In a world where shy is equated with bad/boring/weird, here are a few tips to get by.
1. Let People Know You Like Them (They might not be able to tell)
I’ve adopted a personal principle that I like to call “when in doubt, hug it out.” As a shy person, it can be really hard to communicate to people that you don’t hate their face. Some might interpret your quietness as a fiery hatred. Hugging, regardless of whether or not its warranted, is an easy, simple way to physically convey, “Hey. You’re cool in my book. I don’t hate your face. In fact, I like it. Keep it up.”
2. Smile in excess
No one can hate a smiling person. Imagine punching a smiling person in the face…Unthinkable. Smiling is another physical way to let people know you don’t hate their face. Stay engaged in conversations and smile or laugh when something is funny. Try to be active in conversations. Sometimes when you take the plunge in a conversation by chiming in on one thing, it becomes easier to say lots of things.
3.Put yourself in situations where you have to speak and interact
For you this might be a book club, a science club, or a biking group. For me, it was theater. In high school, I was in plays even though I was super shy. I was forced to talk because there were lines to be said. Rehearsals also offered down time where I was forced to interact.
When I get really nervous, my teeth start chattering. I probably look like I’m really cold, but I’m a normal temperature. I remember walking to drama classes with chattering teeth. Everyone was probably like, why is this chick so cold? But I wasn’t cold. As a shy person, sometimes you need to seem like you’re cold in order to be happy. So go outside buck naked in the dead of winter….Wait I feel like I messed that up.
4. Spend time with the people that don’t make you so nervous that you wan’t to throw up a little
For me, this group has always been my family. My sisters and I can be the weirdest people you’ll ever meet. At school, I was always comforted by the fact that 3:15 meant driving home, opening the door to my house, and greeting my sister by scaring the shit out of her when she walked in the door. Find people that you can truly be yourself with and make sure to get a fair dose of those people daily.