OMG Digital Magazine OMG Issue 333 29nd November 2018 - Page 11
OMG Digital Magazine | 333 | Thursday 29 November 2018 • PAGE 11
Shyness is a reflection of awkwardness or apprehension
that some people feel when approaching or being
approached by other people. Shyness is a response
to fear, and research suggests that although it reflects
the neurobiology of the nervous system, it is also strongly
influenced by parenting practices and life experiences.
Unlike introverts, who feel energized by time alone, shy
people often desperately want to connect with others,
but don’t know how or can not tolerate the anxiety that
comes with human interaction.
The shy often experience low self-esteem, fear of
rejection, or acute self-consciousness—which can prevent
them from developing new relationships if they are
perpetually turning inward to monitor their own behavior
and perceived shortcomings.Approximately 40 to 50
percent of American adults consider themselves shy. But
the trait varies greatly iin populations around the globe.
The cultural values that children absorb from their parents
and the larger society influence their social tendencies.
For example, in Japanese culture, a parent may receive
credit for a child’s success, but a child bears responsibility
in the case of failure—circumstances that fosters modesty
in children and and, often, a subdued approach to social
In Israeli culture, a child receives praise when they succeed
and even when they don’t, as parents often attribute
the failure to an outside cause. These cultural forces
may influence the social risks and choices a child makes
What You Can Do About Shyness
Shy people can successfully address social challenges
without altering their sense of identity or trying to be
someone they’re not. Researchers find that it is often best
for people to acknowledge their shyness and try to release
themselves from feeling self-conscious.
A number of concrete strategies can help. Instead of
avoiding social events, the shy can schedule them in
advance and practice social skills, which will lead to
improvement. Another strategy is to reframe one’s
mindset to expect a positive response rather than to
assume a negative reaction is inevitable. Planning a few
talking points ahead of time, and then observing the
discussion to get one’s bearings before contributing is
social advice everyone benefits from.
Another skill is to acknowledge the possibility that an
interaction might go poorly but recognize that the reasons
may be outside of one’s control. A conversation partner
could be in a bad mood, the topic could be private, or the
two peole could simply be incompatible. Approaching
social experiences in a strong emotional stateis also
a wisemove; it allows people to devote their energy to
being fully engaged in the conversation.