Everyone’s chatting away, and there you are, on the outside watching in, observing, wondering, worrying. You wait for the right moment to jump into the conversation, but that moment never comes. Caught in worry and over thinking, you don’t know what to say or when to say it. Conversations feel like locked doors, dead ends. So you just sit and listen, always sitting and listening.

Shyness is a gift; shy types are great listeners, enjoy their own company and have great imaginations. But it's a not a shy person's world.  Assertive and outspoken folks are usually the popular, employable type. The shy kid in the corner, on the other hand, is often labelled weird and awkward.

But labels only matter if you let them. Here are some tips for how to be shy and awkward, and make friends.

1. Be true to yourself – you don’t need to be loud and outgoing to be social. The world needs quiet, deep thinking, creative types.

2. Less is more – there is no need to throw yourself into a big crowd, instead look for opportunities to chat one on one with people or go out with a small group of friends. Big parties are only fun if you like big parties. Otherwise a quiet chat is just fine.

4. Look for kindred spirits – you don't have to be friends with everyone. Bypass 80% of the population, and seek out the 20% who share your interests and outlook on life. Getting caught up in small talk with people you don’t click will most likely leave you feeling anxious and exhausted.

5. Get comfortable being awkward – If a social situation gets weird and uncomfortable, use coping strategies to stick it out, like deep breathing or telling yourself it’s ok to be awkward. Humour works too - try and see the ridiculous side of awkward social situations.

6. Play to your strengths – shy types are often deep thinkers and great listeners. You have a lot of interesting things to say, the main barrier is when it comes to saying them. Choose a few ideas to share, and well, share them.

7. Get support if you need it – shyness is a gift, but loneliness and isolation can be tough. It really helps to have someone on your side who can offer support and guidance.

If you are a shy type looking for support to play to your strengths and develop confidence, call 0420 320 322 for a free 15 minute chat, or click here to fill out a contact form, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

P.S. If you’re interested in reading more about how quiet types can use their strengths to succeed in life, Susan Cain has written some wonderful stuff on the topic. Check out her TED talk here.

From one introvert to another,

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