Fifty percent of adults consider themselves shy, according to psychology professor Bernardo J. Carducci in his 2013 Psychology Today article, "The Cost of Shyness". Shyness describes a way in which certain people view themselves. Many shy individuals have a more negative perception of themselves. They may also be self-conscious and overanalyze their mistakes or interactions. Opening up and talking to others can be difficult due to these insecurities. However, with time and practice, shy individuals can become more comfortable in social situations.
Develop Confidence by Taking Baby Steps
Start with small doses. Stay within your comfort zone at first, because attempting too much too fast could leave you afraid to pursue more. Don't start opening up with someone you don't know very well or with a big group. Begin sharing minor details, such as how you felt during an uncomfortable situation at work, with one or two people you trust. Once you experience acceptance, you may feel compelled to try again with someone new.
Discover your value as person and give yourself pep talks. Rather than focusing on everything that could go wrong or your own feelings of inadequacy, focus on what you contribute and the qualities that make you unique.
Learn how to make mistakes and move on, rather than beating yourself up about them. As you begin opening up to others, you may find in the beginning that you walk away criticizing what you did or didn't say, how you came across and what you wish you had done differently. Cut yourself some slack and think positively about your continued improvements.
Focus on body language. There are certain physical actions that will indicate you are engaged in your conversations with others. Eye contact, hand gestures and nodding can all let your listeners know that you care. As they see that, they may feel more comfortable opening up and you can reciprocate.
Practice in a safe setting. Group therapy is a comfortable environment to practice the skills required when socializing with others, according to Shyness.com. In group therapy, you can explore new ways to relate without the added pressures that may come from talking to real life acquaintances.