How to Express What You’re Thinking When You’re Shy

Often when you are shy you can use the written word to express your feelings. The problem isn’t really being able to write out your thoughts and feelings – it’s the part where you share them.

Sharing your inner most thoughts and feelings is to let them be judged by someone else. It also means you take the chance on sounding weird, odd or just being told how wrong you are. At times, it’s easier to remain quiet. Easier than trying to put yourself forth into the noise of everyone else. It’s easier to fade into the background and not be heard. Except, we do want to be heard, be part of the world around us. Our opinions and ideas are worth hearing too.

Communication needs to be a two way street. Someone listens while someone else speaks. Then there is feedback to confirm the communication. As a shy person, I find the biggest challenge is to be heard. People don’t stop to listen. Instead they interrupt, they don’t listen and they don’t really hear what you say when you do manage to say something.

You try written communication, hoping this is a way to be heard without being interrupted or having to be face-to-face. But, there is still the big drama of waiting for feedback and not knowing what kind of reception your communication will get. Was it wanted? Were you understood, or misunderstood?

Often, writing it down isn’t enough. You need the instant feedback and the first reaction to know you have been heard and understood.

How to Talk to Someone Important When You’re Shy

Practice what you want to say beforehand. You can write it down and then say it out loud, see how it sounds. You might shorten it, change the wording around or choose an entirely different way to say it. Know what you are going to say, but don’t have it so memorized it sounds like a scripted speech.

Talk to the person when they are alone so there are fewer distractions and no one else to jump in and offer their opinion, welcome or not. If you can’t be sure of having time alone, or privately, make an appointment, schedule the time to talk with them.

If you really need to say something important and can’t get yourself to start, bring a friend along to break the ice and then leave or stay out of it when you’re ready to begin.

When it comes time to talk, stop thinking so much. Don’t analyze every word, don’t get obsessed with small details like how you’re standing or sitting, where you put your hands or whether or not your teeth are white enough, etc. Put the little things out of your mind and think about something else, like the coffee you’re going to enough later, or how nice the garden looked, anything simple and pleasant to keep you from getting too focused.

Realize that you are not the centre of the universe – the world is not watching you and waiting for you to fail. Other people in the room, in the area, are more worried about themselves and the possibility that they have spinach in their teeth to be wholly focused on you and what you are doing or thinking or saying. Though, they will wonder what you are thinking if you look at them too long and make them feel a little paranoid.

In the end, take a breath, stop thinking and start talking.

Communicating as an Introvert

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