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How to Coax a Shy Person Into Talking Around You

by | Meeting People, Moving On

Last updated Mar 25, 2022 | Published on Feb 23, 2022

Shy people may be awkward to a lot of people. But in reality, they really are not. Get them into the zone, get them comfortable, and you’ll get to see that, like everyone else, a shy person can be a pretty awesome conversationalist. 

They can converse about just about anything and can do so in a fun way that may even have you surprised. Do you admire a shy person you want to have a conversation with? Here are 10 tips you can use to coax a shy person into talking around you:

1. The Hello Smile

When trying to coax a shy person into talking to you, you should know that how you approach the person at first matters a whole lot. 

How you approach a shy person can open them up to a conversation and can close them up to any conversations. 

If you approach in a way that makes them feel some type of way, their anxiety and social awkwardness wake, and they are most probably going to give you a: ‘No, I don’t want to talk.’

When you approach a shy person, let your body language portray you as a safe person to be around. Don’t look mean or threatening or wear a frown. Wear a bright smile, your cheeks spread out, your face bright. 

Your voice tone should not be scary when you ask if you can sit or talk to them. Say something along the lines of: “Hello. Can I please sit with you?” Wait for them to respond, and then shit. 

2. Make Them Comfortable

Now they’ve agreed for you to sit with them? What next? Well, I’ll tell you what. Make your shy friend comfortable. 

Knowing that people often come to them seeking answers to questions about their personality, shy people can be very anxious when they feel threatened or in the face of ridicule. 

They will shut you out at once, and your attempt at coaxing them to talk to you will meet an early failed end. This is how you make a shy person comfortable:

Try to be the Shy Person:

We have all had our fair share of shy moments. Maybe as children, and maybe even as adults. Do you remember what your shy moment felt like? This is probably exactly how the person you want to converse with is feeling. So, approach cautiously.

Don’t Look Into Their Eyes:

Many shy people avoid eye contact with strangers. It scares them, making them want to withdraw into their anti-anxiety shells. 

So, avoid their eyes. Don’t give them that steady stare which many times becomes a battle for who withdraws his gaze first.

No giggling:

You don’t know why your shy friend is shy. It may have something to do with their self-esteemMany stutterers, for example, can be pretty shy because of the speech defect they have.

People who don’t love their bodies may avoid physical contact with others because it brings their insecurities to the surface. 

Giggling around a shy person may subconsciously draw them into feeling like you are laughing at them. Don’t do this. No giggling, especially the silent, annoying ones. 

Act Shy Too:

When around a shy person, try to act shy. This sends them a subconscious message that they might interpret as:

“Wow, a shy person like me. I’ll probably just engage him and see how it goes. He’s probably really shy too.”

Viola!

3. A Short Story is a Wonderful Opening

A short opener always works with a shy person if you hope to persuade him or her to respond positively.

If you are a lover of novels or short stories, then I am sure you know what great openings look like. Many writers open their short stories or novels with a scene the writer is conversant with. They usually talk about the weather, or about a dress, or a character. 

Pick up a novel, and you’ll likely find that the first line is something similar to: “On a cold day in August when the rain had just subsided…”

These lines are great openings to conversations, too, because they draw the person into believing that you are interested in what they’re interested in too. 

When you have sat with your shy friend, begin your conversation by telling a story. Tell your story in a way that catches their attention. Talk about the weather. The sky. If you’re sitting in a field, talk about the beautiful flowers all around. 

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“It is a beautiful day…” You can say, “On days like this ( this is you venturing into a deeper conversation ), life is really beautiful, and having a friend seems like one of the best things to happen to a person.”

 4. Pause

Pauses are healthy during conversations. Because in reality, silence is one of the ways you can speak to a person. 

When you must have told your short story, you don’t have to say much. Like dust in the water, let your story settle. Let it resonate with your shy friend, and let them decide what they want to say in response. 

Your shy friend is probably very interested in talking to you now, and he most probably is thinking of the next thing to say. 

Shy people can be very calculative with words, you see. They will seldom just waste words or speak without first thinking about everything they’ll say and how they’re going to say them. Let them think. Let silence help them do just that. 

5. Listen

Like a cute little rabbit raising its ears to some sound riding the wind, raise your ears and give full attention when your shy friend begins to speak. 

Listening can be an art, and every conversationalist understands that it is listening to a person that pulls them closer to you. Don’t interrupt a person until he or she is done talking, even if they pause during the conversation. 

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In fact, with shy people, and with everyone, pauses during a sentence do not necessarily mean the sentence is complete. 

Before you respond, make sure their pauses mean, really, that they have completely relayed a line of thought and are now waiting for you to make an input.

6. Another Story

You should have noticed by now that all conversations are just stories people throw back and forth. 

Talking to someone is like playing catch and throw. The person throws, and you catch. You throw, and the person catches. Talk about something deeper this time. Talk about your name and how it came to be. 

Talk about your childhood. Stories about childhood are warm and welcoming and bring nostalgic feelings. Many people are fine with talking about their childhood. Talk about your high school and all the games you played then, etc. 

7. Don’t Comment About the Person’s Awkwardness

To coax a shy person into a conversation, try not to comment on their shy moments. Doing so is a little abusive as it is you bringing their insecurities to light. 

They will respond to this, most likely, by shutting you out. Everything you’ve done so far will go down the drain alongside their interest in talking to you. 

So, even if the silence becomes heavy and the awkwardness becomes like a funny joke, don’t say anything about it. 

Don’t tease. Don’t laugh. Don’t comment. Instead, try to fill in the gaps with bits of conversations that are gripping. 

Some conversations pull a person so deep into them that awkwardness becomes less of an issue. Ask questions. 

8. No, Don’t Talk About Their BodiesAbout Their 

When talking to a shy person, or anyone, in fact, as long as it’s a stranger, it is not good practice to make comments about their bodies. 

This seldom matters whether or not it’s a good comment. Try not to say anything about how a person looks. 

You would not like it if a person walks up to you and says something not so nice about your dress. Then, don’t comment about a shy person’s looks. 

9. Body Language

When talking to a shy person, observe their body language, especially their facial expressions. Stir the conversation by watching how they react to certain topics. 

If they frown or squeeze their faces when you say a particular thing, try not to say that thing again. You just might be triggering them. 

Remember, you don’t want to trigger a shy person. No, you don’t want their walls against anxiety rising against you. 

Observe how their arms move, how their legs sway. And don’t make it obvious that you are observing them. This will make them seem even more shy and awkward. 

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Be subtle with these things. Even when they make a mistake, pretend not to have noticed it. Look away. Give them room to gather themselves and then talk to you again. 

10. Know When It’s Time to Go

Do not talk for an extended period of time if you intend to talk to a shy person with ease and keep the conversation going. Conversations shouldn’t go on forever. When it’s time to go, you should realize this, and you should go. Say something like, “It was nice talking to you.” And leave. 

You can get your number if they’re willing to give it, and you can set up other dates. Now that they have spoken to you, they will want to speak to you again. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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By Sara Leandro

Sara Leandro is a certified health coach who helps others feel their best through individualized lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals. She covers topics ranging from health and productivity to relationships.

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