Understanding Shyness

Shyness is the awkwardness or apprehension some people feel when approaching or being approached by other people. Unlike introverts, who feel energized by time alone, shy people often desperately want to connect with others, but don't know how or can't tolerate the anxiety that comes with human interaction.

Recent posts on Shyness

Social Anxiety in Toddlers

Social confidence varies from one child to another, and across time and situations. Parents can help their kids cope with social anxiety, and enjoy social interactions.

Can Social Skills Be Taught?

Can social skills be taught? We can learn how to communicate with each other better, but shyness is often very persistent.

Genetics Play a Role in Social Anxiety Disorder, Study Finds

A new study has pinpointed a genetic link between social anxiety disorder (SAD) and a serotonin transporter gene called "SLC6A4."

Avoidant Personality Disorder

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 08, 2017 in A Sideways View
How can you best help and understand those with Avoidant Personality Disorder?

The Shy Child

Do not force your child to speak.

The Power of Small Talk

By Joe Moran, Ph.D. on February 26, 2017 in The Secret Life of Shyness
Small talk is not an empty ritual: it's a vital life skill that even the shy have to learn.
Iryna Inshyna/Shutterstock

The Etiquette of Hugging

Shy people struggle with the etiquette of hugging, but it may not always be a route to greater intimacy, empathy, and understanding.

Barriers to Applied Evolutionary Psychology

Applied evolutionary psychologists run the risk of being accused of making the naturalistic fallacy or of doing agenda-driven research. Here is how to smile at the critics.

4 Ways to Overcome Shyness

By Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. on December 31, 2016 in Living Forward
Shyness can sabotage your personal and professional life. These strategies will help you reduce your anxiety and improve your social skills.
LuckyImages/Shutterstock

The Secrets of Shyness

By Joe Moran, Ph.D. on December 20, 2016 in The Secret Life of Shyness
Being shy is not just about being fearful or timid. Shyness takes many forms, and is part of what makes us human.

Why Hasn't He Called?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on December 16, 2016 in Fighting Fear
An exploration of the reasons why someone may not call back after a great first date. Some of the reasons are discoverable—and may be important.

Social Media, Loneliness, and Anxiety in Young People

By Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D. on December 15, 2016 in Why We Worry
Even with a good-sized social network, users face added stressors and feelings of disconnectedness.

New Research Reveals Neural Roots of Social Anxiety

People with social anxiety disorder have an extreme fear of new social objects or situations. New neuroscience research shows how observational learning plays into this fear.

A Game of Lunch and Love

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on December 05, 2016 in One Among Many
When your joy of consumption depends on the other person’s wishes, you better get to know him (or her).

Social Anxiety: A Single-Session Cure

My patient never returned. Her father called four days later, delighted to report that I had “worked a miracle.” Yet I see what happened as a failure on my part.

In What Ways Do Socially Anxious Adults Suffer?

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in Curious?
New research on touch as a neglected emotional experience that offers insights into the difficulties of individuals suffering from social anxiety problems.
By Nogas1974 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Biology Determines Every Thought, Feeling, and Behavior

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on October 20, 2016 in Cui Bono
Psychologists say behavior results from the interaction of biology and environment, yet argue about their relative importance. Read why the importance of biology is always 100%.

Understanding and Treating Selective Mutism

By Barbara Markway Ph.D. on October 13, 2016 in Shyness Is Nice
Does your child speak freely and easily at home, but not at school or other public places? Find out if your child has selective mutism, a childhood anxiety disorder.

Ten Tips for Happiness

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on October 07, 2016 in Emotional Fitness
Happiness can be hard to feel at times, so don’t think there is something wrong with you if you don’t feel it.

17 Ways to Fix this Common Type of Social Anxiety

Extreme fear of public speaking is one of the most prevalent form of anxiety disorders. New research shows how you can test, and overcome yours.

A Productive Way to Think About Social Anxiety

By Joel Minden, PhD on September 09, 2016 in CBT and Me
Most concerns about social anxiety are unproductive. Here's what to do instead.

Social Anxiety and Internet Use: What We Know

A review of 26 years of research on social anxiety and the internet show beneficial aspects but also ties to problematic behavior. Here's an overview of what we know.

What Your Voice Reveals About You

Do you like the sound of your speaking voice? Our voices often reveal much about our life experience in general, and social conditioning in particular.

The Psychological Pros and Cons of Pokémon Go

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on July 12, 2016 in Urban Survival
Could the new game craze help social anxiety and depression? Catching Pokémon might have more rewards than you think.

How Macy Gray Settled Her Heart and Mind

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on July 06, 2016 in Brick by Brick
Grammy Award-winning singer Macy Gray overcame multiple hurdles, including mental illness and racism, as she built a dynamic and creative career.

Helping Your Shy Child

When they’re around other kids, shy children feel like outsiders looking in. Here are ways to help your child feel more comfortable and confident in social situations.

Screentime and Arrested Social Development

Millennials can have a hard time conversing and making eye contact when face-to-face. How will this affect them when it comes time to be an adult in the real world?

Lessons From the Past

During the Stanford Prison Experiment I unwittingly became my own research "subject.” But the SPE drove me to extensively pursue the question: Why do good people do evil things?

I’m Not Rude, I’m Anxious

People who struggle with social anxiety are often misperceived as being arrogant or rude. Keeping this in mind can help one feel less irritated and more willing to keep trying.

Is "Be Yourself" Bad Advice?

Should we stop telling people to "be yourself"? Wharton professor Adam Grant thinks so.