How can i overcome shyness

Shyness (for Teens) - Nemours KidsHealth

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 they jump into a conversation easily. Other people are quiet and shy, and prefer to warm up slowly to new people or situations.

What Is Shyness?

Shyness is an emotion that affects how a person feels and behaves around others. Shyness can mean feeling uncomfortable, self-conscious, nervous, bashful, timid, or insecure. People who feel shy sometimes notice physical sensations like blushing or feeling speechless, shaky, or breathless.

Shyness is the opposite of being at ease with yourself around others. When people feel shy, they might hesitate to say or do something because they're feeling unsure of themselves and they're not ready to be noticed.

Reacting to New Things

New and unfamiliar situations can bring out shy feelings — like the first day of school, meeting someone new, or speaking in front of a group for the first time. People are more likely to feel shy when they're not sure how to act, don't know how others will react, or when attention is 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.

Like other emotions, shy feelings can be mild, medium, or intense — depending on the situation and the person. Someone who usually or often feels shy might think of himself or herself as a shy person. People who are shy may need more time to get used to change. They might prefer to stick with what's familiar.

People who are shy often hesitate before trying something new. They often prefer watching others before joining in on a group activity. They usually take longer to warm up to new people and situations.

Sometimes being quiet and introverted is a sign that someone has a naturally shy personality. But that's not always the case. Being quiet is not always the same as being shy.

Why Are Some People Shy?

Shyness is partly a result of genes a person has inherited. It's also influenced by behaviors they've learned, the ways people have reacted to their shyness, and life experiences they've had.

  • Genetics. Our genes determine our physical traits, like height, eye color, skin color, and body type. But genes also influence certain personality traits, including shyness. 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.
  • Life experiences. 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. For example, 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 more shy.

    The examples other people set can also play a role in whether a person learns to be shy or not. 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.

Shy Strength

Many people want to reduce their shyness. But people who are naturally shy also have gifts that they might not appreciate in themselves. For example, because shy people may prefer listening to talking, they sometimes become really good listeners (and what friend doesn't appreciate that?!).

People who are shy might also become sensitive to other people's feelings and emotions. Because of their sensitivity and listening skills, many people with a shy personality are especially caring toward others, and interested in how others feel. People often consider them the finest friends.

Of course, some people want to feel less shy so they can have more fun socializing and being themselves around others. If you're trying to become less shy, it can help to remember:

  • Overcoming shyness takes practice. People who are shy tend to give themselves fewer chances to practice social behaviors. It's no wonder that people who shy away from socializing don't feel as socially confident as those who are outgoing — they have less practice! The more you practice social behaviors, the easier they get, and the more natural they feel for you.
  • Take slow, steady steps forward. Going slow is OK. But be sure to go forward. Stepping back from any situations that might trigger you to feel shy can reinforce shyness and keep it at a level that's hard to get past. Build confidence by taking one small forward step at a time.
  • It's OK to feel awkward. Everyone does sometimes. People who are shy are often afraid to feel awkward or uncomfortable. But don't let that keep you from doing what you want. You might feel awkward asking your crush for a first date. That's perfectly natural. Whether your crush says yes — or no — is out of your control. But not asking at all means you'll never get that date. So go for it anyway!
  • Know that you can do it. Plenty of people learn to manage their shyness. Know that you can, too.

When Shyness Is Extreme

Most naturally shy people can learn to manage their shyness so that it doesn't interfere with what they enjoy doing. They learn to warm up to new people and situations. They develop their friendliness and confidence and get past shy feelings.

But for a few people, shy feelings can be extreme and can seem hard to conquer. When shy feelings are this strong, they prevent a person from interacting, participating in class, and socializing. Instead of warming up after a while, someone with extreme shyness has shy feelings that build into a powerful fear. This can cause a person to avoid social situations and hold back on trying new things or making new friends. Extreme shyness can make it uncomfortable — and seem impossible — to talk to classmates or teachers.

Because extreme shyness can interfere with socializing, it can also affect a person's self-confidence and self-esteem. And it can prevent someone from taking advantage of opportunities or trying new things. Extreme feelings of shyness are often a sign of an anxiety condition called social phobia. People with social phobia often need the help of a therapist to overcome extreme shyness.

Someone with social phobia — or extreme shyness — can overcome it! It takes time, patience, courage, and practice. But it's worth the hard work. The payoff is enjoying more friends, having more fun, and feeling more confident.

Be True to Yourself

We can't change our true inner nature (and who would want to?). If you have a naturally shy style, or if shyness holds you back, you might have to work at developing a sense of ease around new people.

Most people find that the more they practice socializing, the easier it gets. Practicing social skills — like assertiveness; conversation; and friendly, confident body language — can help people overcome shyness, build confidence, and get more enjoyment from everyday experiences.

Reviewed by: Colleen Sherman, PhD

Date reviewed: October 2020

Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness: 8 Tips to Start

Anxiety and fear in social situations can make daily life more difficult. But there are ways to manage that might be right for you.

Social anxiety and shyness aren’t exactly the same. Though there is overlap between the two, you can be shy (or get social anxiety symptoms from time to time) without experiencing social anxiety disorder.

Let’s take a look at these differences.

Social anxiety disorder involves a persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and other day-to-day activities that involve being around others.

Shyness can also make you uncomfortable in social situations, but the difference is in the intensity and effects of your fear. People with social anxiety disorder may feel their anxiety is so strong that it’s beyond their control. It might also feel like anxiety takes over many parts of your life.

Social anxiety doesn’t affect everyone the same way either. Some people with social anxiety disorder experience anxiety only in certain social situations, and others might have anxiety that shows up only in performance-related settings, like public speaking.

It may feel as if your social anxiety or even shyness is out of your control, but it isn’t. There are ways to manage these feelings, however persistent they might seem.

Fermented foods and probiotics are known to bring many physical benefits, such as digestion and cardiac health. What you might not know, though, is that according to research, probiotics can also give you a mental health boost.

In one study, people who ate more fermented foods had fewer social anxiety symptoms. While more research is needed to solidify this link — and probiotics alone are unlikely to make social anxiety disappear completely — adding more probiotics into your diet could be a small yet effective way to help reduce some social anxiety.

While adding probiotics to your diet might help lessen some social anxiety, a couple of things could also make it worse — including that morning cup of coffee or energy drink. Older research shows caffeine can increase feelings of panic and anxiety in people who already experience anxiety.

And in an animal study, consuming more caffeine in adolescence was linked to higher levels of anxiety in adulthood.

Like caffeine, alcohol may not be the best option if you’re looking to reduce feelings of social anxiety. Some people use alcohol as a social lubricant, and it can work in the short term. But if using alcohol to soothe social anxiety becomes a habit, it can make you feel more anxious in regular settings over time.

Some research also suggests that alcohol could increase anxiety in shy people the day after drinking it. Even moderate amounts can affect your mood and anxiety level, so it’s a good idea to be mindful about how often you use it to take the edge off anxiety in social settings.

Talking one-on-one with a therapist may cause feelings of discomfort if you already experience social anxiety. But some alternative therapeutic methods could involve less of this one-on-one time.

For example, virtual reality cognitive behavioral therapy (VR-CBT) allows you to face your fears — like striking up a conversation with a stranger or giving a speech — in a virtual landscape. This form of therapy could allow you to practice communicating in a lower-pressure setting.

While VR-CBT shows promise for helping people manage social anxiety, it might not be available in your area. If you prefer less talk and more tech, biofeedback could be another, more accessible option.

You might also find a therapy that takes you out of your comfort zone — like group therapy — is your preferred approach to address anxiety, and research backs this up. One study on cognitive behavioral group therapy for social anxiety found it helped people reduce symptoms in the long term.

The physical act of smiling could impact mood and shyness.

In short, being happy can make us smile. But smiling can also make us happy. In one study, smiling in scary situations helped shy children reduce social anxiety.

And it’s not just smiling that might help alter your mood. You can practice:

  • good posture
  • loosening the muscles in your face
  • relaxing your eyebrows

On the other hand, research has also found that people with social anxiety might already be used to smiling more than people without it. In another study, people with social anxiety smiled more often to mirror the person they were talking with.

If you feel exhausted by the idea of smiling any more than you already do, that’s OK, too.

You may be thinking: “But that’s the problem. I can’t!” The trick is in setting manageable goals for yourself.

For example, if you’re new to running, you probably wouldn’t begin by signing up for a marathon. Instead, you might start by running only a minute at a time and walking for a while, too. The same can apply when dealing with shyness and social anxiety.

Instead of taking on more than you can handle, you might begin by setting a goal you know you can complete. And that will look different for everyone.

For one person, a good first goal might be texting a friend to say “hi.” For another, it might look like taking a walk around the park when more people are outside.

To identify that kind of a goal, the key is to be honest with yourself about what steps you can take. If you tend to put a lot of pressure on yourself, you might need to scale back the goal to make it more manageable. Or maybe you need to push a bit beyond your comfort zone.

When it comes to identifying what’s possible given your own social anxiety or shyness, you’re the expert.

Partaking in activities you like can be a great way to manage social anxiety. By focusing your attention on something like yoga, drawing, or gardening, you can give yourself a chance to have fun without worrying about judgment from other people.

It’s important to give your mind a break from all that sometimes. Some research even notes that pursuing an activity just because it’s fun is connected to better mental health and good outcomes in therapy.

And none of what you do has to be for show or put on display. You can blog, paint, build birdhouses, or go for a bike ride all for yourself. It’s all about your own enjoyment.

Like one-on-one therapy, reaching out to a friend might be something that feels a little threatening if you’re shy or experiencing social anxiety disorder. But if there’s someone in your life you trust, initiating conversations with them can help them understand you better.

There’s no need to be ashamed or misunderstood for your social anxiety. By practicing expressing your feelings to a friend, you can learn to open up and feel more comfortable making conversation in general.

It may seem counterintuitive, but trying to wish away the things that cause your anxiety isn’t usually the best answer. Instead, consider putting your worries on the spot.

When you notice yourself beginning to feel anxious, you may want to identify exactly what’s making you feel this way. By really focusing your attention inward and having an honest discussion with yourself about what your fears are, you may be in a better position to understand your shyness or social anxiety.

If you feel like you want to take more steps in learning or treating shyness and social anxiety, more resources are available for you. You can check out the National Social Anxiety Center for more info and support or Psych Central’s own resource on treating social anxiety.

There are many ways to help reduce feelings of social anxiety and live life more at ease. Finding the right solutions for you can be a process, but there’s no doubt that it’s a process worthwhile.

How to deal with shyness and become more confident

December 20, 2014 Adviсe

We are all shy in one way or another. But shyness does not prevent someone from living at all, and someone suffers from it. Today we will talk about how to deal with shyness and become more confident.

A Quora user asked readers a question that worries many people: “How do you deal with shyness?”. Given how relevant this topic is, we decided to share user responses with you.

Learn to be brave

Shyness is the exact opposite of confidence. So, if you are striving to be a confident person, then you must have the determination to do what you fear. For example, give a speech in front of a large audience. However, before you do this, you need to set yourself up properly, cheer yourself up, tell yourself: "I will do it." This will help you be more courageous and confident. The more often you try to fight your shortcomings, the closer you get to your goal of not being a shy person.

Don't be afraid to talk to others

Practice, practice and only practice. Talk to other people over a glass of wine or just a cup of coffee or tea. Ask the person what brought them to this place, to this event. If he keeps up the conversation, ask him to tell you a little about himself: about what he does in life, what he enjoys, what he loves and what he doesn't.

The interlocutor will feel that you are interested in him, and this will win him over to you. Communicate with others as often as possible, do not hesitate to make new acquaintances, and after a while you will notice how your shyness began to evaporate.


Changing yourself and your thoughts is the best way to overcome shyness. Get yourself a new haircut, update your wardrobe and believe that you have changed for the better - changes in life will not be long in coming.

Fight shyness every day

Here's what helps me fight shyness every day:

  1. Don't be afraid of rejection . If a complete stranger or even an acquaintance refused you something, then think about it, is it really so scary and you have lost something?
  2. Stop cheating yourself and imagining the worst. In your own head, you are a prisoner from which no one but yourself can pull you out. If you belittle yourself in every possible way, then soon you yourself will believe in it and begin to behave accordingly. It will be enough for other people just to look into your eyes to understand everything: they are an extremely insecure person.
  3. Remember that no one is perfect . Other people have exactly the same shortcomings and problems as you do. No, I do not urge you to rejoice that “others are no better”, just understand that everyone experiences exactly the same way as you. And most people have absolutely no time to think about you.
  4. Inhale-exhale. Everything will be all right .

Believe in yourself

Well, shyness is not such a big problem. Shyness comes from insecurity, which means that the best way to overcome shyness is to become more confident in yourself.

You are afraid that others will laugh at you or judge you. Don't think about it. Walk with your head held high, smile and never be afraid to be the first to speak to others. Just believe in yourself.

Every failure is a wonderful lesson

Shyness is something that many people suffer from, myself included. I believe that our upbringing and environment play a big role here. Don't be afraid of what other people think of you. You should not attach much importance to this, you should be able to take risks. Don't worry that some person might make fun of you. Every failure, every failure is a wonderful lesson that will help you become more self-confident in the future. And don't forget to remind yourself that you can handle this problem.

Other people don't think about you at all

I'm also a shy girl and I've always wanted to change that. Every time I have to say even a couple of sentences in front of a large group of people, I say to myself:

They are strangers to you, they know absolutely nothing about you. It is unlikely that they will remember your name or recognize you after a couple of days on the street. Even if you do something wrong, they will just laugh and forget about it in a minute.

This may seem too simple and naive, but it really works, at least for me. I, for example, do not speak English very well, but I can focus on the main goal - to get my idea across to people and try not to pay attention to my mistakes.

Conquer your weakness and become stronger

Always try to go against your shyness. Your doubts, your insecurities are what makes you weak. Rise above it and you will become stronger.

Shyness is an inner monster

I was also very shy. There was a feeling that some kind of evil creature lives inside me, which wants to seize control over my body and life (it may sound silly, but it really is). My main goal was the daily struggle with this inner monster, that is, I tried to do exactly what he was afraid to do. Of course, I made many mistakes and stumbled a lot before I knew all the rules of the game.

And that's when the inner monster left my body.

How do you deal with shyness? Share in the comments.

4 ways that really work from the experts

It is generally accepted that a shy person has a whole set of positive qualities. He is balanced, modest, restrained. However, few people realize that such people do not live easy. Many of them are trying to find ways to overcome shyness and experience the joy of easy communication.

What a timid person is

Shyness is a state of neuropsychic tension, accompanied by various disorders from:

  • autonomic nervous system;
  • emotional-volitional sphere;
  • psychomotor;
  • speech function;
  • thought processes;
  • self-awareness.

Shyness causes serious constant difficulties in communicating with others, especially in unusual situations. They often occur when you need to communicate with a stranger or be in a large company of people.

The feeling of embarrassment is a psychological barrier that prevents a person from fully communicating.

What does "shy" mean

A downward gaze, a wandering smile, an unhealthy pallor and blush on the cheeks - a mask that hides a real internal struggle with one's own "I". The essence of shyness perfectly reflects the name itself - a combination of the words "behind" and "wall".

A shy person fences himself off from the whole world, lives in his shell, where sometimes even his relatives do not let him in. He hardly trusts people, fearing a dirty trick in their every word and deed, afraid of invading his comfort zone.

Fear, distrust and fear of others are a fundamental feature of a shy personality.

Social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, who became the organizer of the famous prison experiment at Stanford, wrote the book How to Overcome Shyness. In it, he calls the problem of shyness a mental illness that cripples the psyche no less than the most severe bodily ailment.

From the point of view of psychology, shyness is a character trait, and it manifests itself:

  • indecision;
  • timidity;
  • tension;
  • stiffness and awkwardness in society.

There are several reasons for this - self-doubt, distrust of others, insufficiently developed social and communication skills.

External signs of shyness

It is very easy to recognize a shy person - he tries to avoid new acquaintances, spontaneous situations and large companies. He prefers to remain silent, even when asked for his opinion, does not fight for his rights.

An insecure person is constantly embarrassed, often blushes, he is not characterized by a wide sincere smile. His strong desire to leave is striking if a large company has gathered. Moreover, it can be only 5-6 guests who came to a family dinner.

Sign up for an online consultation if you want to get rid of shyness. Our doctors will test online to determine the depth of the problem and the factor that provoked it. Based on the results of the tests, the specialist will select the most effective technique for overcoming shyness.

How to remove constraint

There are many ways to get rid of shyness and stop being withdrawn. The choice of a specific method depends on why a person has these qualities. For example, children may be assigned family therapy sessions if shyness is due to the wrong parenting style.

Adults successfully overcome the complex of dislike by parents through the techniques of symbol drama and flashback. If modesty and shyness are caused by the environment, group and role-play trainings are held to develop communication skills and learn how to communicate easily.

Case study:

Tanya, 13 years old, has been shy since early childhood. She has always had a shy look and communication problems. The family is complete and prosperous in all respects. The psychologist conducted a hypnosis session and found out that tactile contacts were not accepted between relatives. The mother did not allow hugs and kisses, which led to the loss of physical and emotional contact. As a result, the child became insecure.

To overcome the feeling of shyness, a number of other methods are used in modern psychology:

  • beatotherapy, which involves contacts with the same timid people;
  • synchromethod, or the key method - learning to control one's psychophysical state in stressful situations - during public speaking, when meeting a new person;
  • imagotherapy - activation of creative abilities that enrich the personality of a person;
  • paradoxical intention - a gradual immersion of a person in a situation of communication in order to form a habit and adequately respond to them;
  • applied relaxation - reduces anxiety during stress caused by the need to interact with others;
  • rational psychotherapy is a person's conviction that modesty and shyness are negative qualities and negatively affect all areas of life.

This list can be continued, since there are many methods for getting rid of shyness. Working with a professional psychologist guarantees a favorable result. Regardless of the type of shyness, a person gains self-confidence and communication skills necessary for meaningful communication. He begins to make new acquaintances and quickly climbs the career ladder.

What to do if you are too modest: 4 ways that really work

1 - master auto-training

Affirmations are one of the simplest, sweetest, yet most effective ways to beat shyness. Every day, at a convenient time, say, listen to, or mentally scroll through a few affirmation phrases. You can invent them yourself or use those indicated in the table.




When I am among people, I am absolutely calm and relaxed.


It's easy for me to ask for help when I need it.


I trust others and they trust me


I myself create my own social circle, comfortable for me


It's easy for me to make new friends


I can boldly express my opinion, defend my point of view


I feel freedom and lightness in thoughts and movements


When everyone is looking at me, I feel relaxed and free.

Attention! It is important to believe in every word, to try to feel every phrase.

2 - get out of your comfort zone

“The wedge is knocked out with a wedge” - this saying will surely work if you face fear face to face. You just need to do the things that usually make you act shy and timid. For example:

  • go up to a nice guy (girl) and ask: “what time is it?”, “where is the nearest pharmacy?”, “how to get to the bus stop?”. Any phrase appropriate in the circumstances will do;
  • contact the boss with some initiative - introduce a five-minute warm-up after every 2 hours of work, rearrange furniture, shift goods depending on demand or seasonality;
  • speak at the morning planning meeting / meeting with a report on the work done, plans for the future.

Attention! If you periodically go beyond the comfort zone, you can make sure that there is nothing to worry about. People around you perceive you calmly and kindly.

3 - try the scale exercise

List the situations that make you especially shy, in order of importance. That is, put the most traumatic situation in the first place, and then in descending order of tension.

Your "Scale" might look like this:

  1. Ask the cashier to check the price on the check or return the money for some product.
  2. Ask a passer-by for the time or directions.
  3. Invite a colleague to a cafe / on a date.
  4. Meet a girl.

It remains to perform these actions, overcoming shyness and timidity in communication.

Book an online consultation if you are concerned about excessive shyness. Our psychologists will identify the cause of this condition, conduct a psychoanalysis of the situation, work through fears, anxieties, teach you how to manage emotions, and are ready to answer questions around the clock.

4 - talk about your shyness

This advice is especially relevant for those who want to overcome shyness in a relationship. Practice shows that discussing your own shyness with a partner reduces its negative impact.

According to psychologists, the demonstration of vulnerability contributes to rapprochement and increased trust in a couple. It is advisable to admit to shyness at the very beginning of the acquaintance, so that it would be easier to communicate in the future.

If you are tense, be honest and open about how you feel. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, so:

  • do not postpone the excitement "for later", express it immediately;
  • talk to your partner about your feelings in real time;
  • do not dwell on the fact that you are a shy person;
  • express emotions, do not drive them inside. But when you have spoken, switch to another topic;
  • let your partner console you if he makes such attempts.


Is shyness innate?


The role of heredity in this matter has not been studied enough. Presumably, a person's genetic predisposition to shyness is of some importance. However, it has not yet been possible to find out exactly what is more important - heredity or the child's copying of the parental model of behavior, if shyness is also characteristic of family members.

What does the method of paradoxical intentions mean?


This is a kind of "opposite therapy", when a person exaggerates the possible consequences of their actions. Imagine, for example, that during a public speech, your already shy face will turn purple, large drops of sweat will flow from it, and a large trembling will begin to beat your hands. In most cases, exaggerating events helps to remove fear for a long time.

Is it true that shyness can hide behind a mask of bravado and impudence?


Yes, this type of people exist. They can behave quite assertively and even cheekily, thereby trying to hide their embarrassment at least a little. A number of psychologists believe that shyness can make a person aggressive.

Why do psychologists advise reciting poetry, learning tongue twisters?


Fast and clear pronunciation of tongue twisters, reading poems relieves psycho-emotional clamps and shyness. For greater effect, this can be done in front of a mirror.

Expert opinion

Shyness is akin to social phobia. Both phenomena mean a fear of social contacts, and it is not easy to overcome it. A shy person must correct the image of his "I". To fully work with the problem, you first need to establish the cause of its occurrence. How to overcome shyness is well known by clinical psychologists who consult remotely on our website.

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Monakhova Albina Petrovna clinical psychologist

Experience 17 years

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Specialist in clinical psychology.

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