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How to Stop Being Shy: 20 Ways to Kick Your Shyness to the Curb

It’s not the easiest thing to be shy as it can make you extremely awkward and reserved to be around. However, you can always learn how to stop being shy.

how to stop being shy

There’s really nothing wrong with being shy, but it can hold you back from forming friendships and relationships. This is why learning how to stop being shy is so important. Otherwise, this could limit you to the number of potential connections you have.

When you’re shy, it’s normally because of your upbringing, your confidence, or maybe you’ve always just been an introvert and it’s part of your nature.

There may be cases where your shyness is stopping you from trying things you want to do or gives the illusion that you’re really awkward and nervous as a person. Despite all of this, you can always choose to learn how to stop being shy.

[Read: How to be less shy and more comfortable when you meet new people]

Shyness vs introversion: What’s the difference?

It’s really easy to mistake shyness from being an introvert as the same thing, but they’re not. When you’re shy, you’re really not comfortable talking to people or socializing.

Even if this is also the case for introverts, their reserved nature comes from their lack of interest in talking to others, and their need for solitude.

This is why some introverts might appear shy from the perspective of strangers, but to everyone else in their life, they can be such great conversationalists. However, when you’re shy and not an introvert, this affects all your interactions.

Introverts are okay when people approach them as some are confident and secure enough to converse. When you’re shy, this isn’t the case. [Read: Nervous sweating – How to recognize your triggers and prevent stress sweats]

How to stop being shy – All the tips you need

If you’re reading this feature, it’s because you’re tired of being looked at as the shy one. It might sound scary to overcome this, but it’s really not as overwhelming as it seems.

The thing about this struggle is you’re not alone – there are a lot of shy people in the world! Just read these tips, and you’ll stop being a wallflower in no time. [Read: Socially awkward? 16 ways to loosen up and live life]

1. Just admit it

The first step to overcoming any struggle is to admit it first. If you really want to learn how to stop being shy, just come clean with it.

Acknowledge that you’re shy and that you want to overcome it. It doesn’t make you inferior or a bad person just because you admit your weakness.

In fact, it makes you strong because you’re willing to make yourself better in admitting your flaws. People aren’t going to love you less by coming clean with being shy, we guarantee you that. Most probably, your shyness is one of the quirks they’ve learned to love about you. [Read: Do guys like shy girls and find them more attractive?]

2. Address your shyness with your friends and family

In coming clean, you need to first start with your friends and family. They’re probably the ones who know your shyness better than others, which means they’re also the ones who should be the first to know. If you want to learn how to stop being shy, it starts with your family and friends.

Also, let them know that you don’t want to be pressured. Sometimes, your friends think they’re helping you, but they end up pushing and suffocating you. This way, they’ll know whether to invite you out or not be as pushy in coming with them. [Read: Outgoing introvert? 12 signs you’re a complex ambivert]

3. Figure out why you’re shy

Were you always shy, or did you slowly develop into a shy person? Again, being shy can come from a lot of factors.

Maybe you were just influenced to be shy growing up as an only child, or maybe you suffered something traumatic. If you know the core reason for being shy, then you know how to overcome it.

This also helps you determine whether you’re just shy in a specific situation or shy in general. For instance, some shy people are actually very extroverted in small groups but they won’t even speak an entire sentence in a big crowd.

It’s these things that can help you identify the levels of your own shyness and what you can do about it.

4. Know your comfort zone

Know what you’re comfortable with and where your boundaries are. There are some boundaries that you can’t cross, which is fine. In learning how to stop being shy, find the line between what you can’t and can’t cross.

With this being said, there’s also such a thing as making excuses just to stay in your comfort zone forever. Even if overcoming your shyness is a gradual process, you need to be willing to let go of familiarity and comfort at some point. Maybe not right away, but eventually. [Read: How to not be awkward – A guide for the quirky ones]

5. Don’t create huge goals

Goals are great things to have, however, make them modest in the beginning. While the goal is to overcome your shyness, you don’t need to do it overnight.

Just like nobody reaches success overnight, you won’t overcome this struggle immediately. What’s the rush?

Just take your time in expanding your comfort zone and getting to know yourself. If your goals are too big, you run the risk of overwhelming yourself and giving up.

You’re going to burn yourself out and as a result, you won’t want to try again in achieving this goal. Take it one step at a time in overcoming your shyness and see where it takes you. [Read: How to feel better about yourself – 20 small steps for the biggest results]

6. Take baby steps

You don’t have to jump right into it. Baby steps, people. We’ve said this over and over above, but we’ll say it again – don’t rush into things. There’s no need to dive into the water right away, but take a dip first and see what happens.

You can’t rush the process as the more you rush things, the more overwhelmed you’ll feel. By taking things slow, you won’t shock yourself and retreat back into your comfort zone.

You won’t hide in your comfort zone forever in the fear of being overwhelmed or messing up again all because you dove in too quickly.

7. Prepare some conversation starters

If you’re worried that you won’t have anything to say at the party or interview you’re going to, well then, prepare ahead of time. Come up with five basic conversation starters. This is honestly the best way not to let your anxiety get the best out of you.

When you’re ready for a social event, then you’re ready for whatever life throws at you. As long as you’re saying something related to the event you’re going to, you’re all good.

You can practice doing this with yourself in front of a mirror, and take it up a notch when you’re ready – practice with your friends and family when you have more confidence. [Read: Drawing a blank? Try these 25 perfect conversation starters]

8. Rehearse what you want to say

This is very similar to the point above, but you need to rehearse what you want to say if you want to know how to stop being shy. Part of why we’re shy is because we’re afraid of saying the wrong thing or making a fool of ourselves.

By rehearsing what you’re going to say, you’ll be able to organize your thoughts and also predict where the conversations will go. So, if you don’t like the element of surprise, this is a great way to relieve anxiety.

9. Know what you’re good at

The best way to overcome this and learn how to stop being shy is not to focus on your weaknesses, but your strengths. You’ll never achieve anything when you always focus on what’s lacking, so you need to focus on the things you particularly excel at.

This not only will help you develop confidence, but you also now have some conversation topics at your disposal. Also, don’t be so quick to dismiss this and say you don’t have strengths, because everyone has strengths.

You’re just so used to overlooking them that you don’t see them, but they’re there. [Read: Social anxiety to social butterfly – How to be less awkward]

10. Stop worrying about what other people think

What you need to know is people really don’t care about you. Stop worrying about people judging or criticizing you all the time. Most often than not, people are so focused and preoccupied with their own lives that they don’t have the energy to judge you when they’re busy judging themselves.

It’s easy to think that people are constantly criticizing your every move, but that’s not what the reality is. People love themselves.

Sure, we all comment on each other, but at the end of the day, no one remembers it because we’re too concerned about ourselves. Remember this the next time you’re being overwhelmed by your shyness.

11. Observe extroverts

If you’re not sure how to approach people, watch extroverts. They’re the life of the party and basically embody what it’s like to be confident and secure, and they make it seem so easy to talk to everyone. Watch how they converse, their body language, facial expressions – literally everything.

There’s so much you can learn from extroverts when learning how to stop being shy. You never know, that extrovert friend you have might be the inspiration you need to learn from them. If they can do it, then so can you. [Read: Motivational tips-n-tricks for shy people and introverts]

12. When in doubt, ask questions

If you don’t know what to talk about with someone, remember, people love talking about themselves. The most engaging thing in a conversation is questions, so when in doubt, ask them any question about themselves and they’d keep going.

The best thing about this? It makes it seem like you’re actually interested and engaged in the conversation. It doesn’t even have to be a philosophical one.

Just ask them about their dog or what their tattoo means – that’ll get them going. You can even ask them about their passions in life – people love talking about the things they love. [Read: Why introverts are much more than just shy and awkward]

13. Don’t self-sabotage

Listen, self-deprecation is fine if you’re a comedian and have a high level of self-confidence. However, if you’re shy, do not try to sabotage yourself. If you’re embarrassed or made fun of yourself, realize that it’s not the end of the world.

You can do one of two things – self-sabotage, or use it as an opportunity to keep learning. Stop letting your negative thoughts dictate your progress and direction, no matter how easy it is.

Anyway, you can always choose to laugh about it and it’d make a great way to make your friend laugh. Not bad for someone shy, huh? [Read: Sabotaging your happiness – The many ways you ruin your own life without realizing it]

14. Stay away from bullies

Shocking, yes, but people can be assholes even after they graduated high school. You need to stay away from bullies as best as you can and if you can’t, don’t listen to them. It’s easier said than done, but you can’t let bullies put down your self-esteem even further and diminish your progress completely.

You’re trying to work on yourself, not help them inflate their self-esteem. So, hang around people who are positive, interesting, and supportive. [Read: Easy dating advice for introverts]

15. Work through the fear

If your friend invites you to a house party and it’s your first one, don’t be so hesitant to go. You need to learn to face your fears, even if it feels uncomfortable at first. How else are you going to get better if you don’t face your fears?

More often than not, what you fear happening isn’t going to actually happen.

16. If you don’t succeed, try again

Progress isn’t linear and you need to remember this the next time you feel discouraged. In learning how to stop being shy, keep trying multiple times until you actually get there. The most confident people didn’t get to that stage in just one try, the same goes for you.

You’re not always going to get it right. By learning how to stop being shy, you’re changing a part of yourself, so you’re going to fail a couple of times and it’s going to be hard. [Read: How to overcome shyness – 16 quick-fixes to transform your life]

17. Avoid the label

Sometimes, labeling ourselves as the shy person can hold us back from actually overcoming that struggle. Labels can make you think that you’ll always be defined by them. However, the truth is that you define your life and what you choose to do with it.

Stop putting a label on yourself and start executing action on what you want to do about it. Are you going to be that shy person, or are you going to be someone who actively conquers their fears? The choice is yours.

18. Choose your friends wisely

You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with. This means that if you’re likely surrounded by negative people, then that perception is going to be reflected in your life as well.

Instead, choose people who empower and support you towards the right path. Choose people who won’t make you dwell on the negativity, but on everything going right. [Read: Good friends are like stars: 18 ways to build lasting friendships]

19. Read a self-help book

Granted that a self-help book doesn’t solve all your problems, but it does help you gain insight on what to do. You can use a self-help book to get professional advice on how to be more confident when you approach people, and learn to overcome your shyness.

It’s not going to magically turn you into an extrovert, but it can improve you *if you let it*.

20. Smile more in conversations

We can’t stress this enough, but you need to smile more in conversations. Even if you feel shy at that moment, a smile can always make conversations seem more light and fun. Generally, you’re also more approachable and friendly when you smile when talking to people.

No, we’re not referring to a creepy smile, but genuinely smile at them and make them feel comfortable. Smiling also gives you the impression of confidence. *so if we were you, we’d smile way more often!*

[Read: A guide on effective communication in a relationship]

Why is learning how to stop being shy important?

By learning to overcome this, you expose yourself to meeting all kinds of people with different personalities and from different backgrounds.

Also, you no longer have to wait to be approached when you’re shy, especially when you know how to initiate conversations.

Being shy isn’t a great feeling as you never know when you can make a potential friend or even go on a date, because you’re just too shy to put yourself out there. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but this is why it’s important to stop being shy.

It doesn’t just affect your relationship, but also your confidence and self-worth. As a shy person, it can be challenging for you to go on interviews, present in meetings, or basically go out of your comfort zone. If you don’t overcome this, it can negatively impact your life as a whole. [Read: How to flirt when you’re shy without trying to be too smooth]

So, how to stop being shy?

It’s not the easiest thing to grow up being shy. If anything, it’s one of the hardest things you’re going to overcome. Your comfort zone and courage are going to be tested every step of the way. But you know what? It’s all going to be worth it.

[Read: 25 memorable life lessons to perfect your life in every way you desire]

If you want to get out of your shell, it’s totally doable! You can learn how to stop being shy. Just take it one step at a time and you’ll find yourself overcoming your shyness in no time!

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...