T Nation

Overcoming Shyness

I used to be so shy as a kid that my parents suspected I was autistic + I’d often get stuck in some situations and NEVER ask for help and it even says on some of my school reports + my Apprenticeship portfolio that I was assessed as needing ‘assisted social support’. I also didn’t even kiss a girl till I was 20 and have had a huge amount of life problems linked to my old shy self.

Funny thing is though I overcame most of that, partly through slowly pushing myself to do stuff I used to feel uncomfortable with and partly through the realisation that most people don’t really give a shit if you say something a bit daft or awkward etc. It’s only when you consistently, socially fuck up that you have a problem which may need to be addressed through some form of therapy etc.

Over the years I’ve read plenty of advice about how to become confident & I can’t help think at least maybe a third of it is basically BS. Joining Toastmasters is often the advice I’ve heard time and time again…problem with that kind of advice though is that it’s pretty one-dimensional. Joining TM’s might work amazingly well for a person who is afraid of public speaking but confidence IME is very situational.

The best way to overcome shyness IME is to use a multi-pronged approach, make a list of ten things that scare you (starting with the least scary) and do them over and over again until nothing on that list scares you any more.

So, whaddya think? What has or hasn’t worked for you or others you know, thoughts?

Posting on here has helped me a lot I’m sure. I think in my case for whatever reason I didn’t talk much unless and until I felt I had something to say.
Problem was that situations where I would feel like something should be said, I didn’t know how to say it.

Posting on here (including the ones I wrote but didn’t post, just x’d out that tab) helped me ‘find my voice’, that writers talk/write about
Now I speak much more freely because the words connect easily, aside from shyness

Speaking and writing more, shyness naturally shrinks.

I don’t consider shyness bad either - there’s too much and there’s not enough - depending on circumstances and styles.
It can be a problem but even if it is, it might be more effective to work on it subtly while focusing on other things adjacent to the shyness itself

Wait till someone reading this realizes that when you consistently, socially fuck up - that’s when some people really love you

(…and this is the type of post I think about deleting…)


long cycle of moderate dosage test, Dbol before a party


First, I just want to say: I thought you thought you were better than most people :wink:

Agree with this … tough to be confident in something you know fuck-all about (unless you suffer from Dunning Kreuger, then you’re golden)

Also agree with this…

I moved around a bit when I was a kid … went to 3 different elementary schools and 2 different middle schools so I was always the new kid. This could go 1 of 2 ways: it could’ve meant I had to be gregarious and outgoing, or it meant I was reluctant to talk to kids.

At first, because I was always the smallest kid in class AND the new kid, AND had fucking HYOOOGE glasses due being blind as a bat, most kids wouldn’t take the initiative and talk to me and the first impression I would get from the other kids was to be made fun of and laughed at…so, yea, that was super fun…

Until, after a few weeks or so of assimilating, I’d start playing games at recess and just totally kick the shit out of the other kids (kick ball, football, 4 corners, baseball, etc. etc.) - I was small, but I was quick. I may have been blind w/o my glasses but I had great hand/eye coordination and spacial awareness so I all of these little “negatives” I made into strengths and would make friends and be more outgoing.

Wash repeat whenever I’d change schools.

I’m still standoffish in larger crowds of people and whenever I meet new people - mainly b/c I like to feel them out first. Once I get comfortable / used to other people, I’m pretty outgoing.

I will say when that you can’t overcome shyness by thinking about it. Making a list as mentioned by GorillaMon is a great idea - and approaching these “fears” one by one is a good approach.

In my early 20s I was “scared” to talk to women/girls unprompted (fine if we were introduced, but was reluctant to ‘cold call’ so to speak). So, I just started small with girls/women I found attractive - saying hello, and giving a compliment - usually about their hair or some article of clothing. That ALWAYS was received positively. I never had any female react with “ewww get away creep”.

So, like just about anything/everything, you learn by doing. Overcoming shyness is about reps and reflection. What do you do if you miss a rep deadlifting? You analyse the lift and figure out what went wrong and what went RIGHT. Same with overcoming shyness. Play to your strengths and work on making your weakness less of weaknesses.

So that’s my unfocused, rambling of a reply to a fantastic topic.