Medically reviewed and approved by Clinical Psychologist and President of PsicoLuz Integral Psychology Luzmery Romero.
Being a more social skilled man is a challenge many of us must overcome. Shyness doesn’t only happen when we want to strike up a conversation with people we don’t know, or talk to the beautiful woman you like, or just navigating a group of friends or strangers. How can one look and feel super confident? How does a man show self-assurance? Shyness and/or a lack of confidence also occurs when speaking to an audience, or doing a presentation, etc. Your mind goes blank, and you feel paralyzed; not knowing what to say or how to say it. Don’t worry, at least half of men experience this regularly or have in the past. I myself suffered from this problem, and I’m going to tell you how I solved it:
Scientific studies show that man is a social being, and needs to be healthy both mentally and physically. To overcome shyness and be more sociable, you should put yourself in situations where you are forced to interact with other people, such as joining a sports team, dance class, or a group/club.
Now, I will detail how I overcame all the obstacles that my shyness put in front of me. Sometimes, fear of socializing comes from childhood experiences of shame, or simply because no one ever helped you face this fear. No one gave you that little push to let loose and be yourself around other people.
Let me tell you that this is a myth—nobody has to give you that push or help you face your fear. Only you have the power to truly overcome shyness and be more sociable.
That is why I am writing this article; I’m envisioning you becoming a much more friendly and outgoing man. To start, we need to know what shyness is.
What is shyness?
You could say that shyness is feeling a little bit afraid when there are people around you. That shyness brings about insecurity, shame, and self-consciousness in the midst of new social situations.
Shyness is a feeling that affects the person and makes them afraid, nervous or uncomfortable when there are other people around them. That shyness makes one feel insecure or ashamed in common social situations, even causing physical reactions such as trembling or sweating.
It is normal to feel scared at some point, like when we are new to a class or arrive at a meeting wherein we know almost no one. But, I must tell you that you can’t sit around all day in that shyness; try to break the ice.
Shyness is a behavior that can limit the social development of those who experience it in their daily lives. The truth is that we don’t consider shyness an illness; however, if it is not controlled or moderated, it can worsen to the point of pathology.
How do you know if you are shy or introverted?
What are the symptoms of shyness? How does it manifest itself? This is not a simple answer, but I can summarize it for you with the following:
We can recognize shyness through several presenting symptoms. They’re classified into three categories: physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. Shyness is a feeling that does not allow us to feel comfortable, and it also manifests itself in bodily reactions like speechlessness, blushing, feeling out of breath or shaky.
It is essential to know these symptoms and to seek professional help if necessary.
Physical symptoms of shyness
Among the physical symptoms are:
- Flushing or facial blushing
- Excessive sweating
- Much tension in our muscles
- Gastrointestinal discomfort or colic
- Tremor in our body
- Tremor in our voice
The reality is that not all of these physical symptoms are present in every case. When you linger for a long time in a situation wherein you feel shy, these symptoms increase and may appear all at once.
Behavioral symptoms of shyness
When we talk about behavioral symptoms, we should acknowledge that they are not similar to physical ones—the truth is that they are not. When we speak of behavioral symptoms, we refer to a series of behaviors including:
- Avoiding meetings and events. A widespread symptom of shyness is avoiding almost all social situations. There are even people who run away from social events. Usually, the behavioral symptoms originate from the belief that you are being made fun of, or are making a fool of yourself in public.
- Remaining silent. Another symptom of behavioral shyness is letting other people talk more, while you remain quiet.
- Drinking alcohol. Just as there are obvious symptoms of shyness, others can be subtle. Yet, if not treated, these can cause many complications. Excessive alcohol consumption is one of these symptoms.
Cognitive symptoms of shyness
Cognitive symptoms happen in and to the mind. This includes the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that occur in our brains. When a person is shy, persistent negative thoughts or feelings arise about oneself.
These thoughts make you more nervous, cause you to block you out positive things, and keep you thinking that everything will go wrong. Advice: stop obsessing about how things could possibly turn out, and just let the moment flow.
Overwhelming cognitive symptoms can lead to strange and embarrassing behavior that makes you look worse, and they also make it difficult to concentrate on the conversation happening around you.
What causes shyness?
The most common causes of shyness are genetic inheritance (studies have shown biological differences in shy people’s brains), learned behavior (usually from interactions with parents), negative experiences in past social relationships, and poor self-esteem.
Now that I have told you about the leading causes of shyness, I am going to explain each one of them in more detail.
Many researchers have discovered that some hereditary explanations for shyness exists. This gene is carried by approximately 20% of people. When considering that shyness can be inherited, remember that this does not determine whether the person is shy or not; rather this predisposes him/her to it.
Shyness is a characteristic of character that usually develops during childhood. It’s related to the previous point above. If your family is not necessarily the best at establishing conversations or being social, it is unsurprising that the child would acquire and learn these behaviors.
Even if this is your situation, don’t let this defeat you and remain a shy person for life. You can always move past those wrong thoughts and attitudes, because it is possible to overcome that shyness.
We have all gone through experiences or trauma that we will never forget, and this can lead us to become shy. For example, when going through some pain or shame—like looking bad in front of the girl you like, or embarrassing yourself in front of an audience—you have been exposed. Usually, after being humiliated, we tend to use shyness as a defense mechanism.
The wisdom behind a bad experience is to help us learn from it and move forward. Without these experiences, we could not get out of future negative situations nor learn from our mistakes.
You have the power to learn from your bad experiences and grow from it into a wiser man.
We may overlook this, but it is a valid reason that should be considered. Not valuing yourself enough can be the determining factor that causes shyness and antisocial nature.
If you want to stop being a timid man, you must develop more confidence in yourself. You must be remember that you are a worthy person, very unique, and many people love you.
Note: If you feel that your lack of self-esteem is extreme, and you can no longer handle it, do not hesitate to seek professional help from a psychiatrist or therapist.
Characteristics of a shy person
The main characteristics of a shy person are social inhibition, and the desire to go unnoticed. What differentiates shyness from a social phobia disorder is that social phobia is the fear of being observed and judged by others, while shy people actually want to relate to other people.
The common characteristics of shy people are:
- They are closed in on themselves; they are introverted people.
- It is difficult for them to express themselves towards people with genuine emotion.
- They avoid social situations as a defense mechanism, or endure them with much physical or cognitive discomfort.
- Some people blush while speaking in public, or when they feel ashamed.
- They have a problem giving an opinion on conversation topics.
- Some people express their opinion in an passive-aggressive way.
- They are hyper-aware of what others might say about them, or how they will react to actions.
- If they are observed by others, they feel judged or intimidated, and they are generally uncomfortable with being watched.
- They prefer to remain unnoticed.
Consequences of shyness
Shyness is a way of being that typically brings more disadvantages than benefits. The most common consequences of this condition are:
- They need the approval of others. The shy person needs to be socially approved, because they are unsure about what they are going to say, and need the opinion of others to feel secure.
- They depend on people who make them feel good. They have an excessive emotional dependence on people who make them feel good.
- Tolerance of criticism. Sometimes, criticism actually helps shy people to advance and grow because they are more tolerant of it.
- They feel lonely. Most of the time they feel lonely or isolated.
- They feel low self-esteem. Low self-esteem for these or other reasons.
- Depressed mood. These people’s moods range from feeling sad to feeling anxious, shameful, guilty, etc.
- Difficulty connecting with their partner. The shy person finds it difficult to establish a partner connection, since not everyone is attractive in intimate situations.
How do you socialize with others? Tips to becoming more friendly and less shy
The key to all this, as I told you before, is to feel confident and secure. If you are very clear about who you are, so much else will make sense. If you can value yourself, you will find that ability to approach the people you want to meet and become more sociable.
Listen to others
Don’t try to talk too much about yourself—that gets boring when the time is not appropriate. Show interest in what other people have to say, listen carefully to their opinion, and then you can give your point of view.
Be kind and empathetic
Always be kind and empathetic. When we talk about confidence in yourself, it does not mean being arrogant. Show kindness to other people, and don’t humiliate them. If you are a kind and empathetic man, other people will be attracted to the type of person you are.
You may be interested in “How to make a girl notice you when she ignores you.”
Ask with interest
If a person is talking about something you don’t understand, sincerely ask him or her to explain. That will extend the conversation and give them more to talk about. Also, this person will see that you are interested and will want to spend time with you.
Read and learn
If you want to learn how to be sociable, engage in conversation, and stop being shy, you should read. One acquires a lot of knowledge through reading; not only books but news media as well.
Share a similar experience you had
If the other person has mentioned something similar to what you’ve experienced, comment on it and share your anecdote. When you share an experience, you will become closer to and more open to contact with other people.
Give a sincere compliment
We all like for others to tell us pleasant things, don’t we? Once in a while—and more often if you’re talking to the woman you like—compliment the other person. This gets their attention and interest. Be honest, but don’t exaggerate. Exaggeration can have the opposite effect.
Look into the other person’s eyes
Always look into their eyes when speaking and listenting. This eye contact shows your interest in the other person and what they tell you. It will also show that you are a confident and empathetic man.
Look for activities that allow you to relate to others
If you engage in regular group activities, this will improve your ability to be sociable. If you join a club, a sports team, or a gym, even if you find it hard to get close to others, they will surely come to you to get to know you.
Be friendly and polite
Being gentle and polite will always help when engaging in conversation. If you want to develop your ability to be friendly and empathetic, having good manners is essential.
Let yourself go…a little
You must let yourself go somewhat in these situations. That will help you develop the social skills you desire. We can’t go through life predicting every little thing that will happen, or what each moment will be like. We never know how other people will react. Understanding and accepting this is a major key to stop being shy and becoming more sociable.
Important things to remember
- Remember this fundamental principle; it doesn’t matter if the conversation doesn’t go as you expected. Losing the fear of socializing also requires accepting that not everything goes how you expected.
- Don’t feel guilty if the other person hasn’t been receptive to you. It’s not your fault. Sometimes the people you are talking to will not be in a good mood, or they are having a hard time outside of their interaction with you.
- You should be empathetic, kind, and pay attention to how the other person feels. You will be more attentive toward what is going on with them, and may even be able to help them with something.
- Finally, you need to know when to be quiet, just as much as when it’s time to speak. Sometimes, by being quiet and listening, you are bringing a great deal of relief to the other person simply by doing nothing.
You may be interested in “How to seduce a woman, 13 secrets you don’t know.”
In short, don’t be afraid to talk to or meet other people. This attitude shift will help you dramatically with your social skills. Sometimes, people in our circles don’t make us feel safe, and that’s why we have a hard time expressing ourselves or having confidence.
I want to tell you that, if you follow these tips, little by little, you will notice that it’s less challenging to start a conversation and relate to others—even strangers. Just stay calm, and be yourself. When you are talking to a girl or a person you are interested in, embrace the fact that this is your moment.