Doing Life Together

youth-1161906_1920Rachel walked into the room. Crowds were not easy for her to manage. She worries that she will be embarrassed if she says the wrong thing. This is one reason Rachel tries to avoid events with lots of people.  She doesn’t want to be noticed and prefers to be a wallflower.

Rachel has a personality traits known as shyness. She easily becomes tense during social encounters , especially with people she doesn’t know. People would label her quiet or shy. This is different than someone who is an introvert.

An introvert is someone who enjoys being alone and uses the isolation to regroup. An introvert intentionally avoids situations like parties, whereas the shy person has a desire to be social, but is worried about how he or she will come across at a party. Shy people are typically withdrawn and emotionally sensitive. In fact, we know that the brain of someone who is shy has certain parts that are more sensitive than someone who does not have the shyness trait. In addition, negative life experiences doesn’t help bring the shy person out of their shell.

So if you relate to Rachel and feel that you are shy, here are 10 tips to overcoming your shyness:

  1. Give yourself time to warm up to new situations. Don’t be impatient with yourself. You need time to adjust and feel comfortable in unfamiliar situations.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to the most social person in the room.  This will only make you feel worse. Instead, tell yourself that even people who are confident feel uncomfortable in new situations.
  3. Starting a relationship may be difficult but reassure yourself that when a shy person gets into a relationship, they don’t have trouble developing intimacy.
  4. Arrive early to a party. I know, that sounds counterintuitive but shy people need to meet people one on one and become familiar with their surroundings.
  5. Prepare a topic for conversation. Be prepared to engage by being up on current events or an area of interest to bring to a conversation.
  6. Smile, look friendly and open yourself to other people. People will be friendly back!
  7. If you really struggle, just say, “I am shy. I do want to talk to you, but it isn’t easy for me.” Often this helps the conversation, as the other person will have empathy and help you.
  8. Volunteer in order to engage with others. This will give you something to do while meeting people.
  9. When in doubt of what to say, ask questions. People like to talk about themselves, so ask about them.
  10. Spiritually, you are in good company. Moses was shy and told the Lord he was slow of speech and slow of tongue, but had to rely on the Lord to help him do what God was asking him to do. Remember 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” With God’s help, you can overcome shyness when you need to speak or act.
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