How to Overcome Shyness

Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

Shyness can have a negative impact on social, interpersonal and work relationships. It?s important to realize that shyness is not the problem. It?s actually a symptom. Overcoming shyness is all about addressing the underlying issues at the root of the problem. Shyness is often a symptom of problems related to feelings of inadequacy, low self confidence and negative self evaluation.

Build Confidence

The first step in overcoming shyness is building self confidence. A confident man or woman is seldom very shy. There?s a reason for that. Confidence leads to increased social and work interactions. Addressing feelings of inadequacy is critical in this stage of confidence building. It?s necessary to understand why one feels inadequate. Equally important, people need to realize that those feelings are typically irrational. Self confidence comes from concentrated efforts and behaviors.

Avoid Negative Self Evaluation

Many shy people will often negatively evaluate themselves. They may even compare themselves to others at work and in social situations. This is a terrible idea, because there will always be somebody who just seems to have it all together. He or she may seem smarter, stronger or better looking, but that person may have a variety of shortcomings that nobody even knows about. It?s so important to avoid comparing one?s self to others. It?s an unfair and unrealistic practice.

Engage in Exciting or Demanding New Hobbies

Participating in new hobbies is a great way to build self confidence and overcome shyness. Throwing one?s self into a new skill is a great way to stop self evaluating too. Learning a new language is perfect for people who want to meet new people. Finally mastering a new song on a musical instrument will do wonders for self confidence. Setting and achieving small goals with a new hobby is also a perfect way to stop thinking about what other people are thinking, and it?s a great way to make new friends.

Make a Conscious Effort

The most important part of overcoming shyness is deciding to put forth the effort. Anybody can wish to have more confidence and less shyness, but it takes real effort to make those things happen. People who are shy need to make a pronounced effort to stop comparing themselves to others too. It isn?t enough to just sign up for classes at the community center. Classes should be attended regularly. It?s going to be hard at first, but failure isn?t an option. Overcoming shyness comes gradually when self confidence begins to strengthen.

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