Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Topical Tuesdays: How to overcome shyness & make new friends

Todays' how-to topic is something I have had more than my fair share of experience with. Since I can remember I have always been "the quiet one" and if that sounds like you do not fret! It is completely normal to feel shy and not know how to approach new people. Not only does it make you feel alone but it can really get in the way of making new friends. I still have times when a stranger will introduce themselves to me & my brain just goes "Sorry Kelly, not sure what to do now so I'm just going to go completely blank, okay?" No brain, it's no okay and why do you do this to me? 

Social shyness can be caused by a number of things. Perhaps, like me, you just don't know how to strike up a conversation with someone you don't know & worry that they won't want to talk to you. Maybe you fear that you'll say something stupid and embarrass yourself. You might even suffer from anxiety when put in to these situations & just want the ground to swallow you up. Believe it or not we've all been there. It's just how we cope and deal with these situations that makes them easier for us to handle. So I've stuck my thinking-cap on & put together my top tips.

1. What's the worst that can happen?
Think about it. I know it's easier said than done but what are you actually worrying for? Okay, so you might say something & the other person might give you a funny look or laugh at you, but y'know what, who cares? If this new person who you've taken the effort to go & speak to laughs in your face then they are clearly not worth trying to be friends with & you're lucky enough to find this out first-hand! Don't let this put you off, there are tons of people that will find you interesting & enjoy talking to you! Tell yourself "I am confident. I can talk to people. People do find me interesting & want to talk to me." Repeat this mantra whenever you start to doubt yourself & write it down to look at whenever you need to. Trust me, it really helps!

2. You're not alone!
Okay, so you're at a party, stood in the corner not quite sure who to approach and what to talk about. You notice that girl who works in your office/goes to your school and think she looks like a friendly face, but what if she doesn't want to talk to you? Believe it or not she is most likely stood in the other corner of the room feeling exactly the same! Even if you know someone who is always chatting away to people it doesn't mean they're any less shy or nervous than you, sometimes people are just better at hiding it! Throw yourself out there, you'd be surprised at how much people would appreciate someone making the effort to talk to them!

3. Think up interesting topics/relate to them.
So, obviously you're not going to just walk up to that hot guy & start chatting about football & cars as if you know everything there is to know about them. You need to start slowly & get to know their interests. If you know them from somewhere start with that. I.e. "Aren't you in my maths class? That teacher does my head in!" or "aren't you friends with Lisa? Yeah I've known her for years! What's your name?" It's surprising how quickly a conversation starts to flow. Remember, if this person clearly can't be bothered to talk to you properly, just say "it was nice meeting you" and find someone who does.

4. Don't make yourself uncomfortable.
Now, I'm not saying you have to march up to every Tom, Dick & Nancy and give them your life story! Only talk to people you want to get to know better. Obviously if someone comes up to you and starts chattering away then be polite. But if you find that they are getting a little too in your face and you really do not want to talk to them then it is completely acceptable for you to leave the conversation. Just politely tell them you have to go somewhere and walk away. If it all has gotten a bit much for you, go take a breather. 5 minutes fresh air can really help you to organise your thoughts and get back in to the social situation.

5.If all else fails, keep your phone handy!
This is my no.1 for emergency situations! If you really start to panic, look at your phone & say you have a missed call/text & have to go outside to "make a call". I try not to use this one unless I'm really starting to feel uncomfortable or someone won't stop pestering me. 

I really hope that this helps any of you struggling with social shyness to make a change. I know just how difficult it can make life & some people just don't understand. So keep those beautiful chins up & get out there! You do only live once so just go for it!

I want to take this opportunity to ask you guys if you have any suggestions for my next Topical Tuesday: How to post. Is there anything you want help or advice on? Let me know! Have a fab Tuesday lovelies!

Kelly x

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