Most people experience shyness at some point in their lives. However, for some, their sense of shyness can be so strong that it prevents them from participating in many social situations.
Shy people also want to be close to others, but often avoid social situations altogether for fear of rejection or criticism.
Because of this, shy people often feel lonely and isolated, increasing their risk of developing other problems such as depression or anxiety.
An interesting study published in the renowned scientific journal Social Science Computer Review points out that shyness and loneliness are also linked to smartphone addiction.
The research provides clear evidence that using smartphones for various purposes (information seeking, social networking, etc.) amplifies feelings of loneliness and shyness in people who are more likely to feel lonely and shy.
Some people try to overcome their shyness with alcohol or drugs, which only increases the risk of developing other addictions and using harmful substances.
Shyness and Psychology
Numerous studies show that shyness repeats itself in a vicious circle in which a person experiences an intense fear of negative evaluation when approaching a social situation and then avoids such situations altogether.
While there may seem relief at first, this behavior often leads to feelings of shame and guilt. In addition, loneliness, depression and social anxiety are common.
To cope with these feelings, your feelings may turn to anger and you may blame others. You may view others as unsympathetic and unsupportive, and this reinforces your desire to avoid them.
Research indicates that childhood shyness is significantly associated with interpersonal and internal adjustment problems in early adulthood. Some gender differences also emerged, indicating that shyness had a more significant effect on women than on men.
These results show that shyness can be overcome with timely interventions from an early age. In other words, as social skills develop over time, just like other skills, avoiding social situations can result in poor social conformity, while proper methods of coping with social situations help suppress shyness.
How to overcome shyness?
There are certain ways to overcome shyness, which means improving your social skills.
1. Plan for Success
Unlike introversion, shyness is characterized by a strong fear that others will judge us negatively. Therefore, in social situations, we often think about how not to do something wrong instead of focusing on how to do it.
One of the ways to reduce fear and embarrassment in front of others is to think about how we can make a particular social situation successful. For example, if you become afraid to talk about football, think ahead about topics that suit you. What current events can you talk about? What is happening in your life right now and which ones do you like to share with others? What do you have in common with the people who will be there?
You can also come up with an exit strategy, but let this be your last option. Exposure to fear is the best way to overcome fear, but it is also important to have control over the situation and your behavior. Knowing that you have a worst-case exit strategy will not leave you feeling trapped.
2. Take care of other people
Try to take the focus away from yourself and show an interest in the people around you. Ask yourself:
– Who are they and why are they here?
– What are his interests and hobbies?
– What difficulties do they face in life?
That way, you can focus on something else that will help you start a conversation with others and get to know them better. Everyone has a story to tell, find out what it is about and listen carefully.
People like to talk about themselves, so you can easily become a very interesting person by showing an interest in others. Be careful not to ask people to share more than they can at the time.
3. Give yourself a specific role
Many shy people are actually very successful doctors, lawyers, professors and entrepreneurs. But when their role is no longer defined by the work they do, their confidence is lost.
When you have a certain role, you get a certain meaning to your behavior. Most people want to be liked and accepted by others, regardless of their situation. For this reason, some psychologists recommend putting ourselves in the role of a person who makes others feel the way we want to feel.
4. Soften your inner dialogue
Shy people are often very self-critical and their internal dialogue can be very harsh and include words they would never say to others.
If you judge yourself harshly, it’s easier to assume that others will judge you the same way. Your inner criticism can do a lot of emotional damage and make you restless and insecure.
The best way to beat this critic is to join forces with an even more powerful sidekick, the inner voice that plays the role of your best friend.
Start noticing the good things about yourself and learn how to confront your inner critic. When the critic starts blaming you for the fear you feel, remember that there is no one in this world who likes rejection, but everyone survives in such situations.
If your critic tells you that no one will ever love you, remind yourself that the most important thing is to love yourself.
When you learn to talk to yourself more kindly, social situations no longer have the power to hurt you. Also, with each new social situation your social skills get stronger, and the more you do this, the better you will feel.