social situations, while others thrive? Although it’s not always clear why, there are a few possible explanations, including negative self-image, bullying, personality traits, and a lack of experience of social interaction.

Most people are shy from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if your shyness has started to bug you, or you feel that it’s holding you back in some way, there are things you can do to overcome it.

How to Overcome Shyness

1. Explore the reasons why you’re shy

Pondering the root of your shyness can help you become aware and accept who you truly are.

For example, if you are aware of a traumatic event that happened that caused you to be shy, it may be time to get help with overcoming those circumstances and memories. Once you learn to process what happened in the past, you may be able to move on with your life and get over your feelings of shyness.

2. Focus on Your Strengths

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What are you good at?

What are your interests?

Join groups about topics that you find interesting. This will make it easier to connect with others and share your opinion.

Everyone has areas of strengths and weaknesses.

However, focusing on your strengths makes you feel more confident. It is easier to talk about a topic that you are interested in.

3. Act confidently

Confidence comes through action, learning, practice, and mastery. Remember when you learned how to ride a bike? It was terrifying at first, but after you just went for it and tried it, you got it, and felt confident. Social confidence works the same way.

Feeling anxious is not the problem; avoiding social interactions is the problem. Eliminate avoidance and you will overcome your anxiety.

4. Consider Your Appearance

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A little self-care goes a long way. Remember to:

Brush your teeth

Get enough sleep

Trim your nails

Comb your hair

Dress appropriately

Shy people tend to spend a lot of time by themselves and they may forget to take good care of themselves.

5. Encourage Yourself

What thoughts would make you feel at ease when you are in a social situation?

Here are some phrases to get you in a positive mindset:

I have interesting information to share

This will be an exciting experience

I appreciate others and they appreciate me

Others are curious about what I have to say

I am important and others care about me

I am part of the group

Also, if you are wondering how to overcome shyness, having positive thoughts about yourself and others will make you feel motivated to participate in social situations.

6. Make eye contact

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Having the ability to maintain eye contact is a critical aspect of any social interaction. When you make eye contact, you are demonstrating your confidence and making a connection with the other person. If you suffer from eye contact anxiety, this can also be interfering with your everyday social interactions.

Looking someone in the eye while you're talking to them can be uncomfortable if you haven't practiced doing so, or if you don't like being in the spotlight.

7. Smile

Most shy people are mislabeled as being standoffish. Give strangers a friendly smile and see them reciprocate—it will probably improve both your day and theirs.

Smiling is a nice way to acknowledge another person, and a great way to start a conversation with anyone. You're showing that you are welcoming, friendly, and willing to engage in conversation. You're not disturbing them—you are actually making their day better by smiling and talking to someone else.

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