Social Anxiety/Gaining Confidence

Updated on May 18, 2011
P.H. asks from McKinney, TX
6 answers

Have any of you learned to overcome your social anxieties as well as gain confidence? I've been a stay at home mom for many years and now need to find a job. I'm clinically depressed (being treated), as well as very shy and am feeling very scared about working outside of my home. It's sad but I don't trust people because of past experiences. I'm just looking to get some encouragement or ideas from any of you who are in my shoes and what you did to get better. If I could only win the lottery!! I know that's not going to happen! I really sincerly appreciate any and all advice you have.

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answers from Biloxi on

How about trying Toastmasters - it helps people develop speaking and leadership skills.

Also, do you have time to volunteer? Pick something you are interested in - humane society, Red Cross, children's shelter, and volunteer. It will help give you some experience plus allow you to "practice" meeting new people in an atmosphere of giving.

Oh, if you figure out a sure fire way to win the lottery, please, please let me know. LOL

Good Luck
God Bless

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answers from Phoenix on


I was very shy. In school, at social outings (ahhh) etc. And very depressed (thought about suicide daily)

I literally spent a decade constantly working on my thoughts to the point I am at. I am SO much more confident in myself and in being around others. I can even be comfortable talking to strangers (except the rude snotty types) I just avoid them because they are not worth my time. I dont' have time to spare for fools like that.

You just gotta keep working at it. You know you are worth it.. you just have to convince yourself.

I remember about 5 years ago, a friend of my husband/me asked hubby "when did she come out of her shell? Literally.. That is what he said.

Confidence for some of us has to be practiced! You gotta just try new things. Go small or go big.. Look the grocery store clerks in the eye. Smile, people smile back. If you KNOW something don;t be afraid to express it. You believe it. You can back it up with your belief. It is no better or worse than anyone elses.

YOu go girl! Outta that shell!

And for trust... I think most people suck, but definitely not all, I do like people... there are just too many who let you down... throw you under the bus. Nothing wrong with being cautious, just don't lock yourself away because of itl.

MONEY will not help what you need help with... your mind

Find some books you like to read. I really found anything by OG Mandino very helpful. They're success books, but help with thinking... Also T. Harv Eker... secrets of the millionaire mind. (local library.. check out for free)


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answers from Chicago on

First of all, you're not alone. I have a sister-in-law who went through the same issues when she decided to rejoin the workforce after staying home. There are a few suggestions that I have to start building your self confidence. Join some social groups to begin learning to mingle and network. is a great source that I enjoy. Not sure if you're into exercise, but that is also a great place to begin. For me personally, my progress in working out offers me great satisfaction and boosts my ego (even though I have a long road ahead of me). One last idea is to consider joining a martial arts group, like Taekwondo. I have watched a person's transformation to begin doing things they never imagined they could - it is very cool to witness. I wish you the best of luck!!

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm not trying to push religion, but honestly, the thing that's helped me most with overcoming insecurity and social anxiety has been my faith in Christ and the support and encouragement of the awesome ladies in my thursday morning women's group. I recommend checking out books or listening online to Beth Moore - she really knows the kinds of insecurities we women face and the anxieties we put on ourselves and brings out God's perspective in ways that are at times profound and serious and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny - online messages here

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answers from Dallas on

I, too, struggle daily with this. I was a climbing the full-time corporate ladder when my oldest child was born. She was sickly and my husband and I decided it would be best for me to take care of her myself. That was 11 years ago. Somewhere along this incredibly rewarding path, I lost that confidence. Now that my children have all started school, I want to go back to work, and have come to the same realization you have about the social aspect it requires. I know I had it at one time, and it's in here somewhere. To access it, I have begun volunteering at my children's school and that consistant contact if very helpful. I'm also becoming more active in my faith. I try to give myself small challenges every day to help myself to become more comfortable with the interaction.(baking muffins for a neighbor, hanging out with other moms at the park after school...etc.) I hope this helps you...good luck!

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answers from Portland on

I was shy. I didn't speak up in class. I was extremely anxious and nervous when I had to take a public speaking class. But I loved home economics and learning those skills increased my confidence. I was anxious when I started student teaching but when I had success doing that my confidence improved some more. I taught for 3 years and decided to change careers.

When I applied to be a police officer one of my references said that she doubted I could do the job because of my shyness. I was still shy out of the classroom.

Then I was accepted for the Police Academy and I had to come out of my shell simply because everyone else was so outgoing and we were required to role play.

Sometime during that time I learned about positive affirmations. I learned that what we say to ourselves affects how we act. Here are some examples of things to say to yourself. I'm getting more comfortable day by day. I can smile and say hello to everyone I meet. Make some more specific. In preparation for a job interview, tell yourself that you are calm and ready for the interview even if you aren't feeling that way. Pick out a few phrases that say you are doing well and repeat them over and over every day. After awhile you will feel that way.

One of my favorite statements is "fake it until you make it." Your affirmations can be lies but the more you say them the more you will become them. Try doing new things. Yes, you'll be scared when you start but gradually you'll gain confidence.

My daughter joined Toastmasters. She was afraid to stand up in front of a group and talk. She's now very comfortable doing it. The group is very supportive. Lots of new members are shy.

As someone else suggested. Start out small. Smile at clerks. Then start up a brief conversation with someone. Perhaps just make a comment on the weather. Ask friends to let you practice talking with them about something in which you or they are interested.

Go on many job interviews; even to ones in which you're only marginally interested. This will give you practice. Practice does make being with people and talking easier.

Also remember that not all jobs require that you not be shy. Are you experienced in any kind of work. If you're a mother you may be able to find work in a day care center. You have experience with kids and thus probably have more confidence in that area, already.

You could join a group, such as a book club at the library. Or take your children to activities at the library and learn to talk with mothers.

Put yourself in the area with people and you will gradually be more comfortable.

Make a list of your strengths and look for jobs that use those strengths. And know that there are many others who feel the way you do. I"ve been waited on my shy clerks, waitresses and felt OK about their service.

You might also ask your therapist about medication for social anxiety. I think I took Valium for awhile when I was teaching.

You can get a job and be comfortable. It will take time. Start with baby steps.

1 mom found this helpful
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