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Dear Dish-It: How Can I Stop Being So Shy?

Dear Dish-It,

What can I do to help myself not be so shy in school?


Dear p543,

Lots of kids and adults are shy. Shyness means to feel a little scared when you're around other people. Just about everybody feels shy sometimes. If you're the new kid in class or your great-aunt wants to give you a big hug, it can make you feel shy.

Nobody sits around and says, "Well, I think I'll be shy today." It is just something that happens. It can just sneak up on you. You might feel fine practicing your soccer kicks, but you feel nervous when the coach comes over to give you a few pointers.

But being shy isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's OK if it takes you a while to feel comfortable with new people and new situations. In fact, it can even be helpful to be a little shy. When you're shy, you may spend a little extra time observing the scene before jumping right into it. And you're unlikely to talk to strangers, which you shouldn't do anyway!

Some kids are born shy and more sensitive. Sometimes even babies act shy. Have you ever seen a baby hide his or her face from a stranger? On the other hand, another baby might kick, smile, and wave at everyone, even strangers.

But if you weren't shy as a little kid, it's still possible to be a shy person. You might have learned to be shy because of experiences you've had at school or home. And sometimes you only feel shy for a short while, like the first time you get on a new school bus. This type of shyness often goes away after you get adjusted. For instance, after a few days, you'll probably have a seat you like to sit in and you'll get to know friends on the bus.

Sometimes, people become so shy they are afraid to do simple things in life. For example, they won't go to a restaurant because they are too nervous to order and pay for their food. Some people are so shy about meeting new people that they rarely go outside. Doctors and psychologists often can help the person work through this kind of shyness.

If your shyness is keeping you from doing stuff you want to do, talk to someone about it. Parents, teachers, counselors, and doctors are all good people to turn to. Talking about your shyness may help you get over it. Or your friends or parents may tell you that they, too, have the same shy feelings and what they do to feel less shy. If you still feel really shy, your mom or dad might take you to see a psychologist. He or she can help you figure out how to feel more at ease around people.

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