It is natural to feel awkward around unfamiliar people. Familiarity sets a tone of comfort and being around unfamiliar people would stir feelings of shyness and awkwardness for many of us. We may feel worried about what others might think of us and how they perceive us. This can cause us to avoid social situations.
None of us are born with social skills. We develop and learn how to communicate with people over time. No matter how nervous you feel in the company of others, you can learn to silence self-critical thoughts, boost your self-esteem, and become more confident in your interactions with others. You don’t have to change your personality, but by learning new skills you can overcome shyness or social awkwardness, and enjoy strong, fulfilling relationships.
Here is How To Stop Being Shy and Awkward
1. Be Present
When you’re with someone but are distracted by your thoughts and emotions, people notice and may feel bad. Therefore, it is very important to be fully present and to focus on the other person/people, instead of focussing on the mental chatter which takes place within ourselves. Being present gives room for the other person to be seen and heard and chances are high that your conversation partner is feeling just as uncomfortable as you’re and recognizing that could help you relax.
2. Don’t Apologize
Don’t beat yourself or apologize for your shyness, it is okay to feel shy and awkward and it is nothing to be ashamed about. With consistent interactions and building social skills, one can overcome this feeling.
3. Ask an Open-ended Question, One That Requires More Than Just a Yes or No Answer
Ask questions that begin with one of the following: who, where, when, what, why, or how. For example, “Who do you know here?” “Where do you normally go on a Friday?” “How is the wine?” Most people enjoy talking about themselves so asking a question is a good way to get a conversation started and ease into it.
4. Laugh at Yourself
If you do something embarrassing, use humor to put things in perspective. Laugh it off, people do not take things seriously or personally as you think they do.
5. Avoid Comparisons
Each is unique in their own way and for some people opening up to others comes naturally and easily. You do not have to compare yourself with less socially awkward people, doing so would only cause more anxiety and low self-esteem. Build on learning skills and take pride in your individuality.
6. Body Language
Powerful body language makes a lot of difference to overcome shyness. Making a steady eye-contact, standing up straight, uncrossing your arms and legs helps the other person feel that you’re secure and approachable, and this in turn tricks your brain to feel confident and at ease.
7. Teach Others
This is a counter-intuitive strategy but works very well in helping you overcome your shyness, by teaching and helping others to overcome their awkwardness, you can also listen to your advice and act upon it.
8. Arm Yourself With Information
If you are going to a party and dread small talk, use the time leading up to the occasion to look up information about current topics. It could be the latest viral video, an issue in the government, or a worldwide event. Research the topic and get the gist of it. This way, you will have plenty of things to talk about with people whenever one of those moments of silence hits.
Also Read: 8 Common Signs You’re Really An Introvert
It’s okay for you to feel shy and awkward, be kind to yourself. Identify the triggers that make you feel that way and work on them with a close friend or even a therapist. You can also join classes to face your fears such as public speaking….Remember to keep track of your successes. Being able to watch your progress is a great way to stay motivated and keep going. You will be amazed at your progress, which will help you believe that overcoming shyness is possible.