My childhood and teens years were a lot more awkward than they had to be, mostly because I was so shy. But my parents (oh, bless them) sent me to therapy and I learned that being shy doesn't have to be a life sentence for social anxiety. Here are a few of the strategies I learned to help me get over my shyness and embrace confidence instead.
1 Talk to You
I know this sounds bizarre, but this was the first strategy my therapist laid out for me, and it works! When you're alone, feel free to talk to yourself, and not just in your own head, but out loud! I suppose part of the success of this trick is that it gets you used to hearing your own voice, which for a shy person, is kind of a new thing.
2 Start with Your Squad
It's always easiest to learn to be less shy and more confident with people you already know, so start practicing your new anti-shyness habits with your squad and your fam. They love you most and will be super-supportive of your attempts at confidence-boosting.
3 Plan Ahead
If you're worried about a special event, like a date, party or bar night, plan a few conversation starters or hash out some safe topics ahead of time. Sure, you'll want to be flexible enough to go with it when the conversation evolves, but sometimes for shy people, just getting the convo going is the hard part.
4 Take It Slow
Look, you know you're shy, and you're working on it... so don't push yourself over your limit too much. Stretch gradually outside your comfort zone, don't just jump into every intense social situation you can. That's just setting yourself up for a setback, and those can be tough to recover from. Which brings me to...
5 ... Don't Be so Hard on Yourself
When you do make a mistake, don't dwell on it! Being too hard on yourself isn't going to help. Everyone's happy you're making an effort, so focus on that, and on all of your other successes instead.
6 Focus on the Positive
You might be shy overall, but there might also be situations in which you don't feel anxious, embarrassed, or overwhelmed... start there! Sometimes it can be daunting to tackle the things you think you're doing "wrong," so try to also consider the things (and social situations) you know you're really good at.
7 Start Online
Another great place to start stretching your wings (and expressing opinions) is on social media. There are also groups you can join to talk about issues you care about, hobbies and interests you have, and more. Before you take your anti-shy campaign to the streets, try it out online.
8 Ask Questions
This one's about deflecting attention, and when you're feeling a little overwhelmed, it's totally okay to do that, to shift the focus away from you for just a few minutes.
9 Reward Yourself
Don't forget to celebrate your small (and big) accomplishments along the way by rewarding yourself when a social interaction goes well. You worked hard — you deserve it!
Are you a recovered shy person? How did you get over your shyness and face the world with more confidence?