Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever felt shy in a situation where it may have held you back?

Are you somebody that feels that being shy has held you back from things in life?

We may all feel shy at certain points in time, but it’s all about learning to embrace that.

Today we’re going to talk about being shy, and how you can turn that into a positive moving forward.

So while being shy may not have always been a positive attribute, you will learn how to make this work for you and turn this into something helpful.

Get Your Transcripts Today!

Make sure you understand every word you hear on All Ears English.

Bring your English to the advanced level with new vocabulary and natural expressions.

Subscribe and get the transcripts delivered by email.

Learn to speak naturally with the American accent.

Click here to subscribe and save 50%

Don’t Let Shyness Hold You Back Anymore

Making connections in another language is one of the most rewarding experiences!

But what happens when shyness gets in the way?

Even the most outgoing person can suffer from shyness sometimes, and you don’t want it to interfere with your ability to do things.

You may feel shy when you feel unsure, or when you are being hard on yourself because it may cause you to want to retreat a bit.

Sometimes we can’t stop ourselves from criticizing our errors, accent, or inability to remember vocabulary—and sadly this can keep us from making connections.

Instead of denying or eliminating shyness, embrace it!

This is a whole shift in mindset that can really serve you well in your life.

Be curious about what causes it and see it as a journey, and this can help you to really get in touch with what’s important.

This will also help you to figure out the best way to move forward recognizing the type of personality that you have, and how you can work around it.

Here are some other episodes to check out that we have done, which may help you tremendously.

If you suffer from shyness, then learn to embrace it and figure out how you can use it to your advantage moving forward.

Turning Shyness Into Something That Works For You

This is where you have to get honest with yourself and really assess what is going on.

You want to identify the shyness when it’s occurring, and then figure out a good strategy for handling it.

So let’s look at some helpful tactics for dealing with the shyness that you may feel, and then working to turn it into a positive and helpful thing moving forward.

1. Check your internal monologue: This is where you have to really listen to what you are saying and how you are feeling. This is about reflection and listening to what your thoughts and inner voice are saying to you. Are you understanding and encouraging? Are you good to yourself in this area? Don’t deny shyness or try to shut it off by saying negative things to yourself such as :

  • Stop being shy.
  • Why aren’t you speaking up?
  • Just open your mouth!
  • It’s my fault! Instead, speak to yourself like you would speak to a friend.

This is a complete change in the way that you do things, and it can work really well towards dealing with shyness. If a friend said to you, “When I try to talk with native speakers, I turn red and my stomach hurts, and I can’t do it!” You would never say, “It’s your fault! Stop being shy, just open your mouth!” You would be understanding, compassionate and encouraging. Use that same approach and attitude towards yourself. Make sure your internal monologue is compassionate and patient.

2. Let go of perfectionism: Perfect isn’t realistic or achievable, and you should never try to achieve it with an unrealistic standard. Not wanting to mess up in a second language can lead to shyness, and though this is normal you don’t want it to hold you back. You’re not getting tested. This is not a performance. The goal is a human connection in the language you enjoy learning. If you can change your mindset and think of it this way, then you can really help yourself to be successful and even enjoy the journey.

Explore why you experience shyness. Approach it with curiosity rather than blame or shame. This alone may help you to work through the shyness, and turn it into a positive thing. Is it because I have high expectations of myself? Am I intimidated by someone, which makes the situation triggering for shyness and self consciousness? Why do I feel this way? Distance yourself from the emotions and look at it from a different perspective. If you can take the time to go through this way of thinking, then it may benefit you tremendously. This can help you to learn a lot about yourself, but also ensure that you move forward with a better attitude.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others: Do you think “Wow, this person has been learning for 1 year and I’ve been learning for 5 years and they are more advanced!” You never know the whole story. This is about you and your journey, and therefore you don’t want to waste your time comparing yourself to others. It’s not realistic and it’s not going to help you to get to where you want to be. Focus on what YOU can do to improve, and then use this to motivate you rather than looking at what others are doing. Remember the old phrase that applies very much here which is “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

4. Seek people you feel comfortable with: This is your support network, or the people that you lean on the most. Look for something like a group of like-minded peers. Start with one person you feel comfortable with, and then build from there. Find one meaningful connection with a native speaker who makes you feel safe expressing yourself. This can help you to really get out of your shell and work towards combatting the shyness that may be holding you back.

Some ideas for finding people you feel comfortable with include:

  • Facebook groups
  • Language or interest meetups
  • Volunteer at an organization where other volunteers will speak the target language

If you can find the right people, then they can help to build you up and never tear you down.

You can lean on them when you need to, and they can help you to get to where you want to be in a much more effective and positive way.


Be patient and understanding with yourself if you are shy or hesitant to speak English with natives.

Don’t deny shyness and recognize that it’s okay to feel this way—if you can change your approach and mindset here then it may serve you well moving forward.

Be curious and open about its causes, and recognize that with the right tactics you can turn this into a positive.

Shyness can be a superpower because it can cause you to be more self-reflective, but do take the time to allow this to happen so that it may benefit you.

See shyness as a journey, and you can make the most out of it and really learn to embrace the positive attributes that you bring.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X
  • App-Store-Button
  • google-play-badge
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X