Making Your Shyness Work for You

by | Oct 2, 2023 | Self-Improvement

Did you know that about 48% of the U.S. population identifies as being shy? If only it was as easy as flipping on a light switch and magically feeling like you could talk to a complete stranger with all the confidence in the world. Unfortunately, not everyone has this ability right off the bat. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t! 

Overcoming shyness and building your self-confidence will take some work—and that work may feel a little bit uncomfortable. It will take time and effort, but with the right amount of determination, you can get yourself out of your comfort zone and feeling more confident (or at least fake it ‘til you make it!). So, are you ready to make your shyness work for you? Here are a few helpful tips! 

Don’t dwell on “bad” conversations. 

A pug sits on a bed with a blanket wrapped around its face.

You’ve probably had times when you’ve felt like your shyness ruined a conversation. You spend hours rehashing the conversation in your head, worrying about all the things you didn’t say, but should’ve or could’ve … the opinion you were too scared to voice, or the compliment you missed out on giving. 

Don’t let these things haunt you—and don’t be fooled. Most people are so busy thinking about themselves that they don’t even have time to stop and remember the minuscule details of the conversation. In fact, research confirms that our brains are wired to think about ourselves. When you feel judged, it’s most likely because you are judging yourself. As the ever-brilliant Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” 

Work on your nonverbal skills. 

Two people sit chatting in a conference room.

A UCLA study found that gestures count for 55% of the impact you have on an audience, while your tone only makes up 38%. Your words make up only 7%. The lesson here is that the quality of your conversations has to do with so much more than just the words you’re saying. Focus on getting better at other aspects of conversation like these: 

  • Maintain eye contact. 
  • Smile. 
  • Nod your head. 
  • Be fully present (don’t get distracted by incoming text messages, emails, etc.). 

These are just a few ways you can communicate your engagement with the conversation without having to put so much pressure on yourself to come up with the perfect words. 

Say yes to new things.  

A white wooden sign has the word “yes” painted in red.

At the end of the day, feeling comfortable talking to people is just one small piece of the puzzle. Building confidence in all areas of your life is the number one way to make your shyness work for you and become more at peace with who you are in the process.  

Do one thing every day that scares you, but really do it. Try something small like volunteering to take on a new project at work or ordering something new from a restaurant—anything that gets you out of your normal routine. Once you get comfortable with these things, start adding on bigger things like joining a new club or going to a workout class. You’ll start to notice that those things you thought were so scary aren’t as big as your brain makes them—you’re capable of a lot more than you think! 

Overcome your shyness.

Overcoming shyness won’t happen overnight—and you’ve probably lived this way for your whole life! Give yourself grace as you work on this area of your life. Commit to getting comfortable being uncomfortable. After all, that is the only way the magic happens. 

Ready for more tips from the Herschelmans? Read our blog post on “5 Positive Affirmations for Success.”