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Kind and Insecure: The Dual Path to Overcome Shyness
This article covers two techniques I learned to overcome shyness. It talks about exposing your insecurities, and showing your good intentions.
These techniques are easy to use as they make you express your gratitude and generosity. And most often, these emotions are not too hard to verbalize.
All the points discussed in this article are detailed and illustrated with examples in this book.
She had been raised with strong ethical and moral values. As a nurse, Adele found her passion. She had fallen in love with helping people, caring for them, healing them, and assisting them in their everyday struggles.
Since childhood she knew she would be selfless. Her life would not be worth living if she could not contribute to preserving people and making their life easier. Unfortunately, her job consisted in being present for each and every patient.
She had to talk with them, make conversation, ask about their relatives, their future, and so on. She had to help elders groom and bath, and she also was to bandage severely injured kids.
The issue was, Adele had always been shy and introverted. Having to deal with so many people on a daily basis was terrific for her. These strangers were in her hospital, and her labor was to assist them.
“How am I supposed to deal with them? Why would they trust me and put their life in my hands?” she wondered, daunted by the situation.
Out of her mind, this old man made a step forward and engaged the conversation.
– “Hi Madam. I am coming for my weekly treatment since I had this car crash. Could you please help me?”
– “Yes Sir. Please await me there,” she replied, showing an empty seat. “I’ll be back in two minutes.”
As she walked toward the hospital’s pharmacy, it struck her. Adele’s job was, in essence, built on top of the idea that she was responsible for helping people. Hence, she could only have good intentions toward patients. That was the reason why so many strangers were so keen on meeting with her, making conversation, and asking for help.
It was in everyone’s mind that Adele, like any other nurse or individual in the medical field, had only one goal. Saving people and preserving their health. Because of that, no one had ever been reluctant to approach her. They knew they would be treated well and had nothing to lose.
It taught Adele an important lesson she could apply beyond her job.
Explicit good intentions make people feel comfortable and safe.
This is how being a nurse turned her into a socially confident extrovert.
1. Expose Yourself
Your shyness is your strength. It shows other people you have weaknesses, and you are making efforts to overcome them and socialize.
The people you hang out with will feel more comfortable knowing you are not perfect, because neither are they. And this is what will make your relationships robust and lasting.
The more you expose yourself and tell about your insecurities, the more you let the door open for others to join you.
Do not use shyness as a hook but as a fragrance
You are not obliged to talk about your shyness, but you should use it to your advantage. If you find yourself talking a lot and leading the conversation, hinder it and tell how good it feels to chat and open yourself in spite of your introversion.
You must refrain from making shyness a weakness to get people to talk to you. On the contrary, you have to use your shyness as a way to tell your interlocutor “Please notice I am feeling good with you and this is what drives me to talk that much, even though I usually don’t.”
On the one hand, making your shyness an argument to talk with someone is the worst thing you can do. It makes the conversation forced, artificial, and unpleasant. It makes your interlocutor feel worried about not helping you enough and it unconsciously puts pressure on them. Otherwise they would be considered as rude and unhelpful.
On the other hand, making your shyness a detail in the conversation makes it even more pleasant. It is just like making efforts to pet a dog you are afraid of. It demonstrates you are getting over a fear which is deep inside you to make a connection and build a relationship.
When you are in the middle of a conversation and find yourself happy and loquacious, take the time to thank your interlocutor and to show enthusiasm, politeness, and gratitude.
Do not use your shyness as an introducer but as a compliment.
“I do not talk frequently as I am shy, but you make me open myself.”
It makes other people smile and feel happy as you are complimenting them and showing genuine honesty.
2. Show Good Intentions
I believe good intentions and genuine kindness enable people to socialize and build rock-solid relationships. I have tested my philosophy more than once, and I have always been astounded by people’s reactions.
Back when I was using mobile apps to socialize and meet people in my city, I always introduced myself in the simplest way.
“Hi. I hope you’re having a nice day. My name is David and I would be glad to meet you in person, grab a coffee or anything else so we can get to know each other better,” with some emojis here and there.
Believe it or not, it had an eighty-percent success rate.
Most often, my interlocutors would only ask me questions to ensure I really was kind-hearted as they had never met me beforehand.
My philosophy and these experiments taught me two important lessons.
First , if you manage to demonstrate that you have good intentions and nothing else, people will spend time with you and open themselves.
Second , it is easier done than said. People fear strangers because they have no idea what these strangers plan to do with them. If you tell straight away that you want to connect and share nice moments, people instantly lower their guard.
There are only two possible outcomes of introducing yourself and telling about your good intentions. Your interlocutor will either be suspicious, or welcome you with open arms.
In the first case , it is nothing to worry about. Since childhood, most of us are taught not to approach strangers, and we learn that what seems too good to be true probably is.
In the second case, you have just made a new friend.
Back to the first case, you will be asked questions to prove your sincerity, and it is no big deal. Whenever you are to meet someone new, introduce yourself and immediately talk about your pure intentions. Be honest and do not lie. Honesty is always rewarded, and more often than not, your interlocutors are as kind-hearted as you. We all want peace and authentic relationships based on gentleness, respect, generosity, and politeness.
Do not be afraid of rejection. If you have good intentions, there is no risk of rejection.
Being shy has this advantage that it makes every word you say much more powerful and meaningful. If you were a very talkative individual, words would be abundant and somehow, less precious.
Scarcity drives value, and this is your advantage.
Let everyone know you are happy to have a talk with them and you would definitely share one more moment with them later on.
Refrain from introducing yourself as a shy introvert, and compliment your interlocutors using your weaknesses to empower your words.