I’ve always been a really shy person, but in the last few years, I have come out of my shell a lot. I will never describe myself as an outgoing, charismatic person, but I no longer feel sick to my stomach when I think about meeting someone new, making small talk at a party, or speaking up to defend myself. Sure, I still dread the idea of making a presentation in front of a group, being friendly with people who intimidate me, and getting confrontational, but there’s no doubt that I’m doing a lot better when it comes to being timid and quiet. And, I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty great. I don’t hate being shy, but I’ve always wanted to be less shy, and I’ve found a pretty happy medium.
When you’re shy, it can feel almost impossible to find things that will make you less shy. For me, this process has been slow and kind of exhausting, but along the way I found some situations and things that help make one more outspoken. There’s no perfect formula that’s going to transform you into a talkative, loud person, and honestly, there’s no reason you need to try to change your whole personality. But being able to speak up for yourself and be friendly when needed is really, really important, so you do need to learn how to do that stuff.
Want to know my secrets? Read on! Here are a few things will definitely make you less shy.
Getting A Job In Customer Service, Like WaitressingThe biggest thing that made me less shy was the fact that I spent seven years as a waitress. As a waitress, you have to make friendly conversation with strangers every single shift. You have to be loud and speak over the restaurant. You have to make connections in order to get good tips. Then, in the kitchen, you have to yell to be heard, you have to defend yourself to the rest of the staff, and you have to be bold and outgoing. You won't survive if you aren't. Waitressing pushed me to talk more, to speak louder, to make small talk, and to stand up for myself to my friends. It was torture sometimes, but it really, really helped. If you can't imagine waitressing, get some sort of customer service job. Being forced to interact with others will help you. Source: iStock
Having Friends Who Speak Their MindsWhen I was in college, I worked with a group of outgoing, loud partiers who were never afraid to speak their mind no matter what. At first, I was intimidated as hell by all of them. I felt like a shy, quiet baby around them. But because we were together so often, I became close with some of them, and eventually their personalities started rubbing off on me a bit. One of my friends was a girl who was never afraid to say no, always defended herself and her friends, and did whatever seemed fun to her without stress. She was never mean or rude, and everyone liked her chill personality. She was basically my idol. I watched what she did, and I tried to be like her. I am not like her, alas, but I did learn from her. I learned how to say no without coming off as a jerk, that it's okay to stand up for yourself, and that meeting new people doesn't have to be as hard as I once thought it was. Honestly, without that group of friends, I don't know if I ever would have come out of my shell. Source: iStock
Taking A Public Speaking ClassIn college, I had to take a public speaking class in order to graduate with my major. I was TERRIFIED of the prospect of the class. I put it off as long as I could, until my senior year. It was my nightmare. Public speaking is literally a class where you write speeches and then have to read them in front of class. You are graded on the way you speak and present your speeches. It was my worst nightmare. At first, the class was just as hard as I thought it would be. I felt sick before giving speeches and blushed and squirmed the whole time I was up there. But by my last speech, I actually felt... a lot better. So much better. Almost comfortable! Being forced to speak in front of a group really did help me become a little bit less shy. I still hate speaking to large groups of people, but it doesn't make me feel as bad as it once did. Source: iStock
Saying NoWhen I was younger, I never said no - I was too shy to do it. I would make excuses, come up with lies, or do things just so I could be more passive. Once I learned how to say no, my life changed. Seriously! It was so, so freeing. Today, every time I say a simple "no" to something without apologizing for it or giving any other explanation, I feel more powerful and confident. Saying it in the beginning was really hard for me, and I had to ease into it. But I honestly feel like saying no has helped me be less shy. Source: iStock
Writing How You FeelAnother thing that really helped me be less shy was learning how to write for an audience and learning how to write what I felt. Writing out what you feel is always easier than speaking it, but sharing it with others? That's tough, especially for shy people. It makes us feel vulnerable and scared. When I first started working as an editor, I was terrified to present my ideas and stand up for them, and I was even more scared to share my articles for others to read. It was torture. But after a while of doing it, it became easier, and it helped me be more outspoken. Try it! You don't need to be an editor or a professional writer. Write Facebook statuses or make a blog. Just do it! Source: iStock
Getting Out Of Your Comfort ZonePushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone doesn't only help with anxiety and fear, it also helps get rid of shyness. Doing something you're afraid of is thrilling, and it makes you feel a little bit more bold each time you do it - which is key to feeling less shy. Push yourself to do something you're afraid of, and I promise you'll feel better. The more you do it, the better. It's worth it! Source: iStock
Taking Time For Self-CareYou have to learn how to accept yourself and love yourself so that you can accept your shyness and learn how to move past it when needed. Part of doing that is taking time out for self-care. Do things that make you feel good and relaxed and happy, and focus on yourself and not just the things you want to change about yourself. Source: iStock
Confronting PeopleConfrontation is so, so hard when you're a shy person. It's one of the hardest things ever. It took me years to learn how to tell someone I was angry with them, or how to say I was hurt about something. I'm still not good at it. Sometimes I still don't do it. But I've forced myself to do it before, and even though I always cry, without fail, I do it, and each time, it gets a tiny bit easier. Source: iStock
Forcing Yourself To Go OutIf you want to stop being so shy, you have to force yourself to be more social. This means making yourself go to that party where you only know one person. It means trying to do some small talk. It means talking to someone new. Take baby steps. Hang out with a friend and their friends you don't know. Pick a friend you're comfortable with and take her to a party. Only go out for an hour and then go home. Little by little, it will make you less shy. Source: iStock
Giving Yourself TimeYou can do all of this stuff, and you still might not feel less shy in a few days or a few weeks or even a few months. Shyness can be so tough to handle, and it can take years to improve. It took me years! I started to come out of my shell at 19-years-old. Ten years later, and I'm still trying. I've improved a lot, but I'm still shy. I don't get mad at myself for it! Celebrate your accomplishments instead of putting yourself down for what you haven't done. Source: iStock
Are you shy? What are your tips for being more outgoing? Tell us in the comments.