How to Beat Shyness

Portrait of a woman being playful in rural a setting

If you’re shy you’re not alone. There are millions of people on this blue rock that can’t stand to meet strangers, me included.

There’s something scary about meeting new people. Maybe it’s the fear of judgment, rejection, or feelings of inadequacy that make us think that way. But despite all that shyness is beatable.

Before I tell you the secret code to beating shyness, first let me point out why you should want to do such a crazy thing. It’s because shyness is ruining your life, well at least your social life.

Actually, let me ask you a simple question: How many friends do you have? Depending on your level of shyness probably not tons. But how much of that is related to your unwillingness to engage other people? I’d say about 90%.

Because when you walk around allowing shyness to control you, you miss out on a lot. You miss out on potential friends, mates, maybe even jobs. Shyness isn’t just cramping your style, it’s strangling it while gritting it’s pearly whites at you.

Like I mentioned above I’m shy too. And I hate that I’m like that. But just because you are shy doesn’t mean you can’t bring those feelings under control so you can enjoy yourself more.

The secret to beating shyness is this: GO MEET PEOPLE!

Duh you say? No not really. It’s actually pretty damn hard. You have to ante up and throw all your fears out the window, temporarily at least, to pull this off.

And once you’ve made the decision to “engage” you’ll want to make sure that you do two things.

1. Speak up: Shy people don’t speak loudly for obvious reasons. So when you walk up to a stranger, or even coworkers you dodge all the time, take a deep breath and then speak to be heard.

This isn’t meant to impress your new pals, it’s meant to remind you that you don’t have to be timid and that your opinion matters too. Something that helps me get to this point is to remind myself that everybody else on the planet, even the greats like Bono, goes to the toilet, everybody.

I do this because it’s a reminder that all people, fundamentally speaking, are the same. No one is inherently better than you, their just different.

2. Make eye contact: This one is tough because if you’re shy the last thing you want to do is look confident. Screw that right? Because looking at people while you talk to them may extend conversations and therefore your discomfort. But the thing is that if you want to beat shyness getting out of your comfort zone is mandatory.

And given that this can make you uncomfortable, a quick work around is to look at the top of people’s heads, or even their foreheads, while you’re talking to them. This way you give the illusion of looking into someone’s eyes while at the same time not driving yourself bananas. Of course, you should only try this in the early stages. You’ll need to take off the training wheels to make this stuff stick.

After that it’s just a matter of rinsing and repeating those few steps. Practice will make perfect. Both because you will build self-confidence and because it will become an almighty habit. This is important because in the world of human behavior habits are everything. They literally shape who you are, period.

So if you want to beat shyness you’ll have to force yourself into contact with other human beings. Seek them out. Don’t sit in corners and whisper. Instead, stand in the center of the room and mingle.

Do this daily and before you know it you’ll be the one telling other people to stop being so shy! If this all sounds impossible it’s because you’re making excuses. Stop that. Get out there and make some friends.

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