5 Activities to Help You Become Less Shy

Updated on June 7, 2018
Raneem Taleb Agha profile image

Raneem used to be so shy that she wouldn't even talk to her teachers at school, but now she talks to strangers all over the world.

Despite Hollywood tropes and media that might tell you otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with being shy. Some of us–including myself–are introverts, and like to spend time alone. Others are extroverts that don’t have the confidence to live true to themselves, or simply don't know how to let their personality shine.

Regardless of what type of person we are, it is important to know how to communicate with others, whether it’s for networking, presenting your work, or simply being able to make a friend after moving to a new city.

So as not to miss an opportunity that might come your way, here are a five things you can try to help you break out of your shell.

1. Read the Right Books

Though it was never part of my required reading, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was without a doubt one of the most educational books I read in college. It's a classic in the professional development genre that has tons of helpful tips on how to become a great conversationalist, and goes from how to make small talk to how to do well in a business meeting. Here are the main takeaways from the “Win Friends” section of the book.

  • Have an interest in the other person.

  • Smile!

  • Call them by their name.

  • Be a good listener.

  • Talk about the other person’s interests.
  • Make the other person feel good about themselves.

If Dale Carnegie isn't your cup of tea, or if you want something a little more recent, you could try The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane. It has much of the same ideas as Carnegie's book, and it teaches that developing charisma is less about learning to become like someone else and more about how to best let your own personality come through.

There are tons of self-help books that address how to improve your conversation skills, body language, and approachability. Different authors have different approaches to the matter–ranging from abstract "change your thinking" methods to concrete actions–so read a couple of books and find what works for you.

Source

2. Take an Improv Acting Class

From afar, improv might seem like it's any shy person's nightmare. It's just about getting up on stage and being loud and funny in front of an audience, right?

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Improv acting teaches you many things about how to be a good communicator, from how to give positive reinforcement to how to be a good listener. The point isn’t to talk all the time – in fact, it’s more about listening all the time and be aware of your surroundings and fellow cast mates.

Improv will also teach you how to get comfortable working with and in front of other people. The games and skits you go through will show you lessons that you can take beyond the acting studio, and you'll have a great time as well! Look for an improv troupe at your community theater, or even at your local college or university.

3. Take a Singing Class

Expressing yourself in front of an audience can be deeply personal and nerve wracking, and singing in particular can leave you feeling vulnerable or exposed. This is what we want: even if you never plan on becoming a performer of any kind, singing can help you learn how to project your voice and become a more emotionally open person.

The lesson to be learned here is to be okay with being vulnerable. Genuine friendships and relationships are more likely to develop when you are open and real with other people. If you’re not used to being emotionally available, the concept letting your feelings through can be pretty terrifying. Singing is a good way to introduce you to the feeling of opening up without you actually having to bare all.

Sure, your voice may crack in front of the whole class while singing an opera piece the professor assigned (and you might feel like you’ll die of embarrassment), but over time you’ll soon realize that most people won’t even remember or notice your mistakes at all–mostly because they’re worried about their own.

Check your local community college for group singing classes. These are a safe space that can help you grow more comfortable standing in front of an audience, and provide a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests. Vocal lessons are pricey and don’t give you the benefit (or terror) of performing in front of an audience.

Often we work too hard to preserve an image of being "put together" or want to be seen as "having it all.” We don't realize that it's through the cracks that the light comes in. Let people into your life by sharing your difficulties.

— Dr. Sue Varma, Psychiatrist

4. Join a Meetup

If singing or acting isn't your thing, then get together with a group of people who do share the same interests as you. Even if your hobbies are more solitary, such as hiking or reading, there is probably a group of people in your area who get together every so often. This makes socializing a little easier, because you already have something in common to talk about.

Meetup is a great app and website that allows you to find people to meet up with around a singular activity. You can also try searching for a Facebook group related to that interest and try arranging a face-to-face meeting with people in your area through there.

Try meeting up with people who share your interests. It will make socializing easier, which is great if you're just starting to reach out of your bubble.
Try meeting up with people who share your interests. It will make socializing easier, which is great if you're just starting to reach out of your bubble. | Source

5. Get Lost – On Purpose

If you have the means, try traveling alone somewhere! Solo travel is all about stepping out of your comfort zone, discovering yourself, and yes--talking to strangers! When you stay in a hostel with a bunch of other travelers, you will be in a room of people all in the same boat, trying to make new friends with whom you can share your journey.

As with everything else, practice makes perfect. Travel is the perfect situation in which to practice your social skills, because the stakes are low–if you ask someone the wrong question, or otherwise flub a conversation, it doesn’t matter: You probably won't see these people ever again.

Even if you can’t make the trip to a new city or country, or if staying in a hostel just isn't your thing, you can always try meeting travelers that come to you. Couchsurfing is a great resource to meet up with travelers from all around the world in your area.

Sometimes you'll arrive alone, but leave with a new perspective and great new friends.
Sometimes you'll arrive alone, but leave with a new perspective and great new friends. | Source

Why Are You Shy?

With all these tips, it’s important to know what is causing your shyness. Do you have low self-esteem and are afraid people won’t like you? Are you scared to talk to people or do you simply not want to? Do you worry a lot about what others think about you? And, most importantly, why do you want to be less shy?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you pinpoint exactly what it is you should work on; for example, if your problem is a fear of embarrassment, maybe taking an improv class should be the first thing you try. If you're afraid of getting out of your comfort zone, push yourself to do whatever scares you the most.

The suggestions above are to help you practice socializing in a casual sense. However, you can most definitely apply what you practice to a more formal or business-related setting.

Different Things Work for Different People

I had always been a shy person, but I had never really noticed how much it affected me until I got to college. When it came time to speak to professors during office hours and ask for letters of recommendation for jobs and internships, I was too afraid to. That's when I decided to seek ways to get past my inhibitions.

I tried all of the things mentioned above. I took a singing and improv classes, joined Model UN, and started reading all I could about self-improvement. The changes didn't happen overnight, and I can't pinpoint one single action that lead me to improve my social skills; rather, I slowly developed habits over time that helped me be more confident and, honestly, more interested in speaking to other people.Though I still enjoy my time alone, these things have helped me make friends all over the world and build meaningful connections in both my personal and business relationships.

However, your situation might be completely different from mine. Try a couple of these things out and see what works for you. At worst, you'll make a new friend.

What activity would you try to help you break out of your shell?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jennyeswartz profile image

      Jennifer 10 days ago from Mill Valley

      Woot woot!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://pairedlife.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)