The upcoming holiday season is going to be full of new social situations – a difficult time for those who don’t like parties and large gatherings. It’s useful to know that shyness is an adaptive reaction to social situations in which we feel the risk of being judged harshly.

Interestingly, almost half of all Americans characterize themselves as shy.

Yet we celebrate athletes, radio personalities, movie stars and politicians who demonstrate traits like assertiveness, dominance and risk-taking.

But the rest of us reduce the anxiety associated with risk-taking by avoiding new social situations.

Your level of shyness really has to do with the situation you are in.

Most of us have a comfort zone made up of groups of people we are very comfortable with – like friends and family who give you a wide latitude. The risk of rejection from this group is low, hence the anxiety you feel when with them is low.

Often when marketing you have to meet new people and be involved in new social situations. But that’s not the whole story.

There might be plenty of people whom you already like, that could send you more business – it doesn’t always have to come from new people.

So start with the people you already know and get involved in activities you like. If you focus on playing or watching sports or dining together or wine-tasting or going to charitable events, it gives you something fun to focus on.

And that helps diffuse your anxiety and raise your level of extroversion. So set yourself up for success this coming holiday season by creating or attending events where the focus is on something you truly enjoy.

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