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Friday, January 11, 2008

Overcoming Shyness

Many people experience shyness at times in their lives, but some people experience intense avoidance or apprehension in social situation. Shyness can be a devastating anxiety disorder, but it can be effectively treated.

Is there a difference between being shy and being an introvert?
• Introverts prefer solitary activities but they do not fear social encounters
• Shyness relates to those who fear social situations and typically it
experienced by those who have low self-confidence and high apprehension

What are some of the causes of shyness?
• Shaming experiences or parental criticism
• Major moves from one school to another, or abrupt changes or disruptions in
family life
• Family neglect with little expressed warmth
• Hostile environments with public embarrassment (environments where bullying
or teasing is encouraged or reinforced).

What are some of the effects experienced by those who are shy?
• Canceling social events at the last moment
• Avoiding social interactions
• Few or no friends
• Low self-esteem, passive nature, and pessimism
• Excessive computer usage, but not social in nature

What can loved ones or friends do to help someone who is shy?
• Encourage them to talk about daily experiences and reinforce their
• Help them challenge their own negative thoughts—be their cheerleader
• Avoid any negative criticism and negative labels for performance
• Role play situations with them so they feel prepared to handle new
• Reinforce any type of social interaction or communication
• Encourage the person to seek professional assistance from a therapist who can
teach them skills to deal with their disorder

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