I am both shy and introverted, which is not the best combination in a world where communication is key. What does being introverted mean? Well, if you’re introverted that doesn’t mean you’re shy. If you’re shy it means you become nervous in front of others while being introverted means you prefer the company of solitude rather than people. I’m the type to do work in my dorm room rather than a public space. I like the quietness a lot more rather than being in a crowded dining hall or a convention. If you have ever been to a convention or a college dining hall during lunch time then you understand that there is no escape.
We all know that some of us are not good with people at times. People can be difficult to handle so we shy away and hide in our rooms. However, sometimes we have to face the things that scare us the most. If you are shy or introverted like me here are a few skills to work on.
Answer questions in class even if you’re scared or anxious about speaking up or answering incorrectly. Don’t listen to that little voice that says the others will judge you because half the time the other students aren’t even paying attention in class. It’s alright to be wrong and if you don’t know the answer then ask a question. You will never learn anything unless you question everything around you.
Also, take advantage of internship opportunities. They can help develop your professional and communication skills. I had the opportunity to internship with a college magazine that helped me develop my editing, proofreading, and writing abilities. My interpersonal skills and confidence blossomed while working as well. I learned how to interview people correctly, talk to people on the phone, and write professional emails.
It’s alright to be shy and quiet, but we sometimes need to face the things that frighten us the most whether it is speaking up in class or communicating with other people. Experiment and experience. See what makes you feel less confident and try to work on it. Take the initiative. Say hello to people on campus or smile at them. Even if you don’t feel like talking to someone ask them about their day. You never get better unless you try. And hey, maybe you could make a friend or two. Remember you are not alone. There are others out there that are shy and introverted just like you.
Making eye contact with people you are talking to is also something to work on. Sometimes you feel like you’re staring into someone’s soul, which in itself can be challenging, but we have to bypass all the awkwardness in order to succeed. Eye contact can be difficult at times, but people like to believe that you’re paying attention to them when really, you’re not. If your eyes like to look behind the person rather than at the actual person, it makes it seem like you’re uninterested when really you are. Stare them in the eyes until they look away first. Looking people in the eye makes you seem confident with yourself even if you don’t feel self-assured.
Overall, just work on your confidence over time. Step out of your comfort zone every so often until you’re comfortable with others because it gets easier after a while and soon it will become second nature to you.