Hey! My name is Maike, and I have a problem. I've always been a really shy person, and it's always been a struggle for me to overcome that. After my sophomore year of high school, I felt like I had done it. Overcome my shyness. And to top it off, last year I was accepted for youth exchange, which has always been one of my dreams, because I love culture and (despite the shyness) I love people. This school year I got the opportunity to live in Bangkok, Thailand and I only have three months left of my exchange. 

Anyways, I love the people here. I love Thailand. It's a good fit for me. But I guess I just lost confidence in myself. I'm not sure how this happened, because I had confidence before I came here. I think I lost it in the early months, when I had a reclusive host family and was terrified of messing up the language. I lost the ability to initiate things. And maybe I've always been this way, because now that I think of it, I've never been good at initiating things, but exchange really brought out the worst of it. Exchange brings out the best in you but it brings out the worst, too. I just became constantly, overly terrified of failure. 

I switched to a not-so-reclusive host family, but it's difficult to get back "to normal" and I still spend a lot of time alone. I guess I'm just bummed, because I had visions of myself turning into a braver and more confident person, not the other way around. Instead of doing things I loved (like crafts, and hanging out with people) I ended up getting more and more sucked into music, books and the computer because they were more safe.

I've got 93 days left in Thailand and I want to make them count. I want to be braver with day-to-day life, initiate conversations, and go places I wouldn't go normally. I also want to show people how much I care, in small gestures (something I'm not used to doing, because in the past eight months my top priority has been taking care of myself) If anyone has any ideas on how to accomplish this, or rediscover lost confidence, please let me know! Confidence is like a long-lost friend and something I have dearly been missing. Thank you.

Tags: advice, barrier, language, self-confidence, shyness

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I wish I could help, but I myself am a fairly shy person. All I can really say is to just go out and do some fun stuff. Once you get started it will become easier and easier to do/say/experience more. I think I would hate it more if I didn't do anything there than if I screwed up a few times while doing something. And let me just say, I think it's pretty amazing that you were able to go to Thailand in the first place. Good luck in your endeavors, don't be discouraged if you mess up a little, we're all human and I'm sure people will be kind and understanding.

Confidence is something that's hard to find for most people in the world. As social as we are, humans also have a natural fear of messing things up. I'd say the best way to build up your confidence is to just take a good look at yourself. Go from top to bottom, outside to inside, and think about what's awesome about yourself! Doing this every once in a while gives you a boost in what you think of yourself as a person. Also, try not to think too much about what other people think. Do what will make you happy. Initiate conversations without fear of messing up, chances are that people will be happy to correct you and help you improve the use of their language. Go and create experiences for yourself that you'll remember for a lifetime. I hope I was able to help!


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