Do you find it difficult to approach new people; talk to strangers? Do you feel uncomfortable in large gatherings? Would you rather sit at home with a nice book or movie and a hot cup of tea than hang out with a bunch of friends at the mall? Well then, if these things hold true for you, you might just be suffering from social anxiety, known in common parlance as extreme shyness. Here are the top 5 ways to overcome your natural inhibitions and go out into the world full of strange new things!
- Find Others Like Yourself
If you are a thoroughbred introvert, you probably won’t gel all that well with a true-born extrovert, or enjoy their hobbies and pastimes. An extroverted person might consider it great fun to throw a party with 50 of their friends while to you this would be nothing short of pure torture. It is not your fault or theirs. You two just have different ideas about what it is to have a good time.
When in a crowd of people, try to scout out kindred spirits. Fellow introverts. The girl sitting quietly in the corner of the room with a book. The guy drinking a cup of coffee alone at the café. These are people you’d likely find it easier to connect to, as they function more or less in a similar way to you. And once the connection has been formed, you two can curl up on a sofa with steaming cups of chocolate, all set for a night of horror movie marathons!
- Practice Meeting New People
Think up scenarios in your head where you might just have to meet a bunch of new people! Suppose you got a new job; your dad got transferred to a new city; you joined a new course at college. It doesn’t matter what the scenario, just that there’s a bunch of strangers standing before you with friendly, expectant smiles on their faces, and you’ve got to introduce yourself to them, in an open and welcoming manner. We know it’s scary, but it’s just make-believe, right? For now, at least.
Practice in front of a mirror if you need to, until you are comfortable at least with the idea of it, if not the reality. Once you have gained some confidence, go out there and put your newfound skills to the test. Say hi to at least one new person you haven’t spoken to before. Might be a classmate, a colleague or just the sweet old cat lady next door. Be nice and friendly, form an acquaintance. You might slip-up the first couple of times and may even ditch the whole plan at the last moment. But if you keep at it with perseverance, sooner or later, meeting new people will come naturally and won’t be a scary deal anymore!
- Get Out of your Comfort Zone
Have you never danced before? Well, join a dance, class! You never know, it can be great fun! Go skydiving, learn skateboarding or just ride a bike to your workplace. Do stuff you never thought you’d do before! In other words, get out of your comfort-zone!
Being in the same place, doing the same things day after day, year after year breeds complacency, lethargy. It makes life monotonous and tends to make us more reclusive. The more you expose yourself to new experiences, the more energetic and vibrant your life will be! This will breed confidence, which in itself will give you the impetus to try out even more new things and have exciting experiences. This will give you the impetus and energy you need to become more social and self-assured around other people.
- Join a Performing Arts Class
Dance, stage-singing, acting, theater, hell even elocution and debate! It doesn’t matter what it is. Get yourself a new hobby and join a class that would give you opportunities to speak or perform in front of large groups of people. It will be difficult and scary at first. But facing our fears makes us stronger and more mature as people. As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Well, a few hours a week of drama and elocution certainly won’t kill you. What it will do, however, is develop your ‘people-skills’ and public-speaking abilities. Performing before an audience will also help you get over your fear of large groups of people. Overall, it’s a good and relatively easy way of awakening your inner performer and stunning the world with your newer, cooler persona!
- A Friend a Month Challenge
Challenge yourself to make a new friend or acquaintance every month, or every other month, whatever makes you more comfortable. Go out and find people you can connect with and talk to for hours. It doesn’t matter how weird or awkward it is at first. Because by the end of this exercise, you’ll be a rich girl! Rich in friends, and richer in self-confidence!
So go out there, and make sure you have all the fun in the world! After all, that’s what life is all about.