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here he is. Oh, no. He's coming over here. He's going to sit down at my table. Oh, no! He's going to say hi. I'm going to have to talk to him. OH, NO!
These were the thoughts running through Ellen's head as she watched the guy from her English class take a seat across from her at lunch. Her tongue glued itself to her teeth, and she couldn't think of anything to say. She smiled nervously and crumbled her bread onto her plate. She was shy.
"I am 15 years old," a letter read, "and I have this problem of being so shy and self-conscious about myself that I can't talk to people because I'm afraid I'll say something dumb or they won't like me... they just think I'm unfriendly and I don't like that." This person is also shy. Shyness can be a real handicap that keeps you from doing things you want to do. Shyness can give others a mistaken impression of your personality.
Shyness can also keep you from speaking up when you've been taken advantage of. If you're shy, you may be preoccupied with yourself, have feelings of loneliness and depression and a low self-image. Shy people can literally be afraid of other people.
How about you? Do you find yourself at a loss for words when you're with strangers? Do your knees shake and your palms get sticky when you give a speech or answer a question in class? Do you have trouble talking to members of the opposite sex? If so, guess what? Almost everyone else does too! Since most people are shy at one time or another (or all the time!), what can be done to lessen or overcome shyness?
First of all, don't put yourself down or brand yourself with labels like "stupid," "ugly" or "klutz." Look at your strengths more than your weaknesses. Maybe you're a good listener (most shy people are), have a good sense of humor or are good in school or sports. Maybe you're reliable, loyal honest and a hard worker. Work at developing your strengths and downplaying your weaknesses. Your own blend of traits makes you unique.
What if you only feel shy in certain situations, like talking to members of the opposite sex or dealing with someone in authority? Before you face a situation which you feel shy, figure out exactly what you want to say----write it down if necessary. Then rehearse it a couple of times and you're ready to go. Ask your teacher the question that has been bothering you. Talk to the new girl in your class. Return the pair of slacks you bought that have a hole in them. You'll find that the more you do things that make you nervous, the easier it will become.
Finally, ask God to help you overcome your shyness. Ask him to give you courage, and to help you focus on others. He will help you. You may still wonder what to say to that girl or guy in the lunchroom or the clerk at the store that sold you defective goods.
The second one is pretty easy. "I bought this last week and when I got home I discovered it had a hole in it. May I exchange it, please?" Then there's the first one. Not so easy, is it? Perhaps you can ask about a class assignment (I know it's old, but it does work), make a comment about the situation you're both in or give a sincere compliment. No matter what you say, be sure it's positive and sincere. And smile. I know you're wriggling with embarrassment inside, and you know it, but the other person doesn't need to.
Sure, there are times you'll still feel shy. But that's normal. Just don't let that shy feeling keep you from joining in with others. People can be scary, but they can also be scared. Chances are the person you're talking to is a little shy, too.
A world of new friends and experiences awaits you once you get past the tongue-tied-silly-putty-for-legs syndrome. Maybe I'll see you there. I'll be the one with the nervous smile.