by Sharon Chayra
Growing-up is a time of change and new experiences. Maybe you are going to a new school and have to make new friends. Maybe it’s time to change into your gym clothes and no one but your sister or brother has seen you in your underwear in, like, forever? If experiences like these make your face feel like it’s on fire and your heart is going to beat out of your chest, you are not alone! Chances are you’re just a little shy. You can learn how to be social when you’re shy.
Experts know that just like hair color and height, people are born with certain traits and that includes if they’re extroverts or introverts. Extroverts are usually more talkative and friendly to strangers while introverts tend to be more reserved and quiet in new situations. Interestingly, researchers have found that just because you’re an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shy, it just means you prefer more quiet and less stimulating environments over loud, crowded places as an extrovert might.
Being shy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a full social life; it just means you might have to try a little harder, kind of like a work-out for you attitude. Here are some tips that’ll help you expand your world, help you make more friends and feel more confident along the way:
• Everyone, including extroverts and the “popular” kids, feels varying degrees of nervousness when in new situations or meeting new people. That means they are totally normal.
• Plan out what you want to do. It may sound funny but if you write down your most important social goals, you can plan how you will achieve them just like practicing your 3-point shot if you want to join the basketball team. Think of it like an instruction sheet that helps you stay focused.
• Start small. Start with a smile. When you can’t find the words, a smile says “hello” perfectly. Plus, people usually respond to a smile in a favorable way so they may actually start the conversation for you.
• Breathe. When people are nervous, they breathe faster and this can make them feel all kinds of confused. Take three, deep breaths before that classroom presentation or before meeting someone new. Slowing down your breathing will help you think better.
• Consider taking drama class. Many actors admit it was their shyness that got them into acting. When you have to play a character that is unlike you, you learn skills that can help you overcome your shyness in the real world.
• Just do it. Remember that with every new experience, including not so great ones, you will learn something. You might just learn that the outcome isn’t that horrible scenario you thought it would be. But even if it is, you learned something, right? Be proud. because it takes courage to try new things and meet new people.