How to Go from Shy to Confident

Two Parts:Changing Your MindsetActing More Confident

Are you timid but you wish you could speak out more? Do you often feel overlooked in groups and want to make your voice heard? Is your participation grade in class suffering because of your shyness? It's definitely not your fault that you were born a bit shyer than the average person, but it's something that you can overcome with effort. With a fresh mindset and a little bit of acting, you too can be confident and assertive when interacting with others.

Part 1
Changing Your Mindset

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    Become self-aware. Maybe you feel shy all the time. Or you might get nervous and quiet in large social situations. Start to analyze what makes you cautious or fearful. Knowing what causes your shyness will help you to get over it faster. Also, realise that shyness is not a personality - it's just an obstacle that stands in your way. [1]
    • Don't just focus on what you need to improve. Think about your strengths too. Maybe you are withdrawn, but you're also really good at observing people and understanding them.
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    Work on your strengths. Once you realize what you're good at, work on those skills even more. This can boost your self-esteem and make you more confident.[2]
    • For example, if you know that you're good at observing and understanding people, pay attention and hone this skill. Really start trying to empathize with people. This may make it easier to strike up a conversation with someone new.
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    Don't expect perfection. Remember that nobody is perfect. Don't let frustration impact your self-esteem. If left alone, this frustration can create insecurity and depression. Instead of focusing on areas you need to improve, acknowledge and appreciate what you are good at.[3]
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    Improve your self-image. It's easy to label yourself as shy and simply retreat from social interactions. Don't associate being shy with being an outcast, weird, or unusual. Instead, accept that you're unique. You don't have to fit in or be just like everyone else. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin.[4]
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    Use social media. If you're naturally shy, work on your online presence. Use social media to get to know someone better. This isn't necessarily a replacement for social interaction. Instead, social media can help you feel more comfortable with the people you're interested in getting to know better.[5]
    • Try to find similar interests by sharing information about yourself. You may be surprised to find that people have similar interests or dislikes as you.
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    Do something you enjoy right before a social interaction. If you're anxious about going to a party or meeting, do something that you really enjoy right before the event. Read a good book, listen to music, drink a coffee, whatever you like to do. This can make you more curious and outgoing.[6]
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    Have a positive outlook. If you find yourself focusing on the negative, begin seeing the positives. This will also make you less critical of yourself and more accepting of others.
    • For example, if you start to feel shy or nervous around someone new, look at it as a positive sign that you should meet someone new.[7]

Part 2
Acting More Confident

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    Have a game plan. Start small. You can make an effort to make eye contact during conversations. You can also do something that you've never done before (eg. changing your hairstyle). This will make you feel and become bolder over a period of time, although it may seem strange and frightening at first.[8]
    • If you're having trouble coming up with a conversation starter, think of compliments you could give or questions you could ask. These will quickly get the other person talking.
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    Join a class or group. Enroll in a class to learn a new skill or join a group with similar interests. These are great opportunities to have regular interactions with strangers that could become friends.[9]
    • Expect it to be awkward at first, but stick with it. Practise talking with people in the group every week. It will get easier and easier.
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    Don't be afraid to talk about yourself. If you find yourself struggling to come up with things to say, share what's going on in your life. Allow yourself to be the interesting person that you are and don't be afraid to let others know what's been happening with you.[10]
    • Showing mutual interest in another person's life will also help spur a conversation on. With enough practice, a natural conversation will easily develop.
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    Practise relaxation techniques. Learn breathing techniques or exercise to release anxiety. Close your eyes and take deep breaths to clear your mind. Try to learn tips that will help you in social settings.[11]
    • For example, you could learn visualization techniques. Close your eyes and imagine being happy and confident in an imaged scenario. This can actually make you more confident, or at least relieve some of your fear.
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    Spend more time around people. Don't wait for the perfect situation to present itself. If you want to go from shy to confident, you first need to put yourself out there in order to meet people. Put yourself in social situations and practice speaking.[12]
    • Accept feeling awkward. Remember that becoming confident will take practice. Don't give up after one attempt at being bold. Repeated attempts will make it easier and easier to interact.[13]
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    Do something for others. Instead of focusing completely on your shyness and anxieties, distract yourself by considering other people.[14] Take some time to help someone you know who needs it. You don't have to do something epic.
    • Just spending time with a relative that's lonely or sharing dinner with a friend who needs help can empower you and make others feel better.
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    Adopt power poses. Make eye contact, hold your head high, and pull your shoulders back. Standing or sitting in a power pose for 2 minutes can actually reduce your anxiety by 25%.[15]
    • For example, sit in a chair and place your hands behind your head, lacing your fingers. Or stand with your legs slightly apart and place your hands on your waist. These are a couple of power poses.[16]
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    Be yourself. Be who you really are and express yourself. Don't feel like you have to be the most outgoing, spontaneous person in the room. You can express yourself, even if it's in a way that is quiet and subdued. Stop worrying about what others think. Your self-esteem is the most important way to boost confidence.
    • Don't force yourself to be comfortable and confident in every situation. You may find that you can overcome cautiousness in certain social settings and not others. For example, you may favor small-group interaction, but really hate interacting at large clubs or parties.[17]

Sources and Citations

  1. http://thinksimplenow.com/happiness/20-ways-to-attack-shyness/
  2. http://thinksimplenow.com/happiness/20-ways-to-attack-shyness/
  3. https://books.google.com/books?id=ETzciRvm5osC&pg=PA146&lpg=PA146&dq=don%27t+expect+perfection+shy&source=bl&ots=cfJCq8ytOs&sig=m7CMH4VyPekTbMc92Vh4cqicJFs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xAw3VYmjMYqWyQSd04CgBg&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=don't%20expect%20perfection%20shy&f=false
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Article Info

Categories: Overcoming Shyness & Insecurities