This cold Sunday morning I grabbed the paper for a quick read and found that Jo Stanley had written an article “Comfortably Shy’. Jo is the co-host of Weekend Breakfast on the Today Network and has a reasonably high media profile.
It is always good to see celebrities being open about experiencing shyness and social anxiety, so thanks to Jo for helping to destigmatize the condition. Apparently, Jo Stanley gets anxious back stage . “It was always backstage where I felt my heart racing, in the terrifying moment of ( dramatic sound effect) talking to strangers. When all social graces escaped me, small talk became a foreign language and natural banter floated over my head as I froze in a dark, self conscious loop of negative self talk, wishing I could spontaneously combust”.
Jo goes on to share that 12 years of breakfast radio had taught her two things: (1) people love to talk about themselves and (2) by asking people questions and focusing on their answers, you shift your attention away from yourself.
She makes the point that it takes practice to get over shyness. Yes, graded, repeated, prolonged massed exposure is necessary to overcome social anxiety.
If you want to read the rest of the article about shyness see pg 8 of The Age, “Sunday Life”, July 2014.