Ever feel nervous when meeting new people? Unsure how to engage in the family get-together? You might be getting a case of the “shy” bug.
This pesky “bug” is a part of just about everyone’s experience at one time or another. Experts share the main reason shyness creeps up on us is the desire, and need, to belong – yet the fear of being rejected or criticized.
To build confidence, take these four strategies into consideration:
- Plan for success 🗒️- Shyness is not the same as being introverted. Shyness results from overestimating the amount of negative scrutiny we might face whereas introversion is being quieter or reserved (yes, this is a bit oversimplified but illustrates the point 🤓). To combat shyness, envision success and plan ahead. Think about how you would like the interaction to go and have some brainstormed prompts, or even an exit strategy, to help you. For instance, you could think of some current events you could talk about or have a plan to leave at a certain time for another event.
- Curate some curiosity 🧠 – One way to deflect potential for judgment or evaluation is to be intentional with others. Get curious. Ask questions and show genuine curiosity in getting to know more about the other person or topic. You’ll find people love to talk about themselves which leads to a greater depth of discussion and connection.
- Be a star ⭐ – One way to squash shyness is to give yourself a role. Like movie stars, a role can help provide purpose and direction. Next time you feel shyness creep up, give yourself a role to be curious OR make the other person feel the way you want to feel such as validated, heard, and seen.
- Challenge the narrative 📚- Our inner voice can be harsh. In fact, our inner critic is at the root of most of our shyness. The best way to defeat the critic is to have an even stronger ally on your side—an inner voice that acts as your own best friend! Start noticing the good things about yourself and learn to “talk back” to your inner critic. Better yet, ask yourself what a friend might say to you in the same situation.
Building confidence and breaking shyness is often a vicious cycle where we are approached with a social situation, feel excessive fear of negative evaluations, then avoid, avoid, avoid. Armed with these four tips, you can try to break the cycle.
*If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental health, we can help. Contact us at Diversus Health to request an appointment with our mental health providers. If you need immediate assistance, call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.