How to Be Less Shy Around Other People - The Definitive Guide to Self Improvement

How to Be Less Shy Around Other People

There are probably a lot of people out there who are pretty shy. They’re terrified at the thought of meeting new people, making small talk, holding long conversations, etc.

The shyness I’m talking about here is pretty much the extreme case. People may label shyness as a “cute” quality, as something gentle, and endearing, and while that’s true if it’s applied to a little child, extreme shyness in adults, in most cases, if not all, usually contains elements of narcissism, in the sense that we believe that how we look, talk, and interact with other people is important, important in terms of painting the image that people see of us in their minds.

What makes this even worse is that extremely shy people tend to get labeled by those around them after some time passes by.

They get labeled as “the shy guy” at first.
Then “the quiet guy”.
Then, “the creepy guy who stands in the corner by himself”.

And what happens is that this begins to further exacerbate the situation.

People label him as such and therefore treat him as such, ignoring him without ever considering starting a conversation with him, making it that much harder for him to interact socially.

Then the shy person begins to feel he can’t do anything because it would seem that if he were to try to break out of his shy state, it would seem out of character for him to do so to other people. He would think that people would then label him as “weird” instead of shy, which makes it seem so much worse to him. And slowly, he begins to feel he is digging his own social grave, looking toward a future life filled with loneliness.

Shy people have a pretty bad habit of giving others power, in terms of giving them the power to control their own behavior. And it’s so easy to do this because we want to be liked by others.

So shy people tend to overthink and overanalyze every possible future social situation, wanting to come out as “perfect” in those interactions, thinking the slightest mistake in verbal or nonverbal conversation can cause their own downfall in the eyes of others.

There’s a subtle message that comes about when we really want to be liked by others and that is we don’t like ourselves that much. We don’t like ourselves so we feel the need to be liked by others in order to fill that “void” within us.

Like yourself.
Accept yourself, flaws and all. Fix them if you can so you won’t be so preoccupied with them, but accept them if you cannot
Take away the need to be validated by others. Validate yourself.

This is the first step toward conquering shyness. Be the best you can be, in your own eyes. Work on yourself until you begin to like yourself to the point where you don’t worry what others think about you because you know you. You know who you are and what you stand for.

But even if you have all that down, you still have to master the next part, and that is learning the “social dance”. And that’s something you can’t do yourself because after all, it’s a social dance. You need partners. Many of them. And yes, you will step on a lot of toes, figuratively speaking. But that’s fine.

And that touches on one of the biggest problem that shy guys have and that is they want to go from hermit to a suave guy like James Bond in the course of a single day.

It’s not like that. It doesn’t happen that way. And because they put so much pressure on themselves to be this social butterfly, that nothing ever gets done. The gap is too big and it paralyzes them.

Start small. You learn a dance, one move at a time. You master that one move, then learn the next. Then you put the two together. Then you learn the third, then put the first, second and the third step together. You start small, build on each step, repeat it till it becomes natural, and you progress until you master the entire dance.

Don’t try to have the most amazing conversation on earth as your first try.

Start small. Make eye contact, smile, and say hi to complete strangers as you walk by. This may seem easy to social butterflies, but to extremely shy people, this act alone is enough to get their heart racing and their palms sweating.

When you have the eye contact, smile, and greeting down, go to the next stage. Small talk.

How are you? How was your weekend? Did you watch such and such movie over the weekend?

You’ll slowly begin to learn the rules. When to speak, when not to, how to get the conversation going, how to get the other person to keep talking, etc.

Realize though that you will have awkward pauses in conversations.
Realize you will probably say the wrong things at the wrong time.
Realize that you will probably miserably fail in some conversations.

But soon you’ll find what works and what doesn’t. You’ll find the commonalities. You’ll learn “the dance”. You’ll learn to let it go and relax and go with the flow.

And then there will come a time when you’ll just enjoy the company, have no worry, not focus on the outcome so much as the interaction itself, and you’ll begin to wonder what you were stressing over so much all this time.

Realize that most people are lonely in life and crave deeper, more meaningful conversations than:

“Hi, how are you?”
“Good. How are you?”
“Good.”

Define who you are. Work on yourself. Like yourself so then you can put all your attention on not of what others think of you, but on learning who the person is that you’re talking to and what they’re all about. Their thoughts, hopes, dreams, ambitions, the way they see life, etc. Focus on the other person.

And when you start focusing on other people rather than on yourself all the time, and learning about each person along the way, what you’ll find at the end of your journey is that we are all the same.

Have you ever noticed in those “asteroid on a collision course with earth, end of the world” type movies that the entire earth seems to feel that connection of “oneness”, despite race, religious affiliation, or nationality?

Feel that connection now. Start looking at humanity as a whole. Realize that the guy driving the taxi cab, the convenient store clerk, the mailman, the co-worker, the neighbor next door – they are all human. They all share the same joys, concerns, doubts, worries as you, even though it seems they don’t at times. We all tend to wear “social masks” when we go out, but at the end of the day, when we are alone, by ourselves, we all take them off and connect as one without even knowing it.

There is nothing standing in the way between you and other people except the desire to learn about them and when you do, you will find that the thoughts you’ve had, the worries you’ve had, the problems you’ve had – that other people have had them too, that you were not alone, that you were never alone. It’s only because you were so wrapped up in your own thoughts about what other people thought of you that you never got a chance to realize it.

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