Understanding the Truth About Pathological Shyness
Health / Mental Health / Self-Confidence / Shyness
It is only in recent times that psychologists and psychiatric researchers are paying attention to the concept of pathological shyness and its social implications especially in children, who tend to suffer the most. Currently, there are three different concepts that somewhat explain the phenomena of extreme shyness. Image Credit: Shyness, Jeremy Tenenbaum, flickr.
The Pathological Shyness Concept – Explanations
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The first concept is normal shyness, which is simply a form of temperament that is very common during adolescence. People become shy simply because they are haven’t adapted to a particular event or situation. Shyness in a normal setting often resolves itself, as long as the person is able to function and process all of the factors that cause the shyness in the first place.
The second concept is social phobia, which is an extreme form of behavior. A socially phobic person will avoid all forms of contact with others; sometimes, there are underlying ‘reasons’ why they do this. Other times, they just feel fearful and anxious when around other people. The third concept that tries to explain extreme shyness within the normal continuum of a person’s life is pathological shyness.
Pathological shyness is now categorized as a psychiatric condition that reduces or completely takes away a person’s ability to function normally in social settings. For example, a child, teenager or adult may feel that he is not socially acceptable and people would never be interested in interacting due to a single or a multitude of reasons.
This extreme avoidance of people is socially crippling and can also affect a person’s quality of life because we need to interact with others to accomplish things on a daily basis. These three concepts should not be confused with broader conceptualizations such as introversion. An introverted individual is not necessarily a shy person.
An introvert may behave excellently in social settings and revert to introversion at a later time. It is a temperament and most of the time, introversion itself does not cause problems.
If you are, or you know someone who is so painfully shy that he is unable to interact with others or go to school normally, then the best thing to do is to seek professional help. It is never too early to seek therapy and while it is true that not all available therapies are effective, it’s best to receive some form of professional help early on.
Image Credit: Shyness, Jeremy Tenenbaum, flickr.
How To Overcome Social Anxiety and Shy Behaviour
Here are some additional tips to help overcome shyness:
1. Good interaction with another person does not necessarily mean that you have to talk for a whole hour just to keep the other person interested. Remember – people are most interested in themselves, before others. With this in mind, you can gain a lot of friends by simply being a good listener. The trick is to practice the 60/40 ratio for listening and talking. Listen more than you talk and you will see a great response, that is guaranteed.
2. Don’t forget that you should always put forward the best version of yourself when interacting with others. Sure, we can all use different personalities when we are out socializing. But this takes too much energy and if the persona you are using does not reflect who you are, you will end up being unhappy.
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