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One of the worst things about shyness is the feeling that no one else suffers from it- and that everyone around you is having a great time. But it really isn’t like that. Almost everyone knows what it’s like to feel shy – even people who always seem outgoing and self-confident.

Everyone knows the symptoms:

  • Feeling anxious, sometimes even sick, at the though of having to go to a party where you don’t know anyone.

  • Realizing that your heart’s pounding, or your forehead’s breaking into a sweat, when you meet someone new (especially if it’s someone you want to impress).

  • Believing that everyone is looking at you, even laughing at you, watching you blush.

Shyness is uncomfortable. Extreme shyness can be a real handicap. It forms a barrier between you and other people, so that it’s hard for you to join in a group and make friends. It can make it almost impossible for you to speak two coherent words to anyone of the opposite sex.

What should you do?

  • When you feel shy you are looking inward, you want to shrivel up inside yourself. You’re far more conscious of the way you feel, or the way you look, or the impression you’re making, than of anything else around you.

    • So the first, most important (and, it has to be said, most difficult) step is to forget about yourself.

    • Turn all your attention to what’s going on around you. The more attention you pay to any feeling, whether it’s pain, tiredness, or shyness, the more intensely you’ll feel it.

    • Just by distracting your attention means that you’ll feel it less.

  • When you meet someone, and realize that feelings of shyness are welling up,

    • Focus all your attention on the other person. If they’re happy to talk, listen to them. If they’re as tongue – tied as you are, it’s often easier to acknowledge this.

    • Say something like, “I can never think of anything to say when I meet someone new.”

  • Act friendly. The best way of doing this is simple. It just means looking at other people when you talk to them. Shy people tend to look down at their feet or over their shoulder, or anywhere but at the face of the person they’re to. But to the other person, this looks as though you’re being unfriendly, not just shy. They’ll feel you have no real interest in them, and they’ll probably feel rejected and back off quite quickly.

  • Think of the other person as the one who’s shy. You know how they’re feeling because you’ve felt that way yourself. Try as hard as you can to put them at their ease. You’ll be much more able to forget your own shyness and self – consciousness if you do this.

  • Think of your shyness as an unattractive bad habit – like biting your nails – and resolve to give it up. When you meet someone new, act out a new, confident personality. You don’t have to stop being shy. The world is full of shy people; they’ve just learned to act as though they are not. You can do this, too.


Everyone blushes, and the more self-conscious you are, the more readily you will blush. Blushing is that sudden reddening of the face caused by the opening of small blood vessels in the surface of the skin.

  • Most teenagers are very self-conscious indeed, which is why blushing, and the fear of blushing, can be such a real problem during these years.

  • Blushing will become less of a problem as you grow more self-confident, and less concerned about what other people think of you. But, it’s hard to live with.

  • Almost any emotion, but particularly embarrassment, shame, or self-consciousness, can cause But you don’t necessarily blush because you’re embarrassed. More often you’re embarrassed because you blush. And this, of course, makes you blush even more. It is a vicious circle.

  • There are various strategies you can try to help stop your blushes.

    • Some people find that learning relaxation exercises, and using these when they feel tense or anxious, helps them stay calm and blush less. But this doesn’t work for everyone.

    • Probably a better way of tackling the problem is to try to change the way you think about your blushing. This means convincing yourself that it actually doesn’t much matter if you blush, that no one else notices it as much as you do, and that anyway, it isn’t the end of the world.

  • One 18 year-old blusher described her attempts to deal with her blushes like this: “ I found it helped to feel I was in control of the situation, even if I couldn’t control the blushing. I’d say to myself, ‘If I blush I’m going to go on talking and no one else is going to notice.’ I’d even make myself take the initiative more, force myself to take part in the conversation and ask questions. Putting myself deliberately in the limelight instead of trying to be invisible seemed to help, although I don’t quite know why.”

  • Try to “act” unembarrassed. Even if you don’t feel it! Looking at your feet and hoping the floor may swallow you up will only make things worse. You need to use much the same strategies as those suggested for coping with shyness. Turn your attention toward anything or anyone outside yourself, this may not actually stop the blushing, but it will help you not think and worry so much about it.

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