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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Coping with shyness

Shyness  
Some people welcome new experiences and new people. 


They look forward to any opportunity to socialize. They're often the first to introduce themselves and the first to jump into a new conversation. For others, well, it takes us a little longer to warm up to something new!   
ShySness is an emotion that affects how you feel and behave around others. You might feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, nervous, bashful, timid, or insecure.  Some people blush or feel speechless, shaky, or breathless.   
 People are more likely to feel shy when they're not sure how to act, what will happen, how others will react, or when for some reason all eyes are on them.
People are less likely to feel shy in situations where they know what to expect, feel sure of what to do or say, or are among familiar people. .
About 20% of people have a genetic tendency to be naturally shy. But not everyone with a genetic tendency to be shy develops a shy temperament. Life experiences also play a role. 

When people are faced with a situation that may lead them to feel shy, how they deal with that situation can shape their future reactions to similar situations. If people who are shy approach new things little by little, it can help them become more confident and comfortable. But if they feel pushed into situations they don't feel prepared for, or if they are teased or bullied, it can make them even shyer.  

If the parents of a shy child are overly cautious or overprotective, it can teach the child to back away from situations that might be uncomfortable or unfamiliar.
 
People who are shy may become very good listeners and sensitive to other people's feelings and emotions. This means they may be very highly regarded and valued by others as friends. In some cultures, shy people are perceived as being thoughtful, intelligent and more likely to think before they speak.

If you are shy, here are some tips to help you.

1.    Practice social behaviours like eye contact, confident body language, introductions, small talk, asking questions and making invitations with the people you feel most comfortable around. Smile. Build your confidence. Then gradually extend the circle until you can do this with new friends, too.
2.     Think of conversation openers, like introducing yourself, giving a compliment or asking a question. Being ready with a conversation starter will make it easier to start a conversation with someone new.  
3.    When you have to deal with something uncomfortable like a particular phone call or a conversation, write down what you want to say beforehand. Rehearse it out loud and in front of the mirror if possible. Then go for it.  It doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect.  It will get easier with practice. 
4.    If self-criticism plays a role for you, ask yourself whether you'd be this critical of your best friend. Chances are you'd be much more accepting. So treat yourself like your own best friend. Be kind - encourage yourself!  
5.    Remember your opinion does countbe a little more assertive and speak up for yourself when there is something you need or want – keep Item 4 above in mind!


Shyness is something that you can work on with a coach or a counsellor.  Don’t be reluctant to find someone to work with you – they will be very happy to give you the support you need.

I’d be delighted to hear from you – what tips do you have for dealing with difficult situations?  How have you coped with being shy? 


I am Wendy Mason and I work as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger.  I have worked with many different kinds of people going through personal  and career change. If you would like my help, please email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439.  I will be very pleased to hear from you.