Ah the Holidays. Jingle Bell rocking, eggnog sipping and people everywhere. For some it’s a swell time but for shy people, well, not so much. You know the type: hovering in a corner watching the clock, waiting for the right amount of face time to expire so they can retreat from the Klieg lights of partydom. Maybe you’re among this group. And if you are, you would be in good company. Johnny Carson, famous for his wit is also among a plethora of famously shy celebrities. Barbara Walters, Carol Burnett and Princess Diana are all said to be members of the shyness club. Across the room the extroverts may be holding court, keeping their groups in stitches with superficial chatter while the shy introverts quietly cringe inside.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Mark Goulston, an author, speaker, hostage-negotiator and self-described shy guy, wants shy people everywhere to know that they can stop staring at the onion dip and maybe enjoy a holiday gathering or two. You are not alone, says he. Drawing from lessons in his book, “Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone,” shy people may not be the life of the party but they can add partying to their lives. The key is to listen to others. Those extroverts need someone to listen to them. Goulston sets a goal of connecting to just one or three people at a gathering. He asks questions and allows them to open up and share. People crave this, he says. He and others believe shyness happens when you think that others are judging you. The worst critic is the one inside your head. So you’ll do well to ignore them and just listen to others.