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How Can I Become Less Shy?

I'm shy and scared about starting high school. What can I do to become less shy and try to make friends?
- Lily*

One of the best ways to get over shyness is to think of the things that make you nervous and then practice working on them. For example, if you want to start a conversation with someone in your English class, you can practice in private the ways you'd do it if you weren't so shy. Just working on smiling and saying "hello" is a good start. Some people find it helps to rehearse in front of a mirror, similar to practicing lines for a play. This can help them feel more comfortable with a new approach.

Then you can start smiling and saying "hello" in real life. You might also try joining a group or team activity that interests you, like a sports team or the yearbook committee. Of course you'll feel anxious at first — that's perfectly normal. Remember that the more you practice, the more comfortable you'll feel.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: May 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.