Overcoming shyness as an adult

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Overcoming shyness as an adult

Postby Catnip1000 » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:22 pm

Hi, I have been plagued with shyness all my life. I am now 31 years old and in a professional job but still I have great difficulty interacting with colleagues. I find it very hard to initiate conversation and maintain it, I constantly rehearse what I'm going to say to people and then worry about how I look when I'm saying it and then go over it in my head for hours and days after. I blush really easily and it makes me so self conscious and makes me worry what people must think about me. It makes me feel pathetic that as a 31 year old woman I still go red even if I'm just simply talking to people. I even find it hard talking to my brother, who admittedly I don't see often and other family members. I try to avoid situations where I might have to talk to people, such as when I see someone I know but deliberately hide myself so they don't see me and so I don't have to go through the ordeal of thinking of what to say or getting myself into a tizzy afterwards. I am currently on an important course that I need to do to progress my career and a lot of it is talking as part of a group and presenting things to the class. It's only 2 days into the course but already I hate it because I feel like I can't talk to people. We sit together at lunchtime and a lot of them talk to each other but I'm always the one just listening and not contributing anything, they must think I'm boring or rude and stand-offish. I imagine myself being this popular, confident person who isn't afraid of being myself but I can't do it. I feel like I really need some help and support. I have had counselling before where we discussed some of this and strategies to become more assertive but it didn't really help and nothing's improved. I just want to nip it in the bud now because it affects all aspects of my life. I don't feel like I can talk to anyone about it, apart from maybe my boyfriend but people don't understand and I feel like they aren't really interested in what I say or that they think I'm just moaning. I will always be quiet, I know that. I know there isn't some miraculous cure for shyness or that I will suddenly become the life and soul of the party
I don't know why I am like this, I lost my Mum when I was 10 and didn't really have an open relationship with my Dad. He looked after me but we never talked about stuff, he never encouraged me to do things or support me emotionally. I can't blame him for that as he is from the older generation where people maybe didn't talk about their feelings as such. I got bullied at secondary school from about 12 upwards, girls would spread rumours about me and this went on throughout sixth form and even to this day I avoid people who I went to school with. Maybe that is the root of the problem.
Is there anyone out there who can understand this or offer any advice? Anything would be much appreciated. Thanks
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Re: Overcoming shyness as an adult

Postby highlandcow » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:30 pm

Hi Catnip

You poor thing, that must be terrible to feel like that. :grouphug:

I used to be quite timid, but managed to power through by simply pretending that I wasn't. Overtime, I became more confident as I had pretended I was for such a long time. Obviously, it's different for you, but I still understand where you're coming from. I still blush when I talk to new people though. Especially authority figures and good looking lads! #-o


This had some ideas as to the science about it.


Hopefully some of these will be able to help. :)
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Re: Overcoming shyness as an adult

Postby Bel Bel » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:44 pm

I think trying an assertiveness course and/or a course to help self esteem so you aren't so afraid of what people think. You can't please everybody all of the time so you shouldn't try to, it's something that's impossible to achieve.

I can't relate exactly but can to a degree because I have the opposite problem and sometimes I don't know when to stop talking. You may think that's a good thing but it means you tend to put your foot in it and upset people with your straight talking, I have had to learn to think more before I speak. So it can work both ways.
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Re: Overcoming shyness as an adult

Postby clover4 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:52 pm

I totally get you. Shyness can seem like a disability the way it limits the situations you're prepared to get into. I too find it really hard to speak up at dinner parties, or parties etc. However, remember that all the folk who can chatter away, need an audience too! I am a good listener, and I am adept at asking people questions about themselves that encourage them to talk. I just wish someone would do the same for me!
I suggest that next time you are feeling really shy, try to focus on another person and draw them out as if they were the shy one and not you. It can work well to help you forget your self consciousness.
Good luck.
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