Advertising
Advertising

How to Start Talking to Strangers with Ease Even If You’re Shy

How to Start Talking to Strangers with Ease Even If You’re Shy

A day without communicating with others and meeting new people isn’t a day well spent.

But that’s not always the easiest thing to do if you’re shy by nature. You might be intimidated when in public because you get anxious, start thinking that others will judge you, fear being rejected, aren’t sure what to talk about, feel uncomfortable, or else.

Don’t worry. You can still take control of your bad communication skills and lack of self-esteem and turn them around. One of the best things about being human is that we have the ability to change, to improve, to built new qualities and learn any skill.

In this case, the goal is to start talking to strangers with ease. Let’s see how you can get there without too much stress and effort.

Advertising

Fix your relationship with yourself first

Shyness is a result of not being confident in yourself, and there are often deeper reasons behind this. It’s worth taking the time to dig deeper and see where all this started.

Maybe your parents were too judgmental and you could never satisfy them. Maybe you never found something you’re good at that could give you the chance to show you’re capable of much more. Or maybe you don’t try new things because you’ve failed in the past. Whatever the case is, getting back to these memories tells your mind you shouldn’t do anything right now. It’s time to let go.

Leave behind anything from the past, as it’s the foundation of your shy self. Instead, realise this: we all have potential inside of us, waiting to be unleashed. But it takes some work and practice to start getting things done and let others notice that.

So, set some goals and take a step daily. Decide to give a new hobby a try. Learn something new. Take up a sport. Find out life hacks that will help you do things faster and better. Whatever it is that you do, it will give you the confidence that you can accomplish much more. And you’ll start building self-esteem and begin taking risks more often, even in social life.

Advertising

Being action-oriented also means you’ll stop overthinking your weaknesses, will leave behind the doubts and insecurity. All that makes you stronger, more experienced, and more confident around other people. Once you go through this transformation – which doesn’t need to take long – you can show the world you’re not afraid to be in public, meet new people and show them how interesting of a person you are.

Leave the comfort zone

Your comfort zone is the bubble you live in, that feels safe and familiar, and which is hard to leave. It includes all the habits you’ve developed over the years and which you stick to, all the people from your past you’re used to being around, all the qualities you’ve always had, and the things you’ve always been doing.

But comfort is the enemy of progress, and that affects your social life quite negatively. Once you’re out of this comfort zone, you break free from the mediocrity and can start exploring, learning, socializing, and improving.

That can happen by doing things that don’t feel comfortable. And because we’re talking about getting better at approaching strangers, some things you can try on a daily basis are talking to one new person, asking a question, looking people on the street in the eyes, speaking up when you have something to say, spending more time around new people, etc.

Advertising

Do one of these daily for a start. It might feel awkward and unpleasant, but that’s how you’re changing for the better. Repeat it the next day.

Soon, you’ll notice some changes in your behaviour. You won’t feel anxious in public, won’t feel weird when people look at you and won’t be afraid to look them in the eyes, you’ll always know what to say when asked a question, and will even have longer conversations with new people.

Slowly master the art of being a conversationalist

Once you’ve gone through the first 2 phases, you’ll be ready to try different things, find what works best for you, gain experience, and have fun at the same time.

For example, you can begin disagreeing with people and thus showing character. Eventually, you’ll find the balance between saying your honest opinion, but presenting it in a way that won’t make the other person feel bad. You’ll become more assertive too. You’ll show respect to anyone you’re talking to but won’t allow being deceived or controlled in any way.

Advertising

Then, you’ll get creative with body language and your diction. The determination can be felt through the words you use, your tone and your posture. Once approaching the new person isn’t an issue anymore, you’ll experiment with all these too.

As for the topics, you’ll discuss with strangers, in the beginning, they will be more common ones that don’t require any knowledge or even opinion. But then you can bring up questions that concern you and be genuinely interested in what the another person has to say about this. This way, every new conversation will be a learning experience for you. As a result, you’ll become an interesting conversation partner and someone who’ll challenge others in exciting ways. You’ll learn how to open up to people once you’ve talked for a while, but also how to make them feel comfortable and start sharing.

After some time, expect to have the chance to actually form a friendship with anyone you have something in common with. You decide who you’ll spend time with for longer, but your circle of friends will definitely get bigger now that you’re more self-assured and know how to approach people with ease.

Your daily life will turn into a quest to meet new individuals, get to know them, brush up on your social skills, and have a good time.

More by this author

A Good Relationship Is About Give and Take. Never Let It Be One-Sided 12 Ways To Stop Your Addiction to ‘The Next Thing’ 12 Ways to Make Moving Cheaper and Easier 5 Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned After Using Dating Apps for a Year 6 Tips How To Stay Motivated When Training Alone

Trending in 20-Something

1 One Solid Practice for Tackling Low Self-Esteem 2 7 Tools to Optimize Your Next Long-Term Traveling Experience 3 How To Go Through College And Stay Sane 4 The Battle Of The Voices In My Head 5 How to Have the Best Spring With Your Pets

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

Advertising

Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

Advertising

Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

Advertising

7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

Advertising

Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next