ROSEN COUNSELLING SERVICES
ROSEN COUNSELLING SERVICES

Shyness and Social Anxiety

Shyness and Social Anxiety



There are many definitions of shyness but what it usually boils down to is fear of people. The tricky part about being afraid or anxious of people is that you canít really avoid them. You can isolate yourself for a while but what usually happens is that you are drawn to others one way or another. Even if you are successful at avoiding close relationships, at the end you are losing the joy and warmth of human contact. What are you getting for it? A safe feeling that you will not be rejected from time to time. You are absolutely right! If you donít let people in you will not get hurt when they disappoint or betray you. Although you are protecting yourself from occasional hurt of rejection, you are subjecting yourself to constant, almost unnoticeable but chronic hurt of not being close to other people.

If you are afraid of relating to others, ask yourself: Do you feel that people are constantly evaluating you? Are they constantly judging the way you look or sound? The answer to these questions is no. Most of the time people think about themselves and the way they look and come across. They simply have no time to think about you for longer than several seconds (try to notice how long you think about others). And that is only when they are actually talking to you. When they are not talking to you, chances are they donít think about you at all! Unless they are in love with you of course, and even then they take breaks.

It is true that from time to time others judge or evaluate us. What usually happens is that they do it for a couple of seconds (and you can usually notice their unkind smile or even their rolled eyes). What happens after? Most of the time they forget about it and next time they relate to you will be based on the way you behave at that moment. So, if you caught yourself saying or doing something you feel was inappropriate, donít get discouraged and definitely donít hide. Simply act differently next time and people will perceive you differently.

If you donít know what to say in a conversation, try being curious of others. This is probably one of the best suggestions on relating to others. Simply be interested. Ask people questions about something that is important to them, like their families, kids, job, friends, hobbiesÖ Make sure you do not interrogate them and give them a chance to ask you about things that are important to you. As you get to know them better, re-channel your curiosity into something more intimate like their relationships or their dreams or worries in life. Yes, this also implies being ready to open up when they take interest in your dreams and worries. This is how you make friends from acquaintances. And donít forget, if you make a faux pas, people will let it go soon and so should you.