Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
Anyway, these are the 3 things that made the biggest difference:
Great post. I'll just add my comments to yours.

Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
1) I read a ton of books on body language, social skills and confidence. Having this info. really helped me to feel more confident in my social interactions.
Definitely. Social skills are skills like any other. A little reading up on the subject goes a long way.

Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
2) I practiced. Whenever I have the opportunity to be with people I don't know in a new group, I tell myself that it is practice time and I pretend I'm an extrovert and chat people up. I always thought people would be able to see right through me, but instead they see me as friendly and respond well to me.
In a similar vein: Best advice I ever got for handling social events/activities was “Be a host rather than a guest.”

If I think of myself as a guest at an event, I tend to focus on myself and get passive. I focus on how bored I am, how difficult it is to go up and join ongoing conversations, how I always seem to get stuck with the most boring person in the room when I do try to converse, etc.

But if I think of myself as a host, then I see my role in a more active way. I do all the things a good host would do: Go meet and greet people just arriving at the event, engage others who are solitary and draw them in, circulate around the event and see that everything’s functioning smoothly, move on after 10 minutes in conversation with one person so that I can mingle and engage with others as well, take breaks to check my appearance and freshen up, etc.

Naturally I wouldn’t step on the toes of the real host of the event. It’s just a mind trick for changing my focus. I use my trick to get my focus off me and onto the people around me, and then I find that I lighten up and have more fun.

Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
3) I force myself not to overanalyze every social interaction that I have. I read in a book once that shy people will start out with a postive social memory, and then they will think about it and everything they said, etc. until they have turned the memory into a negative one. Overanalyzing conversations is a really bad trait to have. It just kills your self confidence.
I read a book on shyness, and the author pointed out that shy people are basically self-centered people. They analyze everything they do as though they were on stage and the center of attention, under the pressure of spotlights and subject to a critical audience. But the truth of the matter is that no one really cares what they do. Other people see the shy person not as the center of attention but rather just another anonymous audience member watching *their* performance.

So basically I agree with you. Overthinking and overanalyzing one’s own performance is a hallmark of shy people, and shy people need to find ways to cut that out and move on. “A good time was had by all.” And that’s the end of it.