How to Make Friends When You're Shy

 If you’re shy, you may hate the idea of going to a party where you won’t know many people. Maybe you feel uncomfortable talking to a group or even convince yourself that other people are somehow better than you. Shyness makes it hard to venture into new places and may tempt you to stay at home instead. Watch how confident people behave and imitate them to overcome your fears and make new friends.

1          Remember you're not alone. About 40 percent of people in the UK describe themselves as shy. Although your shyness may make your heart beat faster and your hands sweat, other people don’t know how you feel. In fact, they probably feel the same way.

2          Start with some research into the way confident people behave. Stop wasting time envying them and wishing you could tell jokes like they do. Instead, watch how they use body language. Self-assured people smile, look you in the eye and step forward when they meet you. A confident voice is clear, resonant and often sounds deeper than other voices.

3          Watch yourself in a mirror and mimic the way those self-assured people behave. Stand tall, with your hands by your sides and your chin raised and notice how much more in control you look when than when you fold your arms, stand on one leg and gaze at the floor. Look yourself in the eye and smile.

4          Learn to relax your body. To relieve body tension, lift your shoulders up to your ears and then let them fall comfortably in place. Breathe out slowly until your lungs are empty before allowing them to refill themselves. Avoid taking a deep breath as this can encourage you to tense your muscles.

5          Try a few words in this relaxed state. You may find you speak on a slightly lower note than before. Nervousness raises your pitch, but using relaxation relieves the tension in your vocal cords, so your voice drops and becomes richer.

6          Experiment with one change at a time. Next time you speak to someone, use one of the techniques you tried at home. See what happens when you make eye contact, or stand straighter, or use a deeper voice. Keep using this new, confident body language until it becomes a habit.

7          Become a good listener. Focus your attention on the person talking to you. Try to understand what they say, asking questions to clarify what they mean. Use an occasional nod to make it clear they have your full attention, and keep your eyes on their face. 

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