You can’t change who you are, but you can improve yourself. My whole life I have been super shy and would consider myself an awkward person during social encounters. I feel that I always worry about the same two things: what to say and how the other person will react. When I got to high school I was quickly annoyed with my own behavior. I just wanted to be able to socialize without a worry, but I didn’t know where to start.
I ended up getting my first job at the age of 16. I scored a job at a local subway and thought that all I had to do was just make subs. I didn’t realize that there was a huge social factor behind the job. You had to talk to strangers… I never talked to strangers, but when I did I was quiet and talked as little as possible. The biggest struggle for me was that I had to greet the customer within 3 seconds of them walking through the door, which means I had to initiate a conversation with them. I never did that before. I will never forget when my first customer came in and I greeted them quietly and my boss yelled at me to say it louder. I immediately wanted to quit, letting my shyness overcome me, but I did as she said and I was shockingly okay… For about a week I was overwhelmed by those social situations at work, but the more I practiced the better and more comfortable I became. I have to say that working cracked my shyness, but it was really just learning to confront my fears. By forcing myself to talk to people I learned that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Before you follow my tips you have to pinpoint what you are most afraid of or why you are shy. By understanding yourself you can easily head in the right direction for overcoming your shyness. Force yourself into the situations that make you uncomfortable that way they become familiar and eventually turn into comfortable situations. People are afraid of the unfamiliar so when it becomes familiar it is not scary anymore.
Tip #1 Say Hello
Start off by saying hello to everyone you know. This sounds stupid, but lets start off easy. I personally have a hard time putting myself out there to say hello. I am always worried that the other person will not hear me or I just won’t get a pleasant hello back. You have to forget about this fear because honestly who cares! (I know you care, but just keep telling yourself that it doesn’t matter). If an awkward encounter occurs from this just know that in a week or two, neither one of you will remember. Everything is going to be okay.
Tip #2 Give more compliments
Everyone loves to be complimented, so there is no going wrong with this one. Complimenting is an easy way to start a conversation or just a nice gesture. When I give a compliment it not only makes the other person feel good, but it makes you feel good too. Seeing that you made someone else happy will surely boost your confidence and help you realize that you shouldn’t be afraid of other people.
Tip #3 Stop caring
This is harder than it sounds, but you will eventually get to the point where you accept yourself for who you are. You have to not take everything so personal and get to the point where you can brush any awkward situation off of your shoulder.
Tip #4 Say yes more
If you are one to say no to an invitation because you are too shy (or even if you are too lazy) just say yes…please. I started saying yes more and it changed my life completely. I started meeting new people and began to enjoy myself for once, worry free.
Tip #5 Don’t over think
My biggest fear is asking strangers questions. If I am in the store and I am looking for something that I can’t find I refuse to ask the worker that is standing right next to me. If you are like me you have to stop overthinking the situation and just do what your instinct tells you to do. Just ask the question as soon as you think of it and don’t worry about if you are interrupting the worker or if you are going to annoy them. The quicker you act on your instincts the less you’ll be worried about what will happen.