Are you afraid of speaking to strangers? Do you dread socialising at big events? Shyness is a fairly common character trait, but is is nothing to be ashamed of. At times however, shyness might get into the way of networking and building friendships or romantic relationships, thus hindering you from reaching your goals. If you desire to overcome your shyness, here are some tips to bear in mind and where you can start from.
Get out of your comfort zone
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the first and most important issue to address. People who are shy tend to stick to their circle of friends due to their discomfort around unfamiliar situations. However, sticking with the same ol' situation day-in and day-out can be very limiting. To overcome this, you need to consciously make an effort to talk to someone you are unfamiliar with but would like to know better, such as your neighbour or a colleague from work. It might be uncomfortable and even unnatural at the start, but things will get better. Start with small talk such as hobbies or interests, and feel free to brainstorm about some conversation topics beforehand. It's not cheating!
Be confident about yourself
Sometimes, shyness might stem from a lack of confidence. To overcome this, you first need to accept yourself for who you are and learn to not get bogged down by what others might think of you. You might not be perfect or exactly who you want to be, but that’s genuinely fine and extremely human! You don’t have to change who you are to make someone else “like you better”, nor do you have to feign interest in a certain activity just to go out with someone. Be genuine to yourself and others; never be apologetic for who you are. Pretending to be something that you're not will only put you on edge as it's all built on falsehoods, and you wouldn't want to set foot on such an unstable foundation.
Start small and make gradual progress
You can't run unless you learn to walk first. We understand that immediately throwing yourself into a sea of people might be overwhelming. Well, you don't have to do that! You can start by taking baby steps and eventually progress towards greater goals. Simply start by greeting a colleague beside your work cubicle or the neighbour staying beside you. Count every small step as a mini-success and give yourself a pat on your back for each one you make! With the familiarity that comes from multiple small talks, you will be ready for bigger audiences and longer conversations.
Being shy isn't just an “introvert-thing”; plenty of non-introverts get it as well! While it needn't be masked, it's not something that should be left unaddressed. Ultimately, bear in mind that it is critical to not let shyness define who you are, limit your potential or determine how you live your life. You can only experience the beauty of the world if you are receptive to it!