There is a difference between being shy and having a social phobia. The terms are often used interchangeably, and that is a shame.
Shyness is more at the level of a habit that you can learn to manage on your own. A phobia is, by definition, life debilitating, and should only be dealt with in a professional setting. Be sure you know the difference.
If you have a problem with shyness, there are a number of steps you can take to help relieve your anxiety and become less shy.
Here are a few hints to start you on your way.
- Remember that almost everyone has experienced shyness during their life. Admit to being shy. Someone worth talking to and spending time with will work to ease you into the setting and conversation. Someone who doesn’t isn’t someone you should bother spending time with.
- Practice being interested in people. Talk to other people, and ask them questions about themselves. Focus on understanding and remembering their answers.
- A key way to overcome shyness is to try to focus your attention elsewhere. When you are focused on something outside yourself, such as another person in conversation, or an activity, you are less likely to feel shy.
- A little self talk can be helpful. Use positive affirmations to deal with stressful situations. It may also help to visualize yourself being relaxed and having fun interacting with others.
- Sentences that begin with ‘I’ make it hard for the listener to open up to you. â€œIâ€ sentences keep the attention on you, which may increase your shyness. Be careful, though, because this should not prevent you from talking about yourself to friends that is part of being a friend.