October 21, 2017 WHY AM I SO SHY? Um, Hi Brandon, So, uh…I want to make friends. But the thing is that I’m shy and it’s getting in the way. Any advice on how to be outgoing? Thanks, Shy Guy Hey Shy Guy, Let me start by saying that it took a lot of courage for you to write me about this. It’s half the battle to admit to a total stranger that you’re shy and want to be more outgoing. Good job. Now that we’ve broken the ice some and are no longer strangers, let me confess that I’ve been there before. I was shy when I first came to WCD because I felt like the only kid who wasn’t from a wealthy family and didn’t know anybody. It was the worst. But, in the end, I took a chance and actually got to know people who were a lot like me. To this day, I’ve never regretted taking that chance. The thing is, you need to take that same chance without letting shyness get in the way. With every new person you meet, there’s a chance—a chance that they may or may not like you, a chance that you will or won’t hit it off—and that’s why it sometimes feels easier just to remain shy. Because then you won’t have to face any rejection if it doesn’t work out, right? Well, actually, you still are. It’s called self-rejection. Dude, you’re actually letting yourself believe you’re not good enough for somebody out there somewhere to eventually like you and become your friend. I think that’s the real reason why the cat’s got your tongue. Shy Guy, you’re a GREAT guy. It’s time to believe in yourself, man up, and speak up. (And, if there are any shy girls reading this, you can try what I’m about to suggest, too.) Here’s a foolproof, tried and true way to kiss “shy” goodbye and make the friends that you deserve: First thing’s first. Look yourself in the mirror and declare that you ARE cool enough to take a chance on getting to know somebody new. There IS somebody out there who’s actually worth opening up to. That person WILL make a great friend, and so will you. Know what you’re into. What are your interests or hobbies? What are you passionate about? What can you not stop talking or thinking about? Whatever it is—writing, video games, computers, singing, etc.—use it as your fuel for opening up and talking to people. Take my good buddy, Max Crumbly, for example. He’s a pretty shy guy too, but when it comes to rapping, and the dude gets going, he CANNOT stop! Next, look for ways to meet people who are into what you’re into. For instance, if you love books, become a library assistant at your school (that’s actually how I met Nikki Maxwell. She was working at the library desk one day, and I actually went up to her and said “Hi.” We’ve been great friends ever since. True story!) You could also join a book club. Since the focus is on books, it should be easier to chat with the people in it. Or, if you’re not into books and love art, join an art club. Or if you’re into soccer, try out for the soccer team. The point is—whether it’s books, sports, art, you name it—talking with someone new is a lot easier when the topic is something you both love. Don’t give up! Let’s face it—there are some people in this world that aren’t very friendly. But, there are also people that are. Those are the ones you want to meet. If you haven’t met any yet, don’t chicken out and stop talking. Keep on looking and keep the conversation going. I hope this advice helps. I know you’re an awesome person and that there’s somebody out there just waiting to meet you. So, don’t let being shy stop you. Hey readers, what advice do you have for overcoming shyness?