“My first language was shy. It’s only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness.” – Al Pacino
Yes, this is the very Al Pacino that you’ve seen in ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Scent of a Woman.’ Didn’t seem very shy then, did he? Well, it just goes on to prove that shy people can cope with their shyness and be successful, even in shyness-unfriendly fields like cinema!
If you suspect your partner of being shy, make sure that he/she is not just an introvert. It’s easy to confuse the two, considering that their external characteristics appear similar. But their inner feelings are anything but, with egoism playing a big role in how shy people behave.
Introverts are perfectly fine with staying out of big groups and spending time doing solitary activities. On the other hand, shy people want to be a part of those big groups, although they are always seen by themselves. They often have self-esteem issues and worry about how they’ll be perceived by others. It could be due to a variety of reasons including genetics, trauma or childhood experiences.
Being involved with a shy person can be frustrating at times, but you have to realize that it’s not something that can be easily overcome. Here are some ways you can help your shy partner come out of their shell.
1. Don’t nag
First things first, don’t keep bringing your partner’s shyness into the spotlight. It’s something they’re not happy about, and they don’t need constant reminding of the same. Nagging can also lower their self-esteem, only working to compound the problem.
2. Use positive reinforcement
Along with taking the focus off their shyness, compliment them when they do something to overcome it. Compliments work well here, and help boost their self-esteem. They can be related to anything – their looks, their competence at work, anything that will make them feel good about themselves.
3. Avoid stressful situations
Shy people can completely clam up in situations that make them uncomfortable, like large, boisterous crowds or loud, outgoing people. It hurts that they can’t be outgoing like them and they also feel that they can’t measure up in front of you. Avoid dragging them to places like these, although you might have to answer questions on why you went alone.
4. Talk about topics that interest your shy partner
If you’ve been with your partner for a while, you’ve probably come across moments when they become quite animated and excited about a certain topic. Take note of such moments and the topics that excite them. Use these to draw them out gradually, asking open-ended questions, which require some kind of explanation, rather than a yes – no kind of questions.
5. Do activities together
This is also based on interests, but something common to both of you. Take some time out on a weekend and take part in this activity, at least for a short duration. They are bound to enjoy it with you and will look forward to the next time.