Good-Bye to Shy

Posted by on May 4, 2007 in Blog, Inspiration, Networking, Psychology, Review, Success | 9 comments

Good-bye to Shy is a book about shyness and how to overcome your shyness. It was written by Leil Lowndes and is the author of the bestselling book, How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You. Even though I don’t really consider myself shy anymore, this book made me realize that people are shy to some degree. Although this book is written for the extremely shy person, it can be used for all lesser magnitudes of shyness as well. There are some things in the book that I disagree with as methods but overall can tolerate it. The objectives given in this book as Shybusters, are like no other advice for shy people. I’m going to put as much information here that I can from the book. I recommend doing all the Shybusters in the order that you choose in a gradual, unhurried, and comfortable amount of time.

ADDENDUM (6/16/2007): I just want to let everyone know that they stories behind each Shybuster is missing from this review, and if you like this review, then buy the book!

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers. You can blame anyone, but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you want to change, you’re the one who has got to change. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?” – Katharine Hepburn

“I used to be very shy. I couldn’t look people in the face and became red. I was embarrassed and used to sweat in front of others. Due to low self-esteem and low self-image, I used to feel inferior to others. But then one day, I began to question things. I realized that nobody is better than me. Who told me I’m not good? I realized that the people that make me feel that way are not in that credible or successful position themselves. So why would I believe what these people say about me? They were not qualified to make such comments.” – Tony V., Sydney, Australia

“My father helped cure me of my shyness by telling me, when I was about fourteen, that actually everyone is normally so busy thinking about themselves and worried about what you are thinking about them that they are not focusing on you nearly as much as you think. I saw it immediately. It is so mind-blowingly obvious once you see it. – Pennant L., London, England

ShyBusters

  1. Don’t tell strangers – As a general rule, unless you’ve been advised otherwise by a responsible mental health professional, don’t tell people that you are shy. Save the revelation for people who are important to you, like relatives or close friends.
  2. Allude to your shyness with a laugh – Sometimes you may feel that you are too shy to handle a situation. If you run the risk of people thinking you’re shirking a duty or just being mean, then it’s best to half tell them. Toss it off with a smile and a speedy explanation that the reason you can’t say “yes” is because you’re shy. Make it short and sweet – no more than one sentence.
  3. Mention it with a “So what?” attitude – Find an appropriate time in a conversation and introduce the subject of shy people. Toss your shyness off casually, and it will slide off your listeners like a satin sheet. Having told them in a carefree manner could come in very handy later. When they ask you to do something or go somewhere, laughingly remind them, “C’mon, I told you I was shy.” It sounds so much better than, “I can’t do that. I’m too shy.”
  4. Laugh about the symptoms, not the shyness – If you know that some physical symptoms of your shyness will show, jokingly “warn” people of your incipient blush, mushy mitts, or sweaty flashes. No need to even mention that shyness is connected with it.
  5. Don’t say the “S” word in self-talk – We all have little voices inside of us. They can be nasty, but powerful. They can destroy your self-worth by calling you names. Slaughter them immediately! Never say “I am shy” to yourself. Instead, say “The shybusters are working, and I’m soon going to be confident.”
  6. Forbid family and friends to call you “Shy” – Every time someone says, “Don’t be shy,” or asks, “Why are you so shy?” they’re digging the hole deeper for you. Sometimes they think they’re helping when they add, “You don’t have anything to be shy about.” No way. They are not doing you any favors. It’s even worse when you overhear them telling someone else that you’re shy. Ban the “S” word in your household as strongly as you would @#%!.
  7. Make a “work-around” list – Politicians and salespeople plan ways to bring the subject around to their interests. The next time you find yourself apprehensive about an upcoming situation, make a list of your positive qualities. When you’ve finished your list, actually plan how you can use each to your benefit.
  8. Tell yourself “No one knows I’m shy” – And it’s true. unless you are shaking like a chicken on a caffeine buzz, no one will know you feel insecure. Repeat to yourself “If 85 percent of people who live together can’t tell if someone is shy, at least 99 percent of the people I meet can’t, either.”
  9. Reject imagined rejection – The next time you meet someone and you think that they don’t like you, realize that there is an overwhelming chance that you are dead wrong! It’s your own imagination working overtime. Like Sures (confident people) do instinctively, consciously look at new acquaintances for signs of acceptance – their smiles, the warmth in their eyes, and their accepting body language. “Look and ye shall find.”
  10. Be your own social scribe – Right after a social situation, write your immediate impressions. If you later remember anything negative about the encounter, go back and check your notes. If that embarrassing or disappointing moment isn’t in your notes, forget it. It didn’t happen.
  11. Don’t choose toxic friends – Don’t sabotage your self-esteem by trying to socialize with people who do not accept you openly. Instead, seek out people who respond warmly when you reach out to them. Don’t wait for friends to come to you. Forge friendships with some people you really like or who might be in need of a friend themselves.
  12. Steer clear of people who make fun of each other – Teasing is not a Shy’s game. At the beginning of your struggle against shyness, you are probably too sensitive to let the bawdy insults “roll off your back.” And most likely you don’t enjoy insulting others either. The solution? Avoid these jokers. If you’re in a group and the conversation suddenly turns to a mocking match, don’t storm or slink off sullenly. As long as it’s not ethnic or salacious, laugh along with the rest of them. then find an excuse to make a quick exit!
  13. Force yourself to observe others – It’s hard to go from nervous actor to confident filmmaker. But force yourself to consciously notice other people, what they’re wearing, how confident they look, how they’re reacting to situations and other people – not you. Give yourself full permission to be “judgmental.” just like watching a movie, observe them and form opinions. Forcing yourself to ask “What do I think of them?” chases “What do they think of me?” right out of your mind.
  14. You’re better than you think you are – Heed the studies. It’s an open-and-shut case. People like you a lot more than you think they do. You performed a lot better in past situations than you think you did. Your rejection is greatly imagined. Think of this the next time you face an intimidating situation. Repeat to yourself, “People like me more than I think they do.” “I perform better in situations than I think I do.” “And I only imagine rejection.” Recalling these three proven points boosts confidence as you face your next challenge.
  15. Go cold turkey on avoiding – The next time you spot an intimidating person and are tempted to pretend that you didn’t see him or her, do not look away. Do not cross the street. Do not pull your hat down over your head. You’re only making it worse for the next time. No matter how tough it is, put a big smile on your face and say “Hi.” You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
  16. Make a jitters list – Compile a list of people and situations – past, present, future, and general – that make you feel like you have a wrecking ball in your chest and dripping sponges in your hands. Make it very specific, including even the names of the people who intimidate you.
  17. Categorize your qualms – Take your list of situations that make you as shaky as a wet dog from Shybuster #16. Then rearrange the inventory from the activity you find the least challenging right on up to the ones that make you wake up in a cold sweat.
  18. Construct your staircase of doable steps – Break each terrifying situation from your list in Shybuster #17 into less scary small steps. Make sure each step is climbable. Even if you’re feeling pretty confident and cocky about one step when you get to it, don”t skip it. Just do it quickly before moving up. You build a more solid base when you follow your plan.
  19. Do the demented duck exercise – You think I’m kidding about this exercise? Absolutely not! Act like a demented duck on speed in the morning. Get loony. Get loud. Get unglued . . . from shyness. Explode your energy sky-high in the morning, then let it settle gradually. It works a lot better than trying to haul it up out of a hole.
  20. Detonate ten-second “blasts of animation” – Sure it’s tough. But how bad can being animated for ten seconds be? Light your internal sparkler in short bursts at appropriate moments, and you will see the spark spread like wildfire. As you see people warming up, you will instinctively light it again and again. You can become as much of a fireball of energy as you wish.
  21. Take the “Master’s position” – Whenever you catch yourself in that “Beat me again, Master” body language, snap out of it. Throw your shoulders back. Stand in the middle of the room. Sit in the highest seat. Take the “power position” at a table. walk through the middle of a door. Don’t fidget. Make large, fluid movements – the signs of confidence go on and on. Train your body to do these moves until they become second nature.
    • When you are at a gathering, do not stand close to the wall or by the snacks. Walk directly to the dead center of the room. That’s the place where all the important people gravitate.
    • When you are going through a large door or open double doors, don’t walk on one side. March straight through the middle. It signifies confidence.
    • At a restaurant, unless there is an established hierarchy, go for the seat at the end of the table facing the door. That is the power position.
    • Sit in the highest chair in a meeting or on the arm of the couch – but not higher than the boss!
    • make larger, fluid movements. Confident people’s bodies occupy more space. Shys take as little space as possible, as if to say, “Excuse me for taking up this much of the earth.”
    • Keep your hands away from your face. Never fidget.
    • When you agree with someone, nod your head up from neutral (jaw parallel to the floor), not down.
    • When passing someone, be the last to break eye contact.
    • For men: Don’t strut like a bantam rooster. But to look like a leader, swing your arms more significantly when you walk. When you are seated, put one arm up on the back of a chair.
    • For women: To seem self-assured, square your body toward the person you’re talking to and stand a tad closer. Naturally, give a big smile, but let it come ever-so-slightly slower. That way it looks sincere, not nervous.
    • And, of course, need I ever mention posture?
  22. Peer into infants’ eyes – If you have a major problem making eye contact with people (and what Shy doesn’t?), start taking baby steps. Gaze into an infant’s eyes. Babies’ tiny peepers will start you on your way. Of course, “staring down a baby” isn’t quite like staring down a charging bull. However, strong eye contact withe the under-two set familiarizes you with the crucial “eyeball-to-eyeball” game. Incidentally, don’t stare too long at little kids, or their mothers will call 911.
  23. Practice on geriatric eyes – After you’ve gained confidence with younger eyes, start at the other end of the spectrum. Make eye contact with the over-seventy set. Then work your way down to the over sixties, and so on, until you can look comfortably into the eyes of people your age.
  24. Go for people who want your eyeballs – Walk through a department store and make brief eye contact with every salesperson. They are eager for your smile and glance. Women, when you feel comfortable, stroll through the men’s department and make eye contact with the salesmen there. Men, when you can make eye contact with the cosmetics clerks, you’ll know you’ve graduated from beginners’ eye contact.
  25. Glue your eyeballs to a buddy’s – Assure a close friend or relative that you haven’t gone bonkers. Then ask for his or her help with the staring exercise. Look steadily into each others’ eyes for longer and longer periods of time. When you’ve worked your way up to a minute, have a conversation with your friends while maintaining exaggerated eye contact. I promise that the next time you are speaking with a stranger, it won’t feel like you are looking a charging bull in the eyes.
  26. Say “I like you” silently during eye contact – While keeping eye contact with someone, silently say to yourself, “I like you.” Now you’re right on target with timing for your eye contact and smile. Soon it will become second nature, and you can chunk this crutch.
  27. Make faces at yourself in the mirror – get to know your smile, from the inside, from the outside, from the right and left. Feel the difference between grinning and grimacing. Know when you are leering like a lecher or smirking like a stalker. Only when you know how each feels can you polish yours to a confident, friendly, and welcoming smile. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when you see your eyes getting into the act.
  28. Smile at their “inner selves” – Lest this sound too touchy-feely, let me explain. Search for something special, funny, or nice about everyone who comes into your line of sight. Concentrate on that and a smile comes up from your gut, naturally. Find any excuse to smile! Does the lady in the bank line have a cute little kid? Smile at her. Did the driver of the car next to yours sneeze? smile at him. Did someone smile at you? Make sure you smile back! Like any exercise the more you do it, the easier – and better – it gets.
  29. Smile at them for their sake, not yours – Put your shyness in the background. Avoiding eye contact, looking away, not smiling, not greeting someone – these are all signs of snobbishness. It’s a fact. People don’t immediately recognize shyness, so what do you expect them to think? Smile and be friendly so that they don’t feel hurt and think that you are something worse than shy!
  30. Give compliments so they don’t mistake your shyness – At the beginning of your Stamp Out Shyness campaign, long, large, sincere smiles may be difficult for you. You can reinforce your smile, however, by giving others a compliment. It assures them that your shyness is not something worse – a snobbish rejection of them!
  31. Don’t skip, shirk, or accept defeat – If you find a challenge exceptionally difficult, do not skip it or chuck it. It can be habit forming and you’ll be saying “Hello” to Shy again. To gain confidence, you must do each shybuster pretty much in the order you assigned yourself. You designed your own program. Vow to stay with it! If you skip one step, go back and do it twice the next day.
  32. Look for “anonymous” opportunities – If a masked ball or Halloween party comes up, don a costume that completely disguises you. Then approach other guests. Introduce yourself as the character of your costume: “Hello, I’m Batman.” “Hi, I’m the fairy godmother!” “How do you do. I’m Godzilla.” If you prefer a more “I’m a live person under this ridiculous costume” approach, use a human-sounding fake name. Anonymity is a priceless and proven way to practice social skills and confident moves.
  33. Take a part-time job – Take an evening or weekend job working with people. Make it a situation where you are being judged not as “you” but as the role you are playing: department store salesperson, door-to-door survey taker, taxi driver. The “anything-but-totally-me” experience is a great way to get people practice in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.
  34. Take a trip to anonymity-ville – Head straight for a town where nobody knows you. It’s even better than wearing a mask because there is absolutely no risk of anyone recognizing you. Now practice all of the situations that usually put you in crisis mode. Talk to salespeople. Ask passersby for directions. Grill the waiter about the dinner special. When you return home, you’ll be that much more comfortable talking to people in familiar territory.
  35. Chuck the dull duds – Imagine the type of person you’d like to be. Flamboyant? Happy-go-lucky? Professional? Punk? Glamorous? High class? God bless our freedom. Today you can be anybody you want to be. Noodle on your desired image. Now, put together the outfit to match.
  36. Take a second look at your job – Answer the six questions listed above. Then, depending on the results, put on your thinking helmet to tackle some tough decisions. You may decide that you need a job change. Even if it’s not the right time for that, your insights on your professional life can help you make healthier choices even within your current job. Your answers could plant seeds that grow relevant in the future. And, in the long run, this could turn out to be one of the most life-changing Shybusters of all.
  37. Learn the “left-field” questions – Run an Internet search with words like job or interview questions and variations on that theme. You’ll be deluged with solid advice. Prepare yourself, or course, for the usual warm-up queries: “Where did you work?” “How long?” “Why did you quit?” But be on the lookout for some of those questions that seem to come out of “left field.” They’re all the same: “Your best quality?” “Your worst?” “Why should we hire you?” Yada yada yada. Then practice your answers in the privacy of your own home. Remember, “Preparation is the prescription for panic.”
  38. Interview with companies you don’t want – To assure that you get the job you deserve, interview with half a dozen companies that they couldn’t pay you enough to work for. When you feel like you know their game, go for the gold – interview for the job you really want.
  39. Consider a “people profession” – In considering any job, visualize how much contact with the public you will have. The more contact, the more effective a shyness shedder it will be. You’ll find off-the-job conversing a lot easier if you have to do lots of it on the job. Then, of course, once you’ve shed all shyness, go for an interesting and enjoyable job that challenges you in other ways. Make sure it utilizes your knowledge and talents.
  40. The 10-20-30 party rule – Don’t just grit your teeth and say, “OK, OK, I’ll go to the party.” It’s daunting and it’s too tempting to search for some shabby excuse not to go. Break the challenge into small chunks. Promise yourself that you will only stay ten minutes at the first party. Go for twenty minutes at the next one. Then go for thirty, and so on. G.E.T. (Graduated Exposure Therapy – gradually exposing yourself to situations) is the prescription for party panic, too.
  41. Arrive early while it’s still a small party – You don’t like big parties? Most Shys don’t at first. And they wouldn’t dream of arriving early because they prefer to disappear in the crowd. Yet crowds are the big threat! Doesn’t make sense. Solution: arrive early when there are just a few people there. It’s the perfect way to “make a big party small.” You’ll meet everyone there instead of having to approach people later. And you’ll know people who can introduce you to others.
  42. Set yourself specific party goals – When you go to a party, set yourself some goals, such as “look everyone in the eyes,” “have a pleasant, relaxed expression on my face,” “smile broadly at a few people – the host, an acquaintance, an attractive other.” Set goals commensurate with the time you’re staying, as per Shybuster #40. You must introduce yourself to one person in the ten-minuter, two in the thirty-minuter . . . and so on. Ten minutes at the party practicing your social skills is far more effective than staying an hour and letting yourself get tense.
  43. Find a sociable same-sex friend – It may not be conscious copy-catting, but, like chameleons are reputed to do, we do take on the colorations of those we hang with. It may be difficult, but it is definitely worth the time to find an extroverted same-sex friend. Then tell him or her that you welcome a little shove in new situations. But, when you are at a party, do NOT hang with them all evening. Make it a point to meet new people.
  44. Have a buddy monitor your body language – Could your smile be mistaken as a smirk? Is your eye contact quicker that a lizard’s tongue? And what about your body language? Does it look like a “Private Property” or “Keep Out” sign? Ask a chum to check you out periodically to keep you looking sociable and confident. Give him or her a checklist: folded arms, unfriendly expression, bad posture, avoiding looking at people, not smiling, and so on – whatever your particular nervous habits or safety behaviors might be. You might even offer a little incentive, monetary or otherwise, to make sure your friend stays on your case.
  45. Drink “one too few” – Everyone’s body has a different “Oops, one too many” level. If it’s three beers, don’t drink more than two. If it’s two glasses of wine, don’t go above one. If your “one too many” level is one, have a Coke or sparkling water. It’s a sign of confidence. People respect you that you don’t need a liquid “crutch.”
  46. Speak first – In conversation, being a “me firstie” is a good thing for a Shy. When encountering an acquaintance anywhere, be the first to say, “Hi. How are you?,” “Good to see you,” “How have you been?,” or the like. When you express it with enthusiasm, you exude friendliness and confidence. Remember, people form an opinion of you in the first ten seconds. And again each time you meet. Why waste the first five in uncontrollable silence waiting for them to greet you?
  47. Use the comment-question technique – When someone asks, “How are you?” don’t just respond with the traditional, “I’m fine. And you?” That aborts the conversation before it ever takes off. Extend it by adding a sentence about your day. Then ask a related question and you immediately earn a place on his or her “confident and friendly colleagues” list. (Note: if someone just gives you a “yes” or “no” answer to your question, continue with some “Keep Talking” questions, which we will explore in Shybuster #51.)
  48. Sound dazzled over the dullest things – No matter how boring you think your statement is, present it in a this-is-the-greatest-thing-since-Velcro tone. And guess what? It will sound interesting to your listener. Conversely, no matter how boring your acquaintance’s words are, respond like that’s the most enthralling revelation you’ve heard all week. Now you will sound interesting to your listener.
  49. Rehearse your proud minirésumé – Don’t answer the inevitable “What do you do?” with just the name of your job. Plan a proud response and rehearse your upbeat minimonologue in the mirror. Then deliver it enthusiastically, as though it thrills you that someone asked you this novel question.
  50. Practice storytelling on your goldfish – It doesn’t have to be what you had for breakfast, of course. It can be anything. Talk to your goldfish (or dog, cat, marsupial, or mirror) for five or six minutes in a voice with lots of energy and variety – and very few pauses. In conversations with humans, of course, you must have pauses so they can interject their thoughts. However, since your goldfish probably won’t have anything interesting to interject, keep on talkin’.
  51. Ask “keep talking” questions – Leave “uh huh” and “OK” to the robot crowd. Throw out some “Who?” “What?” “When?” “Where?” “Why?” and “How?” questions. Your conversational companion will be thrilled that you want to hear more – and you won’t feel pressured to come up with convivial and clever conversation.
  52. Be banal but not brief – Don’t get bogged down worrying about the content of your answers to commonplace questions. Plan answers ahead of time to questions you know you’ll be asked, then be prepared to answer with a paragraph, not a word. Are people really fascinated by the intricate workings of your mind and how you came to the momentous decision to visit Disney World? Probably not. But, as you remember, it’s the music that counts, not the lyrics. A long answer is a friendly tune.
  53. Use their moniker – in moderation – Say someone’s name in greeting and parting. It makes him or her feel as warm and fuzzy as a furball. But beware – if you use it too much, it comes across as a nervous habit and makes that someone feel as warm and fuzzy as a Brilo pad.
  54. Contemplate before the conversation – It’s not enough to know “They’re rioting in Africa, they’re starving in Spain, there are hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain.” Make a complete list of possible conversational subjects. You needn’t ponder erudite answers or plan polemic worthy of the Harvard debating team. However, develop a clear conviction about each subject on your list. Formulate and update it every day so that you can dive into the discussion like a Sure, without awaiting a formal invitation.
  55. Introduce topics (ones you’re expert on, of course!) – Don’t wait for others to bring a subject up. Take the lead in conversation. Decide on some topics you have a strong opinion on and develop those opinions. Then plan devious little ways to bring those subjects up in the conversation – and add your opinions. It’s obviously a lot easier to converse about something you’re an expert on!
  56. Bat the ball back to your listener – After using all of the Shybusters to become an excellent conversationalist, don’t forget one of the most important elements. Be sure to turn the conversation around and ask your listener how he or she feels about a particular topic. Listen to his or her opinion. Then follow up with some thoughts on what he or she said. Then repeat this Shybuster over again. That’s what comfortable and confident communicating is all about!
  57. Just (1) look, (2) nod, (3) Smile – Don’t fret if you’re not prepared to speak up in a group. Just give the other conversationalists the never-fail formula. Look them in the eyes, smile, and nod when appropriate. I promise that you will be a very welcome addition to the group because everyone loves a good listener. They’ll see you as Mr. or Ms. Congeniality. And you don’t need to say a word until you’re ready.
  58. Find your passion and purpose – Do some deep thinking on what causes you care about the most. Something you really care about. Then search the Internet and newspapers for groups or meetings on the subject. If your town has an alternative or underground paper, those are usually rich sources of a wide variety of organizations and meetings. But don’t join just anything. Find something you are fervent about and go for it. Let your passion drive your shyness out.
  59. Design your own “Dare-a-Day” program – Assign yourself one challenge weekly from your Shybuster #16 list of intimidating situations. Then split it into daily assignments and do each one in order. If you’re not satisfied with your performanc, slot your daily dare in a second time. And a third and a fourth – until you’ve licked it. Shys, do not skip this one. It is crucial to your goal of being shy-free.
  60. Eat your shyness at lunch – Give yourself a tiny lunchtime assignment each day. And, as always, go from the simplest to the scariest tasks. To make sure you’ll follow through, punish yourself if you don’t attempt it. Let’s say that your challenge du jour was to invite someone to join you. Make a rule. You don’t do it, you don’t eat. You’ll be amazed at what an effective motivation hunger is.
  61. Be a shopaholic – who doesn’t buy – Set aside a few evenings and weekends to go shopping. Many small crawlers go just for the pleasure of it and never buy a thing – so don’t feel obligated to purchase anything. Chat with salespeople. Ask for recommendations. Then, when you feel more comfortable, buy something – then return it the next day. Now you’re really taking shyness by the horns. Remember, a salesclerk’s frown never killed anyone.
  62. Attention-getter on a leash – Men, walking a manly mutt on a chain can do wonders to your masculinity. Women, a chic canine on a quality leash makes you look all the lovelier to passersby. Prepare yourself with some engrossing small talk about your pooch. Then leave it to the admiring strangers to approach you for small talk.
  63. Make a mental movie of yourself handling goof-ups with grace – Think of all of the horrendously humiliating situations that could possibly happen to you in a social situation. Then, with a cool head, look at each scene and ask yourself what somebody should do in that situation. Nine times out of ten, you’ll be right on target. Now visualize yourself responding to each situation exactly as you’ve planned. The ghost of Amy Vanderbilt will give you a standing ovation. And you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.
  64. Read what manners mavens say – Read a good etiquette book. It’s great preparation for facing dreadful dilemmas like “what do I do when a tabletop tsunami from my coffee cup heads her way?” With the confidence of knowing what the experts suggest, your anxiety evaporates. You won’t worry that the Etiquette Police will come to arrest you – or worse, that people will laugh at you.
  65. Act your way to confidence – Being somebody else on stage does wonders for playing the most important role of your life – your most confident self. Take an acting class. After using larger movements, a louder voice, and good eye contact on stage, you’ll be just as dynamic at the last night closing party – and in many more social situations to come.
  66. Listen to positive voices in your car – Thousands of audio programs are sitting on library or store shelves. Or hiding on the Internet, waiting to be downloaded into your ears while driving, jogging, or just strolling around town. These programs push punishing self-thoughts out and pump interesting ideas in. Start a healthy mental diet to replace poisonous thinking. Don’t forget the plethora of audio fiction, which can fill your mind with engrossing stories to replace the horror stories from your imagined screw-ups.
  67. Give yourself an emotional checkup – As you begin your search for love, ask yourself the serious questions listed below. “Yes” answers can be symptoms of emotional neediness. Ponder these questions – and your answers – carefully, because Shys are more prone to love problems.
    • Does my intense need for love stem from lack of self-esteem?
    • Am I tempted to fall in love with the first person who says “I love you”?
    • Do I need a partner to feel “complete”?
    • Would I fall so deeply in love that it could suffocate my partner?
    • Could my relationship be shaky becasue I might be too shy to socialize or do things with my partner?
    • Would I be haunted by fears and fantasies of my partner’s safety or infidelity?
  68. Men, smile twice at attractive women – Smile at a woman you are attracted to – twice! Understand that she has been trained since she was sitting on daddy’s lap to demurely look away when a man smiles at her. Unless the woman is totally turned off, she not only welcomes but also expects a second smile.
  69. Women, smile first at attractive men – Smile at every attractive man you see. It gets progressively easier. That way, when you see the man who makes your heart feel like a jackhammer at full throttle, you won’t freeze. You’ll be able to lure him over with your “come-hither” smile.
  70. Employ the “really, really, really, really” flirtatious eyes technique – To help yourself into extended eye contact when spotting a potential special other, silently say, “I really like you,” then “I really, really like you” – and so on until you reach six “reallys.” Soon you’ll be able to give sensuous eye contact to the man or woman who used to make your throat feel like sandpaper and your hands drip like faucets.
  71. Practice “practice dating” – Start dating some people you are not intimidated by or even personally attracted to. Get comfortable with making the approach, asking or hinting for the date, wearing the clothing, conversing, flirting, dancing, ordering the dinner, even figuring out which fork to use. If you keep practicing dating, by the time you go out with Mr. or Ms. Wonderful, all that previously scary stuff will be second nature.
  72. Computer dating is a Sure’s game – Proceed at your own risk with online dating. The first part of the trip is fun when you are still e-mailing your potential partner;. But the road can be a dangerous turn when you meet. Your ego crashes if you are rejected. When you become a Sure, the cheap shots will feel like a water gun on a duck’s back and roll right off. For now, however, weigh the advantages and dangers carefully before you click “send.” There will be plenty of time to enjoy these new twists on the old dating game when you’ve gotten your diploma from Good-Bye to Shy‘s Stamping Out Shyness School.
  73. Meet others who share your passion – Type the name of your hobby into a search engine. Narrow the millions of hits by using the words club, league, organization, or association and further shave your choices by adding the name of your area. Chances are that you’ll come up with a nearby group of people who are passionate about the same thing. Find out what meeting or events the group has – and go! You never know who you might meet who shares your interests. to this day, I fantasize Professor Wagner and Sandra having a romantic tête-à-tête discussing spores – the sex life of fungi. (This is a story about a shy professor meeting his wife at a mushroom lovers meeting – buy the book if you want more info.)
  74. Men, let your eyes travel around her face – Men, during the moments when you must break eye contact with your chosen woman, don’t let your eyes wander too far from her neighborhood. Keep them close to her face. First let them drift to her cheeks, then down to her lips, and then glide back to her eyes. When you are feeling more confident, you can voyage to her neck and shoulders – but not lower! (Well, until you are lovers.)
  75. Women, let your eyes wander a little farther – Women, you have an invitation to let your eyes travel a little farther south on his body. During eye contact breaks, take a fleeting visit to his chest. Then smilingly return your eyes to his. He will thoroughly enjoy your little voyage.
  76. Women, dress a little daring – One of the most difficult challenges for a shy woman is to draw attention to herself. But look at it this way. If you work out, you wear sweatpants. If you play tennis, you wear a tennis skirt. If you ride horses, you wear jodhpurs. And, if you’re looking for love, you wear something ever so slightly suggestive. Never compromise your principles, or course, but do dress a little more sensuously at appropriate times.
  77. Men, go for quality and coordination – Go for quality, not quantity in clothing. Because women usually have a better instinct for clothing, recruit your sister to go shopping with you – or even your mom. Buy a few top-quality shirts, slacks, and shoes. If your lifestyle requires that you wear a suit, break the bank for just one good one that will last forever. Don’t forget to coordinate your colors – no black pants with brown belts or shoes. And get long socks, not the ones that (horror of horrors) show a little hairy leg.
  78. Don’t get caught in the “sex love trap” – Shys, you are more sensitive than most people. And, therefore, more vulnerable and more easily hurt. Sex is a big step, and the last thing you need right now is heartbreak. Look before you leap into bed with someone.
  79. Give your infant the “crib test”
    Parents: To determine whether you new baby is prone to shyness, observe his or her crib behavior. If your baby reacts strongly to new stimuli, he may become shy. (However, you can do the Shybusters in this section to circumvent it.) Does your baby take it all in stride? Then she was probably not born shy.
    Shys: To help determine whether you were a sensitive baby with a tendency towards shyness, ask your parents or guardians how you reacted to new stimuli when you were a little crib crawler.
  80. Shake your family tree for shyness
    Parents: Are you or have you ever been shy? If so, perhaps there is a genetic link to your child’s shyness. What about other relatives? Were your parents shy? (Some qualities skip a generation and then reappear.) If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, take extra care to curb your child’s shyness.
    Shys: Dig through your genealogy with a fine-tooth hacksaw. Are there any suspects? If so, knowing it gives you some perspective that will help you fight your shyness.
  81. Beware “Mommy see, Mommy do”
    Parents: Remember that you are a role model for your kids. If you are shy, make an extra effort to whoop it up a bit in front of your progeny. They will enjoy seeing you have fun and will follow your lead. Reach out to other parents to arrange outings and playdates. Your kids will thank you.
    Shys: Remind yourself that, as a kid, you were simply acting as you thought you should. Recognizing that you were simply copying family members can give you the confidence you need to break the pattern. Situational Shys, try to recall all of the situations when your parents showed timed behavior. Then visualize yourself handling that same situation with more courage and confidence.
  82. Replay the early show
    Parents: If you suspect that your child is being bullied, you need to take steps to assure your child’s confidence isn’t damaged. You must become (1) a detective (analyze the situation); (2) a psychologist (ask questions and talk with your child about it); (3) an advisor (suggest ways to respond); and (4) a theatrical director (do some role-playing). If nothing changes, you must become (5) a teacher’s confidante (talk with the teacher). Sometimes it’s appropriate to talk with the bully’s parents too, and let them know what their child is up to.
    Shys: Thoughtless youngsters can really mess up a sensitive little kid’s head. If you’re one of the 58 percent of Shys who can remember one specific childhood experience, run it through your mind. Inevitably, you will come to the conclusion that it was the other kid’s cruelty, not your conduct, that was at fault. Contemplate it until you are convinced. Then revisualize the situation and see yourself handling the situation with the knowledge you have today.
  83. Don’t baby your baby
    Parents: Moms and Dads, of course you love your kids – but do not do everything for them. Let them know taht they can depend on you. Then progressively encourage them to do more and more on their own. If your children need encouragement and practice, try doing some role-playing to help them work through various situations.
    Shys: You know how painful shyness is and you now have more information than your parents did on how to prevent it. So, if you have, or plan to have, kids of your own, don’t baby your babies.
  84. Travel to inner space – Be a radio television host and interview yourself for a full five minutes each day. Thoroughly answer just one of the self-knowledge questions in Appendix B (below). You will be thrilled how quickly you cultivate a significant sense of who you are and how you feel. As you listen to your own answers, you’ll also realize that you are a pretty admirable person. This knowledge will add immeasurably to your confidence.
  85. Take the “Confidence Certification” exam – When you’ve finished all the Shybusters, celebrate by showing off. Let your imagination go wild. Do something safe but silly to show you’ve gone from Shy to Screwy – like most happy “Super Sures” are. Then plan an office birthday celebration for a colleague. Or invite the boys to your place for a Super Bowl bash. Nobody will know, as you lift your glass, that you’re really toasting your own Success over Shyness. It’s proof you graduated from a Party Panicker to Party Planner, from Shy to Confident.

Appendix B
100 Self-Knowledge Questions
The following questions will help you learn to know yourself better.

  1. What is an ideal relationship to me?
  2. What do I think about most when I’m just standing in a queue?
  3. What are my qualities I’m most proud of? Least proud of?
  4. If I won the lottery, what would I do with the money?
  5. What was the last argument I had? Why? What good points did the other person have?
  6. What do I like about children in general and what don’t I like about them?
  7. Physically, what do I feel are my best features? My worst?
  8. What cause or charity is most important to me?
  9. What is “honor” to me? Am I honorable?
  10. Who is the God of my understanding?
  11. What is my definition of “success” for me? Am I successful?
  12. What influence did my parents have on me? Siblings? Other relatives?
  13. If I had only a few months to live, how would I spend them?
  14. What does art mean to the world? To me?
  15. Do I think most people lie a little? A lot?
  16. Who is my best friend? Why?
  17. Am I a morning, afternoon, or night person? How do I feel in each part pf the day?
  18. If I could live in a any era, which would it be? Why?
  19. What does loyalty mean to me? Am I loyal person?
  20. How do I believe the universe was created?
  21. What do I think is our country’s influence around the world? Is that influence good?
  22. What do I see my life being like when I am very old?
  23. How do I feel about industrial air pollution versus progress?
  24. What do I most like about my job? Least like?
  25. If I could afford to collect anything, what would I collect?
  26. What do I think happens after death?
  27. What is my favorite film? Television show? Why?
  28. If I could live in any city in the world except mine, which would it be?
  29. How do I feel about what’s happening in the environment now?
  30. What do I think is the cause of most relationships failing?
  31. Are things in life “predestined”? Do we have completely free will?
  32. What really gets me angry? Why?
  33. What do I think the future of the computer is? The web?
  34. What makes a leader? Am I a leader?
  35. What are my favorite books? Who are my favorite authors? Why?
  36. Do I prefer living in the city or the country? Why?
  37. What public figure, past or present, do I admire most?
  38. Whom do I admire most in my personal life?
  39. How do I define “spirituality”? Am I a spiritual person?
  40. What are my top-10 favorite websites? Why?
  41. How do I feel about animal testing if it is used to create a product to help humans?
  42. Did I have a happy childhood?
  43. What do I think the human brain is capable of?
  44. If i won a ticket to travel anywhere in the world, where would I go? Why?
  45. If I could be famous, what would I want to be famous for?
  46. What’s really important to me? Family? Job? Community? Other?
  47. What are my favorite foods? Least favorite? Am I a good cook?
  48. What is my favorite song? Singer? Band? Why?
  49. What’s the best thing about being the age I am? The worst?
  50. How are kids growing up with the Internet going to be different from previous generations?
  51. What is my opinion of my hometown’s most popular newspaper?
  52. What three things would I like to change about me?
  53. What is my worst fear?
  54. Should couples live together before marriage? Why?
  55. Can I tell if somebody is lying? How?
  56. Do I procrastinate too much? If so, on what and why?
  57. How do I feel about meditation?
  58. Do children need both a mother and a father to grow up healthy?
  59. If I could change just one thing in my life, what would it be?
  60. What are my dreams like? Do they mean anything?
  61. What relevance do the ancient philosophers have for today’s way of life?
  62. How do I feel about school reunions?
  63. Do I have any limiting patterns? If so, what could I do to change them?
  64. What role does music play in my life?
  65. How do I feel about television violence? Sex?
  66. Am I a “dog person” or a “cat person,” or do I prefer any other animal as pets?
  67. How do I feel about the “institution of marriage” in general?
  68. How do I feel about marriage for me? Will it/has it been good?
  69. Am I superstitious? If so, about what – and why?
  70. What was my first job, and what did it mean to me?
  71. Do I have any phobias? Claustrophobia? Vertigo? Others?
  72. Do I think we should limit world population in some way?
  73. Do I believe in unconditional love?
  74. If I had to live in confinement with just one thing, what would it be? Why?
  75. Do I think people are basically good or bad? Why?
  76. Should infomercials be banned? Why?
  77. What is my favorite sport to play? To watch? What do I like about it?
  78. How much do I believe of what I hear on TV newscasts? Read in newspapers?
  79. Should we have legislation limiting buying foreign products versus domestic?
  80. Are political elections fair? Why?
  81. Do I believe any of the popular diets work?
  82. Which world leader do I feel has had the most positive effect on humanity?
  83. If I could speak another language, what would it be? Why?
  84. How do I feel about eating meat versus vegetarianism?
  85. How do I feel about assisted suicide?
  86. Should people know their family tree? Why?
  87. What is my favorite television show? Why?
  88. What is my favorite subject to talk about?
  89. Were/are my parents happy?
  90. Do I believe in reincarnation? Why?
  91. What is my stand on abortion and right to life?
  92. How do I feel about “finding love online”?
  93. How do I feel about our educational system? Why?
  94. How do I truly feel about each of my family members at this time?
  95. Am I happy? Why?
  96. Do I have a satisfying sex life? Why?
  97. At what age should someone retire? How about me?
  98. Do I prefer traveling by train, plane, bus, or car? Why?
  99. Who do/did I love most (father, mother, siblings, lover, best friend, other)? Why?
  100. How do I feel about my life right now?

Now write more questions, then more, so you can answer one every day of your life.

9 Responses to “Good-Bye to Shy”

  1. this post covers it all. if someone wants to decrease their shyness this will include all the info and help they need.

  2. Excellent post on ways to overcome shyness!

  3. Thank you for your kind words about my book. You did a beautiful (and exhaustive!) job of reviewing it. I’m looking forward to reading your posts on other subjects.
    Writing is often a lonely profession. You send out the ideas and never know if they will benefit someone or not. I’m so pleased you found the techniques helpful for Shys, and that you took the time to post them. I pray the techniques alleviate some of the pain for Shys because, as you know, I too suffered the agony of shyness. Many thanks.

  4. Diena Potter says:

    “Good-bye to Shy” is absolutely the best self-help book I’ve ever read on shyness. I am (or WAS) horribly shy. But I’ve been doing the author’s “shybusters” for several months now. i feel so much more confident in all situations. I have 6 ShyBusters to go and, when I’m finished, I know Shyness will be a thing of the past. Thank God!

  5. I need a pdf copy of the book “Good bye to shy”. Can anyone plz help me.

    email me at ausmanpk2001 at yahoo dot com

  6. I need a pdf copy of the book ‘goodbye to shy’, too.
    Plz send me @ jlwhappy [ at ] hotmail [ dot ] com.
    Many thanks.

  7. I don’t think I’m shy. Like I was when I was yunger. I say what I think and don’t care what other people think.

  8. Please e-mail pdf copy of your book

  9. Thanks for sharing this. Really loved all the points.

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