As a shy girl, I know firsthand how hard it can be to get what you want out of life. Whether that means a date with your crush, a hangout session with a girl you know who you think is cool, or the chance to tell off someone who was rude to you, it’s tough to get there when you’re shy. Being shy means that it can be really hard to speak your mind, especially to people you don’t know well. And if you don’t know how to say what you want to say or go after what you want, you’re usually stuck with settling for something else.
For many years of my life, I kept my mouth shut and waited for things to come to me. If I wanted to talk to a cute guy, I made myself available around him and patiently waited until he made the first move. If I was mad at a friend for something legitimate, I would complain to everyone else while refusing to confront the situation. If I felt I deserved an A, but only got a B, I tried harder the next time instead of speaking up for myself. If I met a girl I thought would make a good friend, I waited for her to ask to hang out rather than asking if she wanted to get coffee. To make a lot of long stories short, I did too much waiting.
That’s because I’m shy, and the thought of talking in an aggressive way makes me break out in hives. But in the last few years of my life, I’ve been working really hard to move past that. I’ve been trying to become the kind of person who defends herself, confronts someone when they’re angry, and asks for what she feels she deserves. It hasn’t been easy and sometimes I fail, but when I succeed, it feels pretty great. Want to get there too? Here are 10 tips on how to get what you want when you’re shy.
Write It In A Letter, Message or EmailThere's nothing wrong with expressing yourself through a letter, message or email if you feel like you can't do it in person. When I have something important to say that I really want to say correctly, I always write it out. I know that I have a hard time with confrontation. When I confront people face to face, I usually forget to say things I really wanted to say, or I get nervous and things don't come out how I wanted them to. Sometimes I chicken out completely. But when I write things out, I can say exactly what I want to say, and delete the things I didn't say correctly. It gives me more time to think and it allows me to really be honest. If you want to confront someone or be honest with someone, write them an email, letter, or message. It's much easier. Source: iStock
Start By Speaking Up To People You're Comfortable WithIf you want to learn how to speak up more, start by doing it around people you're comfortable with. I'm really shy around people I don't know well, but when I'm with my family, close friends, or boyfriend, you sometimes can't shut me up. A few years ago, I was even scared to speak up to my close friends or family members. I started learning how to speak my mind and confront people by doing it with those I was most comfortable with. It was hard, but not as hard as it would have been with someone else. Gradually, you'll start to feel more comfortable about speaking up. Source: iStock
Learn How To Say NoA big part of learning how to get what you want is learning how to say no to the things you don't want. I'm shy and can be a people-pleaser sometimes, so saying no was always hard for me. I would either say yes, or I would think up excuses. You have to learn how to just say no! Just do it. You'll get used to it. Source: iStock
Start Hanging Out With Outspoken PeopleOne of the biggest things that helped me become more outspoken was hanging out with outspoken people. In college, I became close with a group of friends who said whatever they wanted to say when they wanted to say it. They confronted each other when they were mad or upset, they told people off when they deserved it, and they spoke up when they wanted something. I observed them, watched them, and learned from them. It was so helpful! Source: iStock
Practice On Your OwnIf there's something you want to say, don't just run up to the person and blurt it out without a plan. Maybe some people can do this, but since you're shy, that's hard. Instead, practice on your own. Think of what you want to say. Write it down, or say it in front of a mirror. Prepare a little bit. Source: iStock
Talk It Through With Someone Else FirstWhen I'm really upset about something and I want to confront someone, I always talk to my mom or my boyfriend about it first, and I practice what I'm going to say by telling them. Recently, a good friend of mine did a few things that really hurt me. At first, I ignored the situation and her. After a while, it became clear that I needed to confront her. I talked to my mom and told her the things I wanted to say, and she said it was all reasonable. Then I said it. This can be helpful because you have someone telling you you're doing the right thing - and while that validation shouldn't be necessary, it is certainly helpful. Source: iStock
Remind Yourself You Deserve ItYou have to remind yourself that you deserve what you want! A few years ago, I really wanted a certain thing to change at my job, but in order to make it happen, I had to ask my boss. It was a big deal for me, and it was really hard for me to ask her. I had to keep reminding myself of why I deserved it to pump myself up. Do that! Source: iStock
Imagine The End GoalI don't know what it is that you want. Maybe it's a date with someone. Maybe it's a new friend. Maybe it's closure. Whatever it is, imagine what will happen after you speak up. When I have to confront a friend who has hurt me, I always think about how much better I'll feel afterwards, when I've spoken my mind. It really helps. Source: iStock
Own Your EmbarrassmentOkay, so you might talk to someone about something hard, and you might blush the entire time. Maybe you'll stutter. Maybe you'll mix up words or talk too quietly. It's because you're embarrassed, and if you're embarrassed of your embarrassment, things are going to get worse. Instead, just accept that you're going to feel embarrassed. Sometimes, when I speak up, I say, "This is hard for me, but..." I let people know that I'm doing something difficult and then I just own it. Source: iStock
Don't Be So Hard On YourselfMaybe there have been times when you should have spoken up, but you couldn't bring yourself to do it. Maybe you tried to speak up, then backed down. Maybe you messed up completely. It's okay! No one is perfect. If you beat yourself up about it, you're not going to change. Source: iStock
Which of these tips are you going to try? What do you disagree with? What did I forget? Tell me in the comments.