Top 7 Things Every Shy Person Should Understand About Their Shyness

Top 7 Things Every Shy Person Should Understand About Their Shyness


Michael Pilinski

Let’s talk about what it means to be a shy person and why having this moniker hung on you can be a heavy personal burden to bear. Shyness in general, and especially in youngsters, is a cautionary reaction designed to make you ‘freeze up’ in a sort of protective instinct that goes something like this: “If I just stand here, say nothing and remain invisible, then no harm will come to me…” Now for a kid, this might make sense. Unfortunately, this sort of reflexive tendency to lock-up around unfamiliar people or situations can persist into adulthood as a nasty bad habit, and that’s when it becomes trouble.

For guys especially shyness can be socially devastating because it makes it virtually impossible for you to make that first ‘revealing move’ around women… the sort of action that can signal your possible romantic interest in her. This puts you at a major disadvantage on the romantic playing field because, if you are always “turtling-up” into this ego-protective mode, then you are certainly not connecting with anyone!

That said, here are 7 key pointers about becoming more social that every shy person should thoroughly understand:

1) While shyness can sometimes be considered “cute” in women it is absolutely deadly for men. Here’s why: because appearing or acting shy is a bright red signal flare of low male status. It’s an indication that you have been ‘put in your place’ by the other men in your world — that they have cowered and bossed and mocked you into submission, and now it makes itself visible for all to see in your shy behavior.

Now perhaps you’ve been able to create an aura of accomplishment and respectability around yourself in your professional (non-romantic) life that gives you some shielding from the worst of your shyness — but these defenses quickly lose their power when it comes to being judged worthy of romantic possibility by women. Females have a unique power to pierce and destroy the pretenses established at great cost and effort by men — and it’s the thought of coming face-to-face with this awesome power from which a lot of your rejection-fearing shyness probably arises in the first place.

2) Most people actually HATE being around a shy person. Why? Because demonstrating shyness has the effect of causing many people’s OWN latent shy feelings to come bubbling up to the surface (and everyone has a little bit of shyness lurking in them somewhere for this to play on…). “He’s always acting so shy, he starts to make ME feel shy… I hate that!” What you are doing is (unwittingly) engaging in a subtle psychological practice called MODELING. When we model certain actions and behaviors in front of others they tend to unconsciously pick them up and mimic them, especially if there’s a wall of formality still existing between people (i.e., total strangers) and therefore a bit of nervousness involved in their behaviors towards one another.


Test this out for yourself: next time you are face-to-face with someone and you both have drinks in front of you for instance, watch how many times you can pick up your drink, or toy with the straw or something, and the other person will almost immediately begin doing the exact same thing without even thinking about it. That’s modeling! Now if you are aware of what you’re doing and purposeful in your actions, it’s possible to have people copying your behaviors and attitudes all over the place. These are actually common politician’s and salesman’s tricks that you can borrow and use to your advantage if you, again, are purposeful and can practice living outside of your own head a little bit.

3) Roll over all small embarrassments and make nothing of them. Much of your shyness has to do with being too inwardly-directed — simply meaning that you tend to dwell too much on what’s going on inside your own “thought cloud” rather than being fully engaged within your surrounding environment. The typical shy person has a tendency to assign too much importance to every little thing that he does or every little move that he makes. Stop this right now by getting out of your head in any way that you can manage to do so. Focus more on modeling and controlling your “puppets” if you must!

4) Stop obsessing over every little thing that you might feel like saying — essentially pre-editing yourself out of many good conversations before they can even begin! I used to do this all the time: pre-judging and PRE-REJECTING everything that I was about to say before the words ever made it out of me. You feel like others are constantly judging your thoughts and ideas every second of the day, and this kind of intense scrutiny — imaginary or not — is difficult to hold up under. It’s little wonder that you are reluctant to speak up! I think this is why introverts find people to be more a source of stress to them rather than of comfort. It’s also one of the major reasons why being social may feel like such a chore for you, when it can often seem like such a breeze to most everyone else.

The sad part is that the entire underlying dynamic causing this pre-rejecting response (i.e., the intense scrutiny of others) doesn’t even exist in actuality. It’s entirely in your mind for the most part, and you are merely projecting all this garbage onto others and seeing what really isn’t there. This is a form of paranoia, but it’s also a form of arrogance as well. Arrogance? That’s right: after all, what makes YOU so special that everyone is always watching YOU and everything that you are doing all the time? Why do YOU deserve such constant observation? Well you don’t, and you aren’t getting any! This is all what’s known as ‘magical thinking’, and it’s an error in cognition that you need to address and overcome.

5) Shyness is a distortion of our natural sense of shame — which has gone off the rails and become associated with emotions that are not inherently shameful. Shame is the master controller emotion of the entire human race and has been used as such throughout history. It is wielded as a psychological bludgeon by societies, parents, religions (they are experts!…) and almost every other sort of collective gathering of people to steer individual behaviors towards some commonly accepted norm. Most of us would not walk around naked in public for instance, because we would be ashamed to do so.

But do we have some sort of natural instinct that makes us feel weird and uncomfortable about walking around publicly naked? Not necessarily, we were TAUGHT at some young age to keep our clothes on and our private parts covered around others by our parents. This was a “rule” they imposed at some appropriate moment, and they likely had to make us feel ashamed about our nakedness at some point in our development in order to get us to comply with this rule. Once scolded and “embarrassed” about it, our desire to be naked in public then became shame bound — that is, the feeling of shame was successfully linked to this idea of wanton exhibitionism in order to inhibit the desire. It therefore became impossible to experience this desire without feeling ashamed about it! The two sensations became tightly linked (bound) at the deepest levels of our consciousness.

When shame becomes associated or “bound” to the wrong sorts of emotions however (like our natural human need to feel affection for instance) it can make us unable to experience these particular emotions in the absence of the shame. And because shame is so uncomfortable to experience, we will usually seek to maneuver clear of this psychic pain by avoiding whatever stimulus threatens to trigger it off. We “shy” away from such stimuli. Socializing with other people (and especially in a potentially romantic context) can unleash a Pandora’s Box of different emotions. This is normal. However, if any of these critical emotions have become shame-bound at some point along the way, then they cannot be experienced without the associated torment of shame being present as well. Thus, we are made to suffer adult shyness in this sad and maddening way.

Shame that has gotten itself twisted around our normal emotions where it doesn’t belong is known as toxic. This is a large and complex subject that I talk about in my books and is really beyond the scope of this short article. Suffice to say that toxic shame is the basis of almost every sort of addictive behavior that you can imagine — from alcohol to overeating, rage, sadness, hard drugs like cocaine or even obsessive work-aholism. That’s because we have a powerful urge to escape from shame’s poisonous effects in whatever way that we can. Certain things must therefore be made off limits to us and cannot be experienced as they should be. Our spirit becomes strangled over time, and we seek to nullify this chronic pain with the distractions of our addictions.

6) Discover the power of self-compassion to overcome chronic shame and self-hatred. Shy people are often so mentally tough on themselves that it’s no wonder they constantly act as though they’ve been cowered into submission. They have been: by an internal cognitive monster called the Tyrannical Conscience.

Ask yourself this: who else do you HATE so badly that you would wish the same kind of monster to enter their brain and torture them as relentlessly as you torture yourself with thoughts of fear, uncertainty and inadequacy? What?… you say that no one else deserves such cruel treatment? Only you? Well now there’s that good ol’ arrogance again… this idea that only YOU can be held to such high, God-like standards of performance to which you repeatedly fail to measure up (and therefore must be made to feel ashamed about). Everyone else (all those lower class beings?…) get a pass I guess. They get compassion, but not you. Shame can create such thinking distortions known as grandiosity — what John Bradshaw in his great book “Healing The Shame That Binds You” calls the Disabled Will. (Search him out on Amazon or your local bookstore, his work saved my life).

7) Shyness in adults is learned behavior — essentially a bad habit. This is actually good because it means that it is possible to completely reverse your shyness! Since the original fear which the shyness was designed to protect you against no longer exists, once the “back of your shyness is broken” it should not return.

Remember, it doesn’t matter that you may have to “trick” yourself into getting started down the road to defeating your shyness, all that matters is the final RESULT. Actors and sports stars use similar mental tricks to get themselves up for a game or a performance, and no one gives them any grief about it. So why can’t you do the same?

Your job as a recovering shy person is to first embrace this serious flaw in your thinking without fear and then move forward to correct it. No anger or regret, just strength of purpose. And lots of self-compassion for a change.

Mike Pilinski is the author of 2 classic books in the men’s dating market… his highly-acclaimed original, “Without Embarrassment” and his follow-up: “She’s Yours For The Taking”. Read more here:

The High Status Male

Mike has also just published a FREE Audio Course that teaches you how to develop Instant Self-Confidence On-Demand:

Having Kickass Confidence Around Women

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