15 Shy People Share Tips for Overcoming Social Anxiety

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Being shy can negatively impact your life in myriad ways. It can make it harder to make new friends, advance your employment and find a life partner, if you’re looking for one. So it makes sense that people with social anxiety are always looking for coping mechanisms.

Below are 15 suggestions from people who have been there (or are there currently) that might help you out the next time you’re wishing you could cut and run.

#15. In no time

“Get a job in retail or a place where you’re exposed to a lot of people, you’ll be having real conversations in no time.”

#14. Work retail

“Force yourself into a situation where you HAVE to speak to people. I used to be really shy. And then I worked retail. Now I cannot be shut up.”

#13. Start with “hello”

“A step at a time, but every single day. Chat with the cashier. Say hello to the person on the elevator. Comment on a person’s nice shirt today. Ask about a coworker’s weekend plans….

After a while talking to people is just something you do.”

#12. Exposure therapy

“Exposure therapy is a common answer, and has really helped me! But people sometimes overlook the warning that it should really be done with help of a therapist or counselor.

Over-adjusting, pushing yourself out too far all out once, can be overwhelming. If you get shell-shocked from a bad experience, it can push you further inside your shell like a sort of trauma :/ It happened when I had anxiety about doing things on my own- I tried a single’s night at a bar and ended up glued to the counter at the bar, trying to breathe enough to drive home. I talked about it and started again with a movie. Result!

If you don’t have a professional, try to make incremental steps. Ask about a teller’s necklace, ask how a grocer’s day is going and aim to sound natural (like you’re really interested). Ask for help is actually a good way to endear yourself to someone- so ask a reference librarian to help you find a book, ask a book seller for staff recommendations, ask the ticket person if they’ve heard good things about the movie you’re seeing. Try taking little steps with people you’ll never see again as a starting point.”

#11. Fear of not being liked

“I don’t know what the best way is, but for my situation, it was to get rid of the fear of not being liked. As soon as I stopped worrying about it, my anxious thoughts started to disappear, and it has allowed me to open up to people a lot easier. When you’re not trying to impress people, it almost seems too easy.”

#10. Only human

“Remember that everyone around you is only human. They have their own fears, insecurities, and they equally want to impress each other.”

#9. Back to shyness

“I dont know. Anytime I’ve tried to not be shy the other person will say something I dont expect or have nothing to add on to. Which leaves me in silence and back to shyness.

And I’m just not good at talking in general. I dont have strong opinions over anything really and because of that I dont know a whole lot. So if I ever say things that someone disagrees with the feel of the room always gets awkward.”

#8. Self-help

“Watch Troy McClure’s seminal self-help video, “Get Confident, Stupid!””

#7. An editing process

“It’s basically a mix of the unhelpful “just don’t be shy anymore” advice and then learning to pick your spots. Like if you start playing basketball maybe don’t join a rec league the day after you make a layup.

It’s an editing process, and it sucks. But you’ll get there.”

#6. Don’t sweat it

“Nobody is sitting on their house judging and remember every detail of your fuckups while laughing. People probably are busy remembering their own fuckups to care about you.

You’re a background character in everyone else life, so don’t sweat it.”

#5. Start slow

“Do things that put you outside your comfort zone. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy and you can start slow.”

#4. Fake it till you make it

“Acting! Pretend to be confident, eventually you won’t be faking it.”

#3. Look good, feel good

“Dress up! When you look good, you feel good.”

#2. No one cares

“For me, it was acknowledging that no one cares about or remembers most of the population; our brains aren’t built for it. If you talk to someone once, unless you do something horrific or absolutely spectacular then they will likely not remember you.

This is abusing Dunbar’s Number, also known as the “Monkeysphere”, a concept that states that people can only maintain social relationships with about 100-200 people at a time. By abusing this, you can freely experiment with being more social safe in the knowledge that if you disappear for a week after failure you will likely be forgotten and you can try again later with a different group of people.”

#1. Accomplish little tasks

“Baby steps.

Set some goals that help you breach your comfort zone. It could be something as small as going to a bar and starting a small conversation with 1 person or as big as going on stage to do a song during karaoke night. Whatever you want.

The key is to accomplish little tasks that are attainable. You aren’t going to go from a shy person to a social butterfly overnight…”

Not bad, right?