I always felt shy and self-conscious when meeting new people, then I adopted these 7 new habits

Meeting new people used to make me feel shy and self-conscious. I’d always worry about saying the wrong thing or making a bad impression.

But eventually, I realized that I needed to change my approach. That’s when I adopted a set of new habits that completely transformed how I interacted with others.

These habits weren’t just about bolstering my confidence, they were also about learning to genuinely connect with people.

Today, I’ll share 7 of these new habits. 

Do you also find yourself feeling shy and self-conscious? You might want to give these a try.

1) Embracing vulnerability

I used to think that showing any sign of vulnerability was a weakness. I’d always try to present myself as confident and unflappable, even when I was feeling anything but.

But then, I came across the work of Brene Brown, a researcher who has spent her career studying vulnerability and its role in human connection. She argues that vulnerability is not a weakness, but a strength. It’s what allows us to connect with others on a deep, emotional level.

I started to apply this concept in my interactions with new people. Instead of trying to appear perfect, I allowed myself to show my true feelings and experiences.

And guess what? People responded positively. They appreciated my honesty and authenticity. I found that being vulnerable didn’t push people away, it drew them closer.

This didn’t mean oversharing or dumping all my problems on someone I just met. It simply meant being open about who I am and what I’ve experienced.

Embracing vulnerability became one of the first steps in overcoming my shyness and self-consciousness. It freed me from the pressure of trying to be someone I’m not, and it made my interactions with others more genuine and meaningful.

If you struggle with meeting new people, you might want to give this habit a try. You might be surprised by how much it can transform your interactions.

2) Practicing active listening

Next came the habit of active listening. Prior to this, I used to get so wrapped up in my own thoughts during conversations that I would barely focus on what the other person was saying.

I remember vividly, one day I was at a networking event and I met someone who worked in an industry I had been interested in for years. I was so focused on making a good impression and trying to sound knowledgeable that I ended up dominating the conversation.

Reflecting back, I realized that I hadn’t really heard what they were saying, let alone asked any meaningful questions about their experiences. It was a wake-up call.

From then on, I made it a point to practice active listening in every conversation. This meant focusing fully on the speaker, avoiding distractions, and responding thoughtfully to what they said.

This habit wasn’t just about improving my conversation skills. It also helped me feel more at ease when meeting new people because it shifted the focus from me and my insecurities to the other person and their stories.

Active listening turned out to be a game changer in my interactions with new people. It helped create a genuine connection and made our conversations more engaging and meaningful.

And as a bonus, people often appreciated being heard and understood, which made them more likely to want to interact with me again in the future.

3) Adopting a growth mindset

When you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your abilities and traits are set in stone. This mindset can be limiting, especially when it comes to social interactions.

If you believe that you’re inherently shy and there’s nothing you can do about it, then that’s likely to remain your reality.

On the other hand, a growth mindset is the belief that abilities and traits can be developed over time. This mindset is empowering because it means that you’re not destined to stay the way you are.

Research conducted by psychologist Carol Dweck shows that individuals with a growth mindset tend to be more successful in various areas of life, including social interactions.

They are more likely to persevere in the face of challenges and are more resilient when they encounter setbacks.

So, I started viewing my shyness as something that could be changed rather than a fixed part of who I was. This shift in mindset didn’t happen overnight, but over time, it played a crucial role in helping me become more comfortable in social situations.

Adopting a growth mindset might not seem like a habit in the traditional sense, but it’s a mental habit that can influence your actions and attitudes in profound ways. And it’s definitely worth cultivating if you want to overcome shyness and self-consciousness.

4) Learning to self-soothe

Meeting new people can be nerve-wracking. The fear of being judged or rejected can trigger our body’s stress response, causing symptoms like sweating, a racing heart, or a shaky voice.

I realized that learning to calm myself down in these situations was crucial. So, I started practicing techniques to soothe my nervous system when I felt anxious.

One technique that worked particularly well for me was deep breathing. Just taking a few slow, deep breaths can help to reduce stress and anxiety by triggering your body’s relaxation response.

Another technique I used was positive self-talk. Instead of letting negative thoughts like “I’m going to mess this up” run through my mind, I’d replace them with more positive affirmations, like “I can handle this”.

These techniques didn’t eliminate my nervousness completely, but they did make it more manageable. And the more I practiced them, the better I got at calming myself down and navigating social situations with confidence.

5) Developing empathy

I’ve come to understand that everyone has their own story and struggles. We’re all human, and we all experience fear, joy, sadness, and a range of other emotions.

This realization helped me develop empathy, and it completely changed the way I interacted with others. Instead of viewing new people as potential judges or critics, I started seeing them as fellow humans who were just trying to navigate life in the best way they could.

This shift in perspective took a lot of pressure off of me. I realized that most people weren’t focused on judging me; they were more concerned with their own lives and challenges.

Developing empathy helped me feel more connected to others and less isolated in my own insecurities. It made me realize that we’re all in this together, and it made meeting new people feel less like a test and more like an opportunity to connect with another human being.

Do you also struggle with feeling judged or criticized when meeting new people? If so, developing empathy might be a powerful habit to adopt. It can help you see others in a new light and make your interactions less intimidating and more meaningful.

6) Taking small steps

I knew that overcoming my shyness wasn’t going to happen overnight. I had to take small steps and gradually put myself out there more and more.

At first, these steps were really small. I started by simply making a point of saying hello to my neighbors or making small talk with the barista at my local coffee shop.

With time, I began pushing myself to take on larger challenges, like attending social events alone or striking up a conversation with someone I didn’t know.

There were definitely times when it was uncomfortable, and I wanted to retreat back into my shell. But every time I pushed through that discomfort, I grew a little bit more.

This gradual approach made the process of overcoming my shyness seem more manageable. And every small victory gave me the confidence to take on the next challenge.

If you’re shyness or self-consciousness is holding you back, don’t underestimate the power of small steps. It’s not about making huge leaps; it’s about making consistent progress, no matter how small.

7) Accepting myself

The most transformative habit I developed was learning to accept myself exactly as I am. For years, I beat myself up over my shyness and self-consciousness, seeing them as flaws that needed to be fixed.

But over time, I realized that true confidence comes from self-acceptance. It’s about acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and realizing that they make you who you are.

Accepting myself didn’t mean resigning myself to never change. It simply meant recognizing that I was okay just as I was, even as I continued to grow and evolve.

When I started accepting myself, I became less preoccupied with how others perceived me and more focused on just being myself. This took a lot of the pressure off and made social interactions much more enjoyable.

Self-acceptance is a powerful habit that can help you feel more comfortable in your own skin and more confident when meeting new people. It’s not always an easy habit to cultivate, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Final thoughts: It’s a journey

Overcoming shyness and self-consciousness isn’t about becoming someone else. It’s about becoming the best version of yourself.

Each of us is unique, with our own strengths, weaknesses, experiences, and perspectives. And while it’s natural to want to fit in and be liked, it’s equally important to honor our individuality.

Remember that this isn’t a race. It’s okay to take your time and move at your own pace. Every step you take, no matter how small, is progress.

And remember that it’s okay to have bad days. We all have them. What matters is that you pick yourself up and keep going.

So embrace your journey, be kind to yourself, and keep moving forward. You might be surprised by how far you can go.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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