Claudia’s idea of hell is a room full of people she doesn’t know.The 30-year-old graphic designer isn’t agoraphobic and she didn’t suffer some kind of childhood trauma - it’s just that she’s shy.Her heart races at the mere thought of starting a conversation from cold or attaching herself to a group of people at a party and joining in a discussion.
It’s cool to be shy Shy people generally react to stressful situations with avoidance tactics or by assuming a mask.PARSHIP psychologist Sabine Wery von Limont particularly advises against the latter tactic: “If a man assumes the persona of a great ladies’ man, or a woman tries to pretend she’s seen it all, it soon becomes clear that they’re playing a game.Von Limont recommends that, if you are shy, you should acknowledge this as part of your personality - and also make it part of your armoury.In situations like this, shyness is a manifestation of a desire to escape.It’s even programmed into our genes: Neanderthals were afraid of sabre-toothed tigers; we’re afraid of making fools of ourselves in a social context.
What a shy person feels on a first date is akin to fearing for his or her life.But the good news is that it is possible to manage your panic reflex.The thing is that her crippling anxiety is hard to understand: she is nice-looking and, as is evident to people she knows well, is a bright and amusing person - in fact, friends and colleagues are not quick to feel sorry for her or to get protective about her. Most of us will have been through the experience of being the new person at a place of work, of feeling as though everyone was looking at us and of having damp palms when it came to shaking hands.Her apparent assurance can cause problems when it comes to getting to know men. But someone who is really shy is constantly assailed by this kind of anxiety.They get embarrassed and blush, or they can appear cool and distant.Claudia reached the point of refusing invitations to parties or avoiding dates with men who were interested in her - purely because she was afraid of somehow showing herself up.