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Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Is this health or relationships? Wasn't sure, so feel free to move it if needed.

I have a real problem with shyness, not so much in one to one, or informal situations, but mainly voicing opinions to a larger group especially a group of people I'm not familiar with. This courses problems at uni with things like seminars, where I'm required to have a an imput and discuss things, but I end up sitting silent for the whole time. It's not that I don't know the answer, in fact the most frustrating thing is knowing the answer and not being able to say it. If I am called on to speak I usually stumble over my words and go bright red. In more extreme cases, like presentations or when I've know I've got to speak in front of the class so I kinda have that build up of knowing it's coming, it actually gets to the point where I can't speak because my mouth won't move properly, and I mumble and go red and rush what I have to say. Then I see everyone look at me afterwards, and they probably wonder why the hell I'm so stressed about saying a few lines in front of 10 or so people :( . It's got to the point where there are some seminars I don't think I've said a single word in all term, and I really don't want to be that person, I want to be someone who is assertive an confident :( . It sounds so stupid reading this through, and even I wonder why the hell I'm making so much fuss, but at the time it feels awful.

I don't know what to do to get over it, it's just such a huge barrier.


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There's a book by Gillian Butler, it's called Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxiety, it has some helpful exercises in there, I found it useful.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think it is shyness but you've really really built it up. after the first real time it happened did you start questioning yourself and getting really worked up about it?? it's happened to me before but at sixth form, I had to talk about something in german to these students who had come in from university to watch us and i just went bright red, couldnt say a word, mind went blank, started shaking as i knew everyone was watching, i was trying to force the words out but it just didnt happen. it all comes down to confidence, i expect its taken a bit of a hit from what's happened. as for help, talk to your mates about it/read some books/ find some articles online. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have this in seminars. The seminar leaders see how anxious I get and don't really pick on me anymore. I think it helps to think what you would think of another person in your class if they blushed. Would you think they are stupid? I doubt it. It's just one of those things and it's completely natural, even endearing sometimes. I can relate exactly to the feeling that you get before it's your turn to speak. My palms go so cold and sweaty and I start shaking. I've found it helps to practice breathing regularly. Not in an obvious way like you are in labour or something :P Also it sounds lame but pretend to be someone you think is cool and confident
  • C FunkC Funk Deactivated Posts: 163 Helping Hand
    Hi Innocent Kate,

    Shyness can be a real obstacle to overcome in situations where you you have to speak in front other people. It's easy to say but I find the best way to improve your confidence is to practice speaking to other people. You could do this by joining a new group at university or going to events. Try and speak to as many people as you can and you'll notice it gets easier and you will be more at ease with yourself when you meet new people.

    When it comes to speaking in front of others I find that it's really helpful to practice what you're going to say before you actually say it. Focus in on the lecturer or someone you know well and direct your comments at them. Almost imagine that everyone else is invisible and it's just you and the other person speaking.

    Confidence is a skill which comes naturally to some, but it is also something that can be improved. Believe in yourself and believe in what you're saying and eventually it will come.

    Have a look at our article on overcoming shyness to look for other pointers.

    Good Luck

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for all the advice :) . Razzi, I thin you're right that I didn't notice it was a problem until it happened, and since then it's been hard to get over because every time I'm in a situation where I have to speak up I get nervous at just the thought of it.
    Also it sounds lame but pretend to be someone you think is cool and confident

    This actually doesn't sound lame at all because I already try to do it! I try to encourage myself to be more like what i want to be like, not what I am, or think what one of my more confident friends would be like in that situation.

    I have taken on a couple of things outside my course, that involve a group training session where I have to speak up. It's especially harder because I don't really know anyone and I really want to meet some new people, so it has the added pressure that I want to come across positivly. I'm just hoping the effects of the practice will eventually kick in. It's become such a big thing now I actually dread seminars and group training sessions :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    (i expect you will be anyway but..) don't even think about your seminars or group training sessions. if it enters your head just shake your head, tell yourself to forget about it and that everything wil be fine. theres another way too which really helps. i started it a while ago.

    Basically my mate told me about a strategy to help me. I would say something like " i can speak perfectly fine in unfamiliar situations" but i would hold my thumb at the same time. i would say it 5 times a day, so that whenever i held my thumb it would trigger this thought and i would speak perfectly fine in unfamiliar situations. If i touch my thumb now...the first thing that comes into my head is that thought :)

    just try it for a couple of weeks. :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I used to be pretty shy... One of the things that built my confidence a lot was a took up kick-boxing. The knowledge I could handle myself (even though a lot of it is not applicable in most everyday situations) was a big thing, and it just grew from there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I just take a deep breath, smile and get into it. Once you get over the first bit of nerves you're flying, then again I'm a confident person generally so I don't really have a problem with extreme shyness. Good luck anyway. :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm very shy when I comes to people I don't know. I get tongue tied when I do talk so that puts me off.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    A bit about me...

    I was bullied a lot in school and this caused me to become a very shy and awkward individual. When I first came to sixth form college, my best friend used to speak for me... I found conversation very hard.

    I then did bar work, but often got pushed around by bosses and customers who told me I was thick. When I turned twenty one of my collegues actually asked why I wasn't in university, I didn't think I was clever enough...

    Anyway, for me the confidence building came with campaigning and other activities. I kind of got thrown in the deep end because my dyspraxia can make communication and organisation harder... But I started volunteering, then ran for a part time officer position and basically I had to be less shy.

    For me, I just pushed myself really hard, I became more conscious about the speed in which I talk and decided that the individual I'm talking to could be just as nervous as I am. After a while it becomes more natural I guess...

    So my advice would be to slow your brain down. Start off by talking to friends more, then aquaintances, then friends of friends...

    And (I don't want to sound patronising) just think that most people are too busy worrying about themselves than how shy you are. They quite possibly want to hear your opinion as they value it.

    I don't think people are born confident, it's more about programming oneself. I'm trying to work on public speaking and presentations now.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Try instant confidence by Paul McKenna, the CD is really relaxing. Maybe i thought that i was more confident because i was listening to the cd or maybe the cd but it did help me become more confident.
    As your talking in front of people, practise what you're going to say before hand or use some cue cards to help you remember and give you something to vocus on.
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