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Shyness is a feeling of fear or discomfort caused by other people, especially in new situations or among strangers. It can also prevent the formation of healthy relationships. Shyness is often linked to low self-esteem.


Some people welcome new experiences and new people. They look forward to any opportunity to socialize. They're often the first to introduce themselves and they jump into a conversation easily. Other people are quiet and shy, and prefer to warm up slowly to new people or situations. Shyness is an emotion that affects how a person feels and behaves around others.

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Shyness can mean feeling uncomfortable, self-conscious, nervous, bashful, timid, or insecure. People who feel shy sometimes notice physical sensations like blushing or feeling speechless, shaky, or breathless.

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Shyness is the opposite of being at ease with yourself around others. When people feel shy, they might hesitate to say or do something because they're feeling unsure of themselves and they're not ready to be noticed. New and unfamiliar situations can bring out shy feelings — like the first day of school, meeting someone new, or speaking in front of a group for the first time. People are more likely to feel shy when they're not sure how to act, don't know how others will react, or when attention is on them.

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People are less likely to feel shy in situations where they know what to expect, feel sure of what to do or say, or are among familiar people. Like other emotions, shy feelings can be mild, medium, or intense — depending on the situation and the person. Someone who usually or often feels shy might think of himself or herself as a shy person. People who are shy may need more time to get used to change. They might prefer to stick with what's familiar. People who are shy often hesitate before trying something new. They often prefer watching others before ing in on a group activity.

They usually take longer to warm up to new people and situations. Sometimes being quiet and introverted is a that someone has a naturally shy personality. But that's not always the case. Being quiet is not always the same as being shy. Shyness is partly a result of genes a person has inherited.

How to overcome your shyness

It's also influenced by behaviors they've learned, the ways people have reacted to their shyness, and life experiences they've had. Many people want to reduce their shyness.

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But people who are naturally shy also have gifts that they might not appreciate in themselves. For example, because shy people may prefer listening to talking, they sometimes become really good listeners and what friend doesn't appreciate that?! People who are shy might also become sensitive to other people's feelings and emotions. Because of their sensitivity and listening skills, many people with a shy personality are especially caring toward others, and interested in how others feel.

People often consider them the finest friends.

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Of course, some people want to feel less shy so they can have more fun socializing and being themselves around others. If you're trying to become less shy, it can help to remember:.

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Most naturally shy people can learn to manage their shyness so that it doesn't interfere with what they enjoy doing. They learn to warm up to new people and situations. They develop their friendliness and confidence and get past shy feelings.

How to stop being shy: 9 guaranteed ways to overcome shyness

But for a few people, shy feelings can be extreme and can seem hard to conquer. When shy feelings are this strong, they prevent a person from interacting, participating in class, and socializing. Instead of warming up after a while, someone with extreme shyness has shy feelings that build into a powerful fear. This can cause a person to avoid social situations and hold back on trying new things or making new friends.

12 tips for overcoming shyness (and embracing self-acceptance)

Extreme shyness can make it uncomfortable — and seem impossible — to talk to classmates or teachers. Because extreme shyness can interfere with socializing, it can also affect a person's self-confidence and self-esteem. And it can prevent someone from taking advantage of opportunities or trying new things. Extreme feelings of shyness are often a of an anxiety condition called social phobia.

People with social phobia often need the help of a therapist to overcome extreme shyness. Someone with social phobia — or extreme shyness — can overcome it! It takes time, patience, courage, and practice. But it's worth the hard work.

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The payoff is enjoying more friends, having more fun, and feeling more confident. We can't change our true inner nature and who would want to? If you have a How to remove shy shy style, or if shyness holds you back, you might have to work at developing a sense of ease around new people. Most people find that the more they practice socializing, the easier it gets. Practicing social skills — like assertiveness ; conversation; and friendly, confident body language — can help people overcome shyness, build confidence, and get more enjoyment from everyday experiences.

Reviewed by: Colleen Sherman, PhD. Larger text size Large text size Regular text size. What Is Shyness? Reacting to New Things New and unfamiliar situations can bring out shy feelings — like the first day of school, meeting someone new, or speaking in front of a group for the first time. Why Are Some People Shy? Our genes determine our physical traits, like height, eye color, skin color, and body type. But genes also influence certain personality traits, including shyness. But not everyone with a genetic tendency to be shy develops How to remove shy shy temperament.

Life experiences also play a role. Life experiences. When people are faced with a situation that may lead them to feel shy, how they deal with that situation can shape their future reactions to similar situations. For example, if people who are shy approach new things little by little, it can help them become more confident and comfortable. But if they feel pushed into situations they don't feel prepared for, or if they are teased or bulliedit can make them even more shy. The examples other people set can also play a role in whether a person learns to be shy or not.

If the parents of a shy child are overly cautious or overprotective, it can teach the child to back away from situations that might be uncomfortable or unfamiliar. Shy Strength Many people want to reduce their shyness. If you're trying to become less shy, it can help to remember: Overcoming shyness takes practice. People who are shy tend to give themselves fewer chances to practice social behaviors.

It's no wonder that people who shy away from socializing don't feel as socially confident as those who are outgoing — they have less practice! The more you practice social behaviors, the easier they get, and the more natural they feel for you. Take slow, steady steps forward. Going slow is OK. But be sure to go forward. Stepping back from any situations that might trigger you to feel shy can reinforce shyness and keep it at a level that's hard to get past.

More on this topic for:

Build confidence by taking one small forward step at a time. It's OK to feel awkward. Everyone does sometimes.

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People who are shy are often afraid to feel awkward or uncomfortable. But don't let that keep you from doing what you want.

This can help if:

You might feel awkward asking your crush for a first date. That's perfectly natural. Whether your crush says yes — or no — is out of your control. But not asking at all means you'll never get that date. So go for it anyway!

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Anxiety and fear in social situations can make daily life more difficult.


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Those who have never suffered from shyness have no idea how debilitating it can be, especially for someone in a professional situation.


This advice, of course, often comes from people who have little if any experience with shyness themselves.