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8 Ways to Overcome Shyness


| 12/1/2014 11:16:00 AM


Growing up can be awkward. It's a point of discovery, adventures, friendships, getting hurt and that perpetual desire to fit in and be liked. There are some children who would rather be alone—not because they don’t like other kids but because they don’t know how to be around them.

Overcome Shyness
Photo credit: Anitalorite via Flickr, Creative Commons

Clinical psychologist John Malouff says all children may experience shyness at some point in their childhood, although in varying degrees. Being shy is normal. Shy children and teenagers like observing others, but are reluctant to join or speak to them. Shy people are socially uncomfortable and are naturally uneasy when being confronted by authority, meeting strangers, speaking in front of a group, trying to make friends and interacting with the opposite sex. They are obsessed with one’s reactions, which is why they sometimes inhibit from social situations and go to great lengths to avoid attention. In short, they care about what others think of them.

Being shy knows no age or gender. Strategies to overcome shyness differ from one person to another. Some need warming up before joining a conversation, while others take forever. What is important is shyness is not a social disease or phobia: It's a behavior that can be unlearned and conquered. Here are a few ways that can help you overcome shyness.



Start Small

Start with a smile. Look at yourself in the mirror and try practicing your gaze. Look at a picture and stare at it squarely in the eye. When out in public, try applying this practice with strong eye contact and a firm handshake. Continue building your confidence by learning and offering simple introductions and small talk. Rehearse what you want to say and write it down if necessary. Try saying it out loud. Start with the people you are most comfortable with then branch out when you are ready.



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