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How To Change Your Shyness Part II

Author: David DeAngelo

Small Changes for your Everyday Life

Here are some helpful things that are fairly simple that you can incorporate into your everyday life immediately.

Empowering Questions

When you ask yourself a difficult question, your subconscious goes to work looking for an answer, and it will always come up with something - even if the question is a self-defeating one. For example, if you ask yourself, “Why aren’t I dating?” you’ll get something like, “I’m too shy.” or “I’m a loser”. If you ask yourself, “Why don’t people like me?” you’ll get “I must be too ugly or unattractive” or “I mustn’t be interesting enough”. Even worse, your subconscious may then go to work looking through your databank of references and finding ones that support this idea so that it becomes a belief!

Remember, everything that’s ever happened to you is stored in your memory. You’ve got references to support virtually any belief, but once you’ve got a belief, your brain tends to filter out the references that run contrary to it.
There are probably lots of times when you were outgoing, but since you believe in your shyness, you don’t notice or remember them - but your brain is quick to point out the times you’ve failed in a social situation. So the trick, then, is to ask yourself empowering questions.


• What about me is interesting? Attractive?
• What do people like about me?
• What qualities and accomplishments am I most proud of?
• What should I change about myself? How would I go about changing that?


• What do we have in common that I could bring up?
• Is there anything interesting that happened to me lately that I could relate?
• Is there something interesting happening in our environment that I could mention?
• What aspects of his/her life could I ask questions about?

Shit On By The Opposite Sex:

• How was my approach poor? What could I do to improve it?
• What about my approach was good? Can I emphasize that next time?
• If I was him/her, what would I want me to do?

You get the idea.


Now that you know how anchors are formed, you can create your own! They can be really useful for changing your emotional state when you need it. I bet you feel really confident when you do something you’re good at, like playing a sport, a musical instrument, or a game of chess. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have that same feeling of confidence when you’re at a social gathering or approaching someone for a date?

Here’s how to create an anchor. Get yourself to feel the feeling you want to anchor, either by doing something physically or creating the experience in your head (trust me, it still works). At the same time, do something else, which will be your “trigger” for the feeling. The trigger can be a sight, a sound, a movement, or a touch. Once you’ve done it enough, it should become permanent. Keep in mind that if you’ll be using anchors in social situations, you don’t want your trigger to be anything embarrassing. It can be something simple like touching your finger to your forehead, tugging on your ear, scratching your nose, stroking your mustache or your chin, or a phrase… Now that you’ve created the anchor, whenever you want the emotional response just perform the trigger, and if you’ve done it right, your emotional state will change, as if by magic.

Pattern Interrupts

When we find a behaviour that works, we tend to get “locked” into it; we repeat it whenever that situation comes up. This is called a Strategy or Pattern. Avoiding people at social situations is a pattern, and so is not showing your feelings, and so is not asking for dates or doing it poorly, and so is feeling sorry for yourself afterwards. Remember, if your nervous system is geared toward shyness, your subconscious considers these things good, that’s why I said these behaviours “work”. But what you can do is, whenever you find yourself in an unproductive pattern, you do what’s called a Pattern Interrupt. A Pattern Interrupt is anything sudden and unexpected that totally defies the pattern and therefore breaks its hold on you. It can be physical, like suddenly screaming at the top of your lungs or dancing wildly about the room. These are great if you’re in the privacy of your own home or you don’t mind making a fool of yourself. If you need something more subtle, you can do the interrupt in your head, such as experiencing a series of bizarre and totally inappropriate images or sounds.

Here’s one way I used this successfully. I was trying to ask someone out and was doing a lot of “Ummm…. Uhhhh….” and just generally feeling idiotic and screwing it up. All of a sudden I just said “FUCK!”, with feeling (She was the type that doesn’t mind swearing). Instantly my internal voice went from “Argh, what do I say, what do I do, what if she turns me down…” etc. to “Just quit your damn stalling and DO IT, dumb-ass!!” and I asked her out. I didn’t get the date, BTW, but I think that was because we came from VERY different worlds, and she just didn’t have a good impression of me. Actually, I was quite proud of myself for getting past the fear and taking the risk. Here’s another example. Supposing you really got a rise out of “Dead Poet’s Society”. A combination anchor/interrupt would be to declare “CARPE DIEM!!!” or “SIEZE THE DAY!!!” with gusto.


For any decision you make, your brain weighs the pleasures and pains of taking action and not taking action, but it will motivate you more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. If you’re not getting the results you want, it’s probably because you’ve linked too much pain to the action. There are two ways you can get around this - either find a way to lessen the pain associated with the action, or associate even more pain with not taking action. This changing of the rules is called Leverage.

For example, I would think all of us link pain to losing money. So what you do is, when you go into a social situation, bring a few buddies with you. Decide on a goal that you’re capable of meeting (“I will meet X new people” or “I will ask for X dates” or “I won’t leave without X phone numbers”), and make a bet with your friends that if you don’t meet your goal, you owe them, say, $20 or $50. Make sure these are people who will hold you to your word. Now, normally, you probably link quite a bit of pain to meeting people, but I would think the pain of losing $50 would be even greater!
If your goal was to meet five people, you’d probably introduce yourself to the first five people you ran into!

I think that really, we don’t link much pain to our shyness at all. If we did, we wouldn’t have this problem. There is the loneliness, but it’s what we’ve been feeling all our lives. We’re used to it, it’s nothing new. And by avoiding people, we feel safe. Change is perceived as the threat; it is dangerous because it would place demands on us we might not be able to meet. Reversing this imbalance can go a long way toward getting what we want.


It’s common knowledge that the way you’re feeling is reflected in your body. If you’re depressed, you frown, your shoulders droop, your back is hunched, you tend to look down at the floor. If you’re happy, you smile, you stand straight, you look up.

What you might not know is that this works in reverse. By changing your body, you can change the way you feel. If you don’t believe this, try it out. Smile and laugh for no good reason. Dance around a bit. Feels good, doesn’t it? Now frown and hunch over. Bury your head in your hands. Sucks, eh?

A good example of this is when a friend confided in me that I had a “geeky walk”. It was true; I used to drag my feet and I would look down as I passed people. So what I did was figure out how to “walk confident” (And this took some practice…) and I made the effort to keep my gaze steady and make a little eye contact with people. Sure enough, not only did the physical change make me feel more confident, but the way people responded to me as well. I began to get smiles and glances from some of the women (or maybe I always had and just never noticed before), and that is a GREAT feeling!

Also, in case you’re not doing this already, regular exercise does wonders for your self-confidence.

Transformational Vocabulary

Words can be amazingly powerful if you know how to use them. Read any book on the psychology of linguistics and influencing people and you’ll see what I mean. I won’t go into that in too much detail here, but I want to say one thing - Speed Seduction!!!! Kidding, kidding…

Words can be anchors, and quite effective ones at that. But different people respond to different words differently. For example, go up to a person who’s very religious and go, “Jesus H. CHRIST that pisses me off!!!” and see what kind of response you get! Go up to street trash and say the same thing and they’ll probably say “Yeah, right on, man!”

So if you consistently use words that make you feel bad, either in conversation or in your self-talk, replace that word with something that gives you a neutral response, or even a positive anchor. Examples:

• “I’m lonely” or “I’m depressed” -> “I’m a bit down on my luck” or “I’m in the process of finding someone”
• “I’m shy” -> “I’m reserved” or “I’m a little introverted”
• “I’m furious” or “I’m outraged” -> “I’m a little ticked off” or “I’m irritated”

Sure, this is a bit silly, but the silliness of it might even make you feel better. You can also create a positive response where there wasn’t one before, or enhance a positive response the same way - use more powerful words.

Another thought…

Your language, and your behaviour in general, not only anchor yourself, but other people as well. There’s no way around it. If you consistently create an emotional state in somebody, they eventually anchor that state to you, even if you weren’t doing it on purpose. If you whine and complain, put yourself or others down, or just talk about shocking or inappropriate things consistently around somebody, they will definitely resent you on some level, even though they might not be aware of it.

So the theory behind SS is to use your language to put someone in a romantic or sexual state consistently and then anchor it to yourself. If this sounds devious and manipulative, remember that the people who are good at sex and relationships do this naturally anyway, without even being aware of it. “Chemistry” is a myth perpetrated by the outgoing to keep us shys down.

So next time you’re with someone you want to get involved with, ask yourself “What kind of things would this person find romantic/sexual?” and then keep bringing those things up, just to see what happens.


Metaphors are an especially powerful extension of Transformational Vocabulary. Remember how I said that your subconscious works on imagery, symbols, and metaphor? By using metaphor you can sometimes communicate directly with your subconscious and achieve surprising results.

For example, there was a man who was 170 pounds overweight. He was very spiritual; when asked he said “his body was just a vehicle; it’s the soul that’s important”. He was persuaded to accept a new metaphor, “My body is a temple”. Now for a religious person, a temple is something to be revered. You would never damage or deface it. What happened? He lost 130 pounds in the space of a few months, that’s what.

What are your metaphors? Fill these out right now:

• Life is …
• I am …
• People are …
• Women/Men are …

Now, what should they be? For it to work, they have to be things that have powerful, personal meaning for you. You wouldn’t choose a crucifix or a temple, for example, if you weren’t very religious. Examples:

• Life is a game/dance/stage/garden of Eden
• I am a king/poet/warrior/prophet/jewel/rose
• Women are a gift/blessing/jewels/roses/dogs (Man’s best friend, sorry had to throw that in)

Now just adopt these new metaphors and see what you get. Sometimes just making the change in your head is enough, but you might have to do a little anchoring and reinforcement to get it to stick.

David DeAngelo

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