How to overcome shyness as an introvert

how to overcome shyness as an introvert

Shyness is often considered to be negative. For me, if someone tells me that I’m shy, I get straight up offended. Not because they mean it as an insult, but because I tried so hard to overcome shyness ever since I was a kid.

When I was little, I used to get extremely anxious around people I didn’t know. I hated greeting other kids in the street. When the teacher called out our names and we had to shout “yes”, I was petrified. Somehow I got so scared that I would lose my voice at the very time my name was called.

Being shy is not easy, as it constantly leaves you feeling self-conscious and anxious. But as I got older, I got better at these situations. I started caring less about people’s opinions of me. And I don’t freak out anymore when I have to talk to strangers.

I don’t consider myself shy anymore, at least not in every-day life. Things like public speaking are still a no-go for me, but I believe that if I needed to, I would be able to get used to even that.

In this post, I want to share with you different tips to overcome shyness as an introvert. I hope that you find them helpful!

Understanding shyness vs. introversion

Shyness is not the same as introversion. And in order to get rid of shyness, you really, really need to understand the difference.

Psychology Today defines shyness as “the awkwardness or apprehension some people feel when approaching or being approached by other people. Unlike introverts, who feel energized by time alone, shy people often desperately want to connect with others, but don’t know how or can’t tolerate the anxiety that comes with human interaction.

Basically, shyness means that you’re anxious around other people. If you’re like me, you might feel like they’re judging your every move, which in turn makes you really awkward.

Have realistic expectations about overcoming shyness

Overcoming shyness doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll become an outgoing, extroverted person. Indeed, if you’re an introvert like I am, it might just mean that you’ll be a more confident quiet person.

Having realistic expectations is crucial so you don’t get discouraged. Overcoming shyness is possible, and it will make your life a million times easier. But it won’t change who you are.

I still love to be in my own space, I’m still not interested in meeting new people all the time. But at least I’m not scared of meeting new people, and my shyness isn’t holding me back from social interactions anymore!

Overcome shyness for you, not for them

You can’t go into the whole process thinking that others will like you more if you’re not shy. That’s not a valid goal, and it won’t work.

You should never follow a goal for the only sake of someone else’s approval. You shouldn’t be dependent on someone else. Everyone has their moods, good and bad days, and their own problems.

Being dependent on someone else’s opinion means that they’ll bring you down with them if they have a bad day, and you won’t have the force to lift them up. It’s like being an empty cup waiting to get filled, and that’s just not a good way to live.

Instead, let your motivation to get rid of shyness come from within. YOU need to like you more. This journey is going to be about you, and it’s so worth it!

Remember that people don’t spend that much time thinking about you

For me, the worst thing was always the fear of making a fool out of myself. For literally everything. I always felt like people were watching my every move whenever I had to do something out of my comfort zone.

For example, I hated ordering food because I’d always feel like I wouldn’t talk loud enough, or say it weird, or whatever.

But people actually don’t spend that much time thinking about you. Everyone has their own problems, and they aren’t paying closer attention to you than to anyone else.

Realising this has helped me a lot because it made me feel less awkward in new situations. Knowing that I wasn’t constantly under observation made it that much easier to overcome shyness.

Stop judging people

When you feel like everyone is judging you, it’s far too easy to start doing the same thing to them. Thinking that someone is mean although you never talked to them, for example. Or assuming that someone doesn’t like you although you can’t know that.

I’ve been there, I’ve done that. And maybe it was true sometimes. But I know that most times it wasn’t. I’ve assumed that people didn’t like me in school, and it turned out that they didn’t even know that I went to their school. Obviously, I never talked to them.

Not judging people is a great way to overcome shyness at work or in school, where you come across lots of people whom you don’t know well.

Not only is life far easier when you don’t make negative assumptions, but it also makes you seem way nicer. And you won’t be missing out on beautiful friendships because of your own misjudgment!

Get out of your comfort zone to overcome shyness

One of the best ways to overcome shyness is by continuously pushing yourself to do things you’re afraid of.

It could be speaking to strangers, making calls, public speaking, etc. The more you do it, the more small victories you’ll have. And situations that scare you now won’t be scary after you’ve done them 5 times.

Just take one small step at a time so it’s not too scary: do something that’s a little outside of your comfort zone every day.

You can’t get rid of shyness in one day, but if you are kind to yourself and keep working on it little by little, it’ll get better fairly quickly!

how to overcome shyness as an introvert

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12 Replies to “How to overcome shyness as an introvert”

  1. Such a good advice! I especially love what you said about getting out of our comfort zones to overcome shyness. I was called shy all the time during my teenage years, mainly when I would start meeting new people in high school. But later I realized that getting out of my comfort zone and just approaching people or making an effort to engage in conversations with new people, makes such a difference. And it’s a great feeling after, knowing that we’re slowly breaking that ”wall” and challenging ourselves to grow and overcome shyness.

    1. I so agree! Every time you manage to get out of your comfort zone and approach people, it feels like a victory. And it gets easier every time because you remember how you were able to do it last time and that it wasn’t so bad.

  2. I love this post. I’m shy and get anxious about talking to new people even though I want to. The first step is usually the scariest. Every time I meet someone new and it goes well, I consider it a small victory. I have to remember, they aren’t thinking about me. Thank you for sharing.

    1. The first step is the worst! But it actually helps to remember that. Whenever I feel super anxious about approaching someone, I tell myself that I just need to get through the first 10 seconds and the rest is going to be easier.

  3. I loved this. Actually, it was like reading my own story. I was a shy kid. Extremely shy. I’m now in my 50s and survived it. I think at some point in my life I realised that everybody in the world isn’t an extrovert and I didn’t have to be. I learned that I could smile, and do the polite parts, and didn’t need to get into full blown conversations. It didn’t matter what people thought. Then sometimes I was in situations out of my comfort zone and surprised myself. I still do at times. I really wish I had read this when I was a young girl.

    1. It took me so long to understand that not everybody has to be an extrovert!
      I feel like schools make it difficult to accept that it’s okay to be an introvert. I don’t know if that’s the case everywhere, but I was always told that it’s not okay to be quiet. Maybe I would have been less shy if I didn’t think that there was something wrong with me. Or maybe it just gets better as you get older. But realising that I don’t have to be an extrovert definitely has helped so much!

  4. Oh Karina, school was difficult. I remember teachers trying to push and it was embarrassing and made it worse. School certainly didn’t help. I think it does just get better as we age because we become more confident and at ease with who we are. It’s about acceptance I think. Keep writing about it, because some young person might read it and realise that it’s ok. Or their parent or teacher.

  5. Absolutely love your advice! Especially the fact that people don’t actually spend that much time thinking about you, which is so true, but I feel like we forget it sometimes, so it’s a great reminder! 🙂

    1. I’m so happy that you liked it! 🙂

  6. I guess when you explain it like that, I am not shy, but am an introvert instead. I can do public speaking, stand people staring at me, and all that, but I really prefer to be alone. I don’t like speaking out in front of people that aren’t finding joy in the moment, but if called upon, I can deliver. Thanks for clearing up the difference between the two.

    1. The two get confused all the time! It took me so long to understand the difference…

  7. Oh my gosh! I have always been a shy person growing up. I always felt like people were judging my every move when in actuality, those people could care less about me. If anything, I brought the attention to myself being awkward. Now that I am more mature, I would consider myself to be an introvert. Great post!

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