Breaking Shyness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Being shy is terrible. This is a short essay on how I, well, overcame shyness! This is certainly not a novel or even a short story, depending on how you look at it. It is a short and intersting essay that may even be helpful to my fellow introverts. Enjoy, and tell me what you think!
*Quick note* I'm a young male African-American living in southern California.

Submitted: September 23, 2012

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Submitted: September 23, 2012

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Being shy is terrible. Living a life where someone becomes painfully scared simply to talk to other people is depressing, and even more lonely. That is exactly the life II lived in elementry school. I would go to great lengthsto stay quiet and never show emotion at school. In Jr. High, however, I'd had enough. I decided to think of several methods to get rid of my shy attitude.

First, I looked at the biggest question: what to say? I was not good at casual, "random" conversation. When two friends were engaged in silly, irrelevent conversation, I frantically wracked my brain for something silly to add, something to make them laugh, but I found nothing. I simply sat there, anger and embarassment burning inwardly while I hovered on the outside of the conversation. Towards the middle of 7th grade, I thought of a solution. I accepted that I wasn't the kind of person to have silly conversations, yet, so I chose to start conversations off with something polite. Quickly, the phrase "How was your day?" came into my head, and that would be the starter for people I didn't often talk to. It worked perfectly; I learned more about people from their answers, and they felt appriciated by my interest in their well being. Most importantly,I could create a conversation out of their answer by keeping the focus on them and what they did, instead of mycomicallyuninteresting life. Next, I had to do something about my facial expressions.

For "step two", I recognized that my face and body weren't very animated. I never smiled, I never frowned, or anything in between. This was, by far, the moststraightforward problem to solve. I simply forced myself to smile. At first, the smiles felt unnatural and fake. Everytime I smiled from a joke, my mouth felt like sticky plastic moving in a way it wasn't designed to. Over time, though, the feeling felt more genuine as I kept smiling. Eventually, my smiles became real, unconsious smiles, and I grinned naturally every time I talked. My very polite,positive,looking attitude made me feel and look more confident, and that invited more people to talk to me.

Finally, I had to take the initiative. Simply walking up to people at lunch break was hard, even if I knew them. Thankfully, I had two close friends at school, the only people I could easily talk to. I followed them around as they went from one group of their friends to the other. Everything was easier with my best friends next to me. I got new friends through common association, and finally, I tried venturing out to a group of strangers myself...

To this day, I am now more outgoing and confident in everything I do with others. I have many friends, and dozens of aquaintances. I cannot fully attribute this to my shyness plan, however. I've also always been a very nice person, and I often act far more polite and kindly than neccesary. I have never even had the courage to talk politely to others if not for what I did in 7th grade. It shows just how much you can accomplish with you look at a big problem one step at a time.


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