Many of us don’t feel completely comfortable around others. This might be due to past experiences, our thought patterns, or just our basic nature. Do you currently struggle to develop and experience a good social life? If so, the good news is that a fulfilling social life is still possible for you.
All that’s required is a plan and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone just a bit.
These steps can help you to overcome your shyness:
1. Consider why you’re shy. Is there a bad experience from your childhood that caused you to adopt shyness as a defense mechanism? Have you always been shy?
• Do you interpret ambiguous information negatively? If someone fails to call you back, do you immediately think it’s because of you?
• Do you feel like every social interaction is a test of your likeability?
• Do you feel that your success has to be 100% and anything else is failure?
2. Make an effort to resolve the reasons for your shyness. Realize that it takes two to tango. Others have issues and things going on in their life that you know nothing about. Leave the past in the past.
3. Get out of the house. The people are outside, not in your closet. Unless you’re extremely lucky, they won’t be knocking on your front door either. Find something you like to do that involves others.
• Volunteer, join a sports team, or take a painting class. Find something that you love to do.
4. Reach out. If you find someone that you’d like to spend time with, suggest it! Just a simple, “Hi, I was just going to grab a bite to eat. Care to join me?” is great.
5. Don’t take the response personally. The other person might say ‘yes’, and then again, they might say ‘no’. Neither one is necessarily meaningful. If you get to hang out together, great. If not, maybe another time or you might find someone else who is more responsive.
6. Share, but not too much. Other than a meteorologist, no one likes to talk about the weather. People are busy and bored. Talk about something interesting. Put yourself out there, but not too far. A first outing isn’t the time to talk about your financial challenges or the restraining order against your ex.
7. Hang in there. Shy people tend to interpret every silence as utter failure. A conversation is rarely great from beginning to end. There are usually a few awkward moments. Accept them and keep moving forward.
8. Remember what’s important to the other person. Some people love to talk about sports. For others, it’s work and family. But remember that it’s not all about the other person. You should be enjoying yourself, too.
9. If you have good time, do it again. It’s that simple.
10. Be a good friend. Show that you care, you’re reliable, you can keep a secret, and you’re willing to talk about things other than just yourself. Demonstrate an interest in others.
11. Continue to reach out. Keep going out and meeting new people. Keep giving the people you enjoy opportunities to spend time with you. Maybe it will take 5-10 people to find a great friend. There’s nothing wrong with that!
Shyness can be a challenge to a rich and fulfilling social life, but it’s not an obstacle that can’t be overcome. Nearly everyone is shy about something. Get out of the house and meet some new people. Spend some time with others and try to spend more time with those that you like. It won’t be long before you’ll have all the friends you could possible want!