Becoming a People Person: Tools for Overcoming Shyness

Shyness is also referred to as diffidence. In social psychology, shyness is a term used to denote the feelings of awkwardness and apprehension a person gets when being approached by or approaching new people with whom they are not familiar. Shyness has been blamed on genetic traits, personal experiences or the environment in which a person has grown up. There are different intensities of shyness.

Common Reasons for Shyness

There are many common reasons for shyness. Shyness can be caused by depression that is unrelated to shyness itself; however, depression results in people being more likely to eschew social contact. Shyness can even be related to traumatic incidents that occurred in your childhood, such as being rejected by someone you thought was a friend. Something as simple as a poor self-image, or lack of self-esteem can also be a common reason for shyness.

Shyness in Children

Shyness is more common in children than is expected. Shyness in children may not necessarily be a deleterious quality as it may even prove helpful to them, in some cases. For example, some children who exhibit shyness are actually quite cautious thinkers who enjoy evaluating situations and people to see if they check out. However, on the flip side, a shy child can also be enduring more negative quality traits of shyness. For instance, some children who are shy are actually quite angry and fearful; this manifests in behavioral problems related to their shyness. Telltale signs of shy children who are not operating healthily are a lack of eye contact and being shy to the point of withdrawing.

Building Confidence & Overcoming Shyness

There are many strategies people can start incorporating into their daily lives to overcome their shyness and build confidence. The first comes with self-exploration and self-awareness. If you are shy, you should try to find your strengths and then focus on developing them further as a way of increasing self-confidence. Another resource a person has in overcoming their personal shyness is their own self. Learning to love themselves is one tip that people who are shy should use to overcome their shyness. Learning to love themselves simply means spending more quality time with the self, such as meditating, reading or sitting on the beach.

If parents see their child as shy, there are ways that they can help them become less shy and maybe even overcome the shyness altogether. One way to approach this is by relating to shy children. Parents and teachers should give shy children an example from their own lives about a time when they were shy. This way of relating to shy children is effective because it allows them to realize that they are not abnormal for being shy and that it is a lot more common than they may think. Another approach to take with shy children is appealing to their sense of reason by using logic to explain to them all the benefits that come with being more outgoing. For example, parents and teachers can explain to shy children that being more outgoing results in making more friends, having more fun in general, and therefore getting more enjoyment from school and other social activities.

Seeking Professional Help

Sometimes, it may be necessary to look for professional help for shyness and confidence problems, especially if these shyness and confidence problems result in real problems in your life. This could be if shyness is so overwhelming that if actually interferes with the living of your life in a productive manner. This could be anything from failing to have a social life because of too much fear of associating with people or even failing to leave your residence much of the time, although the latter is an extreme example. In these cases, it is a prudent idea to think about seeking professional help for overcoming the shyness and confidence problems that are prevalent in your life. When looking for a professional to help overcome shyness, it is prudent to find out the approach of the psychologist in attempting to address the shyness and confidence issue. To determine the professional’s approach, simply read his curriculum and get references from fellow psychologists who work in the same field as the professional you are considering going to see.

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