Pathological Shyness man alone on train-tracks

Extreme Shyness is it Real or Not?

Psychologists and psychiatric researchers are presently paying attention to the concept of extreme shyness and its social implications especially in children, who tend to suffer the most. Currently, there are three different factors that somewhat explain the phenomena of extreme shyness.

Three factors that Explain the Phenomena of Extreme Shyness

The first factor is normal shyness, which is simply a form of temperament that is very common during adolescence. People become shy simply because they are haven’t experienced or adapted to a particular event or situation. Shyness in a normal behavior and usually resolves itself, as long as the person is able to function and understands the concepts that cause the shyness in the first place.

The second factor is a social phobia, which is an extreme form of behavior. A socially phobic person will avoid all forms of contact with other people and there can be an underlying ‘reasons’ why they behave like this.  Other times, they just feel afraid or anxious when people are around them.

The third factor that tries to explain extreme shyness within the normal continuum of a person’s life is pathological shyness.

Pathological shyness is now defined as a psychiatric condition that completely takes away a person’s ability to function normally in society or social settings. For example, any individual whether they are a child, teenager or adult may feel that he is not socially acceptable, feel that other people would never like them or be interested in interacting with them.  These individuals may even break into a cold sweat at the thought of the most casual encounter with almost anyone.

This extreme avoidance of people is socially debilitating and can also affect a person’s quality of life because we need to interact with others to accomplish things on a daily basis.

These three factors should not be confused with broader theoretical concepts such as introversion. An introverted individual is not necessarily a shy person.


An introvert may behave exceptionally in social settings and interact with others effortlessly but can revert to introversion at a later time. It is a behavior and most of the time introversion itself does not cause problems.

If you know someone who is so extremely shy that he is unable to interact with others or go to work or school normally, then the best thing to do is to seek professional help. It is never too early to seek therapy or counseling and while it is true that not all available therapies are effective, it’s best to receive some form of professional help early on.

Additional Tips to Overcome Shyness Easily

Here are some additional tips to help overcome shyness easily:

1. Good interaction with other people does not necessarily mean that you have to talk for hours, it just being able to keep the other person interested. Remember – people are most interested in themselves and love to talk about themselves.  This may sound rather selfish of them, but that is what people enjoy doing. With this in mind, you can make a lot of acquaintances by simply being a good listener. The trick is to practice the 60/40 ratio for listening and talking. Listen more than you talk, which will make you comfortable, get you to open more, and you will see a great response that is guaranteed.

2. Don’t forget that you should always put forward the best version of yourself when interacting with others. Of course, we can all use different personalities when we are out socializing. But this takes too much energy and if the persona you are using does not reflect who you are; why be a phony when you can be the best of who you truly are. Always be yourself, your best self!