How to Get a Shy Girl to Come Out of Her Shell

Never label a girl as
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You have known the girl in your chemistry class for a few months now, but she always seems so quiet and reserved. If you are looking for a way to help her break out of her shell, consider first whether she is shy or introverted. Those who are shy desperately want to be more socially confident, while those who are introverted are usually confident -- just quiet. A shy girl may avoid eye contact and seem uncomfortable in social situations. Help her move beyond shyness by building social confidence and giving her time to warm up.

1 Don't Rush It

Give a shy person time to warm up by keeping the attention off of her. Don't march up to the shy girl on the first day of class and start an interrogation. Instead, smile and offer a hello the first day, and gradually try talking to her more. If you find yourself pressed for time, such as at a party, try to talk one on one to help her feel more comfortable. Never label a person as shy or call attention to her shyness -- a question such as "Why are you so quiet?" is sure to make her retreat further into her shell.

2 Encourage Conversation

Encourage a shy girl to come out of her shell by showing that you are genuinely interested in getting to know her better. If you haven't already met, smile, introduce yourself and ask her name. Make her feel comfortable by offering a compliment, such as "I really like the outfit you have on -- where did you get it?" Ask open-ended questions to stimulate further conversation and find out what you might have in common, such as "What do you like to do for fun?" or "What is your favorite kind of music?" Helping to build her self-esteem and social repertoire are two keys to overcoming shyness, suggests the Indiana University Southeast's Shyness Research Institute. Once she begins to open up, help her practice making conversation and becoming more outwardly focused.

3 Overcome Negative Thoughts

Most people who are shy have negative thoughts about themselves in social situations, says Indiana University Southeast professor Bernardo Carducci, on the "Psychology Today" website. Help put a shy girl at ease by dispelling some of the myths that are common among those who are shy. For example, she might feel like she never measures up in social situations or that other people don't like her. These types of negative thoughts can be overcome with gradual changes in the way a shy person thinks, according to the Shyness Research Institute. Let her know that she is accepted; do this by smiling, being friendly and continuing to include her in the conversation, regardless of whether she seems awkward or shy.

4 Choose the Right Setting

A shy girl might feel inhibited in a large group setting or at a boisterous party but feel comfortable opening up when talking one on one or in a quiet environment. Suggest getting together in settings that make her feel comfortable and at home. Perhaps she enjoys quiet pursuits such as visiting the library, attending a book club meeting or chatting over coffee. Once you have had the chance to get to know her better in quiet one-on-one situations, you can invite her to more challenging social scenes -- hopefully she will warm up to those as well, expanding her ability to manage a variety of settings.

Arlin Cuncic has been writing about mental health since 2007, specializing in social anxiety disorder and depression topics. She served as the managing editor of the "Journal of Attention Disorders" and has worked in a variety of research settings. Cuncic holds an M.A. in clinical psychology.