Nobody likes being shy. Shyness makes us feel awkward and most of us try to avoid situations where we know we will feel awkward.
Sometimes we make excuses to avoid going to social events where we won’t know many people, because we don’t want to feel awkward. In some instances, in the week before the event our spirit starts to dampen. We start to feel down, and it does not get better as the event draws closer. So on the day of the event, when we phone to say we are not feeling well; we are not lying.
The thought of spending hours in the company of strangers, feeling self-conscious, on display, having to make small talk, has drained us of all energy.
We imagine everyone confidently talking and laughing, whilst we have nothing much to say; and it is all too much.
We are sick in anticipation of the event. We just want to crawl into bed and lie there for a day or two, until it’s all over.
However it does not have to be that way. In reality social events are less daunting than we imagine them to be.
There are 5 positive self-talk sentences we can use to overcome our shyness.
To make them work for you, in the run up to an event spend about 15 minutes each day visualising yourself socialising easily at the event.
Imagine yourself moving around talking and laughing; having fun. Visualise the food, “hear” the music – Beyonce, Kanye? , hear the voices and laughter of everyone, including yourself having a good time. Use your imagination to clearly “see” the event. Imagine yourself moving around easily talking and having a really good time.
Now, as you are visualising yourself having a good time, these are the 5 positive sentences you should repeat to yourself;
1. I am going to make new friends
As a shy person you are probably not very good at making new friends. You most likely have a few very good friends and tell yourself you don’t really anymore; but admit it; it would be nice have a few more good friends, wouldn’t it?
So instead of thinking of how you won’t know anyone at the event, keep telling yourself, “I am going to make new friends.”
2. I will be the first to say Hello
Don’t wait for people to start a conversation with you. Get in there; SMILE and say HELLO. I know this might not sound easy, but remember at social events people are relaxed and open to meeting new people.
The fact that you are all at the same event, tells you that you are likely to have an interest in common, or know people in common.
Don’t wait; start smiling and say hello to people as soon as you arrive.
The problem with waiting is that the longer you wait, the harder it becomes for you to go up to people and say hello. Also if you are waiting for people to make the first move, you will you start to feel self-conscious and even more shy.
Remember people go out to enjoy themselves and meet new people. So within a few minutes of arriving, walk up to an individual or a small group of people, smile, say hello and introduce yourself.
Say something like;
“Hello, I’m ………….., I don’t know anyone here, so I thought I should come and introduce myself”.
3. I am interested in other people
We all like it when people show an interest in us; so return the favour.
When talking to people always try and ask open questions. Open questions are questions that require more than a “Yes” or “No” answer.
An example of a simple open question is; “how to you know the host?” The other people is then forced to tell you how they met the host, or say something along the lines of “ I don’t know him, I was invited by……”
This then gives you the opportunity to say something like:
“I can introduce you to him, I meet him last year……”
“I don’t know him either, we should introduce ourselves.
Always ask “open questions” and don’t answer with “Yes” or “No”. Keep the conversation going.
Even if you are not interested in what the other person is talking about, pretend to be interested and ask questions.
4. I will meet interesting people
You never know who you are going to meet when you go out. There are interesting people are out there; involved in all sorts of projects
Interesting people entertain us, they inspire and motivate us, and they give us ideas, SO GET OUT THERE and meet them.
5. What do I have to lose?
You have nothing to lose, except your shyness.
If you have any tips you would like to share on how you overcome shyness at social events, please share them with us in the comments box.