Shy In Glasgow

Support for Shy and Socially Anxious People in Glasgow, Scotland.


Click here to check out
The Glasgow Shyness Support Group!



Click here to check out
The Glasgow Coffee & Conversation Meetup Group!

Hello and welcome to Shy In Glasgow, the website of the Glasgow Shyness Meetup Group. I started the group and am currently an assistant  organiser of the group. If you want to join (it’s free!) and meet other shy people for discussion, friendship, or just socialising, the web address is


Even if you don’t feel up to meeting others in person right now, you can still join up now and be kept informed about future meets by automatic e-mail and participate in the small discussion forum there..


Here is the description of the Shyness Meetup group I created when I started it (February 2007) :-


In my experience it's great for likeminded individuals who know what it's like to deal with shyness to come together in a stress free way ... and to have fun and connection. You might want to join this group if any of these apply to you:


-You used to have several friends but they have settled down.

-You want to meet new people but you don't know how and may even avoid social situations because you feel awkward.

-You have friends but aren't able to progress in your career because of how you communicate at work.

-You watch way too much TV because you have nothing else to do and/or no one to hang out with.


I hope meetings will have a mix of on-topic discussion about shyness, and socialising to develop our social skills. Most meets will be in a coffee shop or bar, but if there is interest we can arrange to go out as a group, maybe bowling, cinema, book discussions, music, sightseeing, or picnics. You come up with ideas and we can choose to join in! Practice is the best way out of shyness. Let's meet up and chat!





About this site


I created this site to help promote the group and also to pass on some useful resources to group members and others. I am based in Glasgow and this site is aimed at local people but some of it will apply wherever you are from. I hope that in time I will create a resource which is used by people forming other shyness meetup groups - to share information with their members, and thus I would be able to help not just Glasgow people but also people elsewhere.

How did you find this site? Was it through Google, or a recommendation from a friend? Perhaps you found this site through a link from another site while searching for information about your shyness. This site is for both people who see themselves as simply shy and for those who have a degree of Social Anxiety. Although I am quite shy with only a moderate amount of social anxiety, I have found that by looking up information about SA and joining an SA online community, then going to their meets, my shyness has been greatly helped. You may not even have heard of the term "social anxiety" or reject that label for yourself but I would encourage you to investigate further with an open mind. Take it from author Gillian Butler. She states “Clearly, shyness and social anxiety are close relatives. There is too much overlap in their symptoms and their effects, and there are many reasons to suppose that the strategies that have been shown to be helpful in overcoming social anxiety are also valuable for overcoming shyness".

So if you think you are socially anxious, don’t rule out joining a shyness group as you may find much in common with the people there. Similarly, if you think you are shy but not socially anxious, don’t miss out on a good resource like the book “Overcoming Social Anxiety” by Gillian Butler (more on that book below).


The Shyness FAQ at


answers the following question

“What is the difference between shyness & social phobia?

Generally speaking, the component of anxiety is much greater in people with social phobia than it is with shyness. Social phobics tend to avoid social situations to a greater extreme than shy people do. A social phobic may not be able to get themselves to go to a party, while a shy person may be able to go but may end up sitting alone for most of the evening.

People with social phobia, however, can be quite comfortable and seem outgoing in certain social situations, while avoiding or feeling intense anxiety in others.

In other words, the fear factor of social phobia seems to be more intense than it is with shyness, but shyness seems to be made up of more components, such as having difficulty smiling, making eye contact or knowing what to say to new acquaintances.”

has a good answer to the question “what is social anxiety?”


If you are unsure whether or not you have SA, and to what degree, why not complete the questionnaire - for information purposes only – it does not replace a consultation with a health professional - at


In my own case I haven’t sought the medical diagnosis of social anxiety as I don’t want to think of myself that way, but I have still been helped by reading books about SA. A good place to start reading more is the NHS leaflet on SA at


I would like to share on this small site how my own shyness has been improved by doing three things :-


1) Going to meetings in Glasgow and Edinburgh organised via the meets area of

 SA Scotland covers all of Scotland and I hope that once you have read this page you go straight over and register yourself there and join in. You can find me there posting under the name Aurora Sky. Even if you don’t feel ready or up to going to a meet you may still benefit from the discussion forum and the chatroom. One thing I should point out is that if you want to go to an SA Scotland meet it is nice to post beforehand and introduce yourself with a few words, so that people don’t feel you are a stranger to them.


Here is a little ad I created for SA Scotland a while ago (it didn’t generate many new members though but at least I liked it!) –



Do you suffer from extreme shyness or social anxiety? SA Scotland ( is a user led online community to ask for advice, chat with like-minded people, and find out more about regular offline meets.



Social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) relates to an excessive fear of scrutiny by other people, or a persistent fear of humiliation or embarrassment in social or performance situations. If you have SA you will often avoid these situations you find stressful or endure them with intense distress.


Do the following situations make you anxious?


Ø      public speaking (a very common one)

Ø      dating

Ø      speaking to strangers or meeting new people

Ø      asserting yourself (especially asking other people to change their behavior)

Ø      eating, drinking, or writing in public

Ø      fear of writing in public


If so, you’re not alone. Between 3 and 8 percent of the population suffer from SA.  Fortunately SA is eminently treatable using techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). However due to the perceived stigma about mental health problems few sufferers confide in friends and family, and the fear of humiliation and embarrassment prevents many from seeking medical help. That's where an online community, where people can discuss SA anonymously and with like minded people, is so valuable.


SA is a free, non-commercial web site run by fellow SA sufferers based in Scotland. You can ask questions there in complete anonymity, and learn from others working through the same SA issues as yourself. There is also the opportunity to participate in online meets or offline chats with like-minded people. If SA is an issue for you, why not visit SA Scotland?


Going to an SA Scotland Meet or Glasgow Shyness Support Group meet.

Over the past couple of years I have been to many SA meetings (meets for short) in Glasgow and Edinburgh organised through SA-UK, SA Scotland and now also through the Glasgow Shyness Group. The most common meet is simply a few of us getting together in a pub to discuss how things are going with us and to enjoy the conversation. Please don’t get the impression that we simply go on endlessly about our problems – if the conversation turns to SA issues that’s fine but mostly it’s just regular chat and a chance to do something social. I have always found people at the meets to be friendly and welcoming. Regular Glasgow venues include Firewater, The Old Printworks and The Crystal Palace (a Wetherspoons pub with very reasonable food). The most common starting point for an Edinburgh meet has been Frankensteins and often it has ended up in the rock pub Opium, although they aim for more variety. However it’s not just about going to the pub, we have tried going to museum, the theatre and several times to the cinema. I am now a regular at these meets and I have made some good friends through them - something that was in short supply when my SA was at it's worst. Once you feel able to go, I really recommend attending at least a couple to try them, they have been like an "instant social life" for me when I had little of my own.


If you feel you have a degree of social anxiety and are interested in forthcoming meets you may wish to join and then look for the meetings area of the discussion forum. Typically someone will suggest several dates and people will reply back stating which suits them best, or suggesting a location, and a consensus is reached. Once that is confirmed the organising person will then post a confirmation and if you need their mobile number to identify them at the location you can send them a PM (private message) through the site. This can be quite handy if, for example, you don’t want to go into a busy pub by yourself and would rather the organiser came out to meet you outside. If you have any questions about meets (such as how to recognise the group) please do post them on SA Scotland and someone will clear things up for you. If you don’t feel up to meeting a group of people you could also post and ask if anyone just wanted to meet for a coffee, meeting someone from the site one-to-one might be easier for you to begin with.


Glasgow Shyness Group meetings are not so well established as the SA Scotland ones, although I hope they will complement SA Scotland activity and not be seen as competition. The main difference is that they cater mainly for shy people, some of whom don’t see themselves as SA and therefore might not think an SA group was appropriate for them. Of course the socially anxious are welcome at the Shyness meets too.





2) Being part of the web community at the same site, and also reading posts at another site,

I don’t tend to post much at SA UK but I do read the posts from time to time when the headline interests me. I should caution however that some people have several thousand posts here, so it obviously has addictive properties J


I still post regularly at SA Scotland with the username Aurora Sky and enjoy the community feeling there. It’s nice to know when I have a problem with my SA that other people will be supportive about it and give advice from their own experience, or we can both simply have a good whinge or rant about our SA problems!



3) Reading three books which gave me much better insight into myself and the way my negative thoughts were affecting my emotions.
In helping my shyness I found three books very helpful and would recommend them all, particularly the Gillian Butler book which is worth reading and re-reading. If you are thinking of buying any of them I suggest you head over to Amazon and see the customer reviews for yourself. Reading any of the three is a good first step of action in getting a handle on your problem (n.b. I do not get commission when you buy a book, so I like to think I am impartial). The three books are:-

#1. Overcoming Social Anxiety: A Self-help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques by Gillian Butler.

This is the "bible" for the SA UK, it will explain so much about why you are the way you are and give ideas to improve your life. For £6.79 here is something that could change your life - IF you apply it.


Here is the review of that book I wrote in 2004. I’m a little embarrassed to say I haven’t practiced the CBT as often as I thought I would, but it’s still been very helpful to me.


120 of 122 people found the following review helpful:

Great place to start learning about SA, 3 May 2004
Reviewer: A reader
I've seen this book mentioned many times as a good self-help guide on two online SA communities ( and and on reading it I would recommend it to any SA sufferer. In particular, I think it would be really helpful for someone new to the topic of Social Anxiety, perhaps not sure whether or not they have it, and unclear about how they could use techniques from self-help CBT. There's lots of information here I am familiar with through learning from several web sites, but this book is a real timesaver - it might not have all you need to know about SA, but more than enough to understand your problem and begin to think of possible solutions. The book makes liberal use of lists of key points in bullet-point format, and has many boxes with examples of the terms being discussed, so it's quite understandable too. Rather than just use a jargon term such as "avoidance behaviour" it gives practical examples which you can then see if they apply to you.
For someone new to the subject just being able to recognise "Yes, that's what I've got" can be really helpful. Getting out of denial is the first step to tackling a problem you might have allowed to grow unchecked for years. SA has many signs and symptoms, affecting multiple areas - how you think, how you behave, on your body and emotions. This book helps you understand how these areas are interrelated, how they affect each other, and hence the things that need to be done to tackle the problem. It shows how many "vicious circles" are maintained - an example of a cycle would be

Avoid conversations with people -> Dread conversations -> Tend to blush when they happen -> Avoid the next conversation

Breaking out of these cycles of thinking/ feeling/ acting forms a major part of the book, which is divided into:-
 Changing thinking patterns
 Doing things differently
 Reducing self-consciousness
 Building up confidence (this can also occur through non-social activities)
These four sets of activities all complement each other, and can create a "virtuous circle" where even a small amount of time regularly spent can produce dramatic improvement. Examples are given of CBT-type exercises you can complete (I'd recommend buying a workbook or jotter to complete these in one place, rather than using scrap paper) such as a Thought Record, simply a table where you fill out each of the following categories:-
 Specific situation (think of a situation in which you use a safety behaviour)
 Prediction (what will happen if you do not keep yourself safe? How will you know if it happens?)
 Experiment (How will you find out? What will you do differently?)
 What actually happened? (What did you observe? Stick to the facts.)
 Conclusions (What does this mean?)
After the event you can then re-think your original belief - e.g. asking yourself how much you believe it now (from 0-100 per cent).

The book gives many examples of how our thinking can be faulty (all or nothing thinking, assuming the worst etc) and also how we can substitute better thoughts for the faulty ones (e.g. by thinking what a helpful friend or parent would say to you, or what you would say to a friend who had the same problem). Changing our perspective in this way can be really helpful, and I think it's similar to the idea of "self-parenting" where we come up with our own solutions and more positive ways of thinking about something.

A good idea the book gives is to create "flashcards" with a belief, assumption or negative thought on one side of the small card and a more healthy perspective in response on the other side. I think this would be really helpful for someone wanting to do something they found anxiety provoking (going to a family occasion, meeting someone of the opposite sex). As we all know, in the middle of a stressful situation the negative thoughts and feelings flow easily and thinking up a positive replacement can be much more difficult - having some "Blue Peter" examples which you prepared earlier could be really helpful.

The book is thoroughly grounded in good research and filled with practical advice - there wasn't anything I read that jarred with me or I viewed as author bias. At the same time the book was a little dry to read, not especially motivational for me, and I had the same feeling about completing the CBT exercise as I would about regularly eating oat bran - no doubt good for me but not especially fun. However the more I got into the book the more the tasks required seemed manageable, and believable, and I can see myself applying them in the coming months. If I spent even 30 minutes a day, five times a week, for two months I'm convinced I would progress a lot, so I'm "sold" on the concept of CBT in that sense.

I would say if someone was feeling very depressed they would probably be better off getting treatment for the depression before tackling CBT, and equally if someone felt able to do positive things (such as attending an SA meet or going out and doing something with friends) they'd be better off doing that than staying at home completing CBT exercises. For people in between, however, I think the exercises would be tremendously helpful. If you're not in a position to do anything social at the moment this book is excellent preparation for taking those first steps. If you are feeling a little better, are getting out a bit more, and feeling a bit brighter in general, I think this book will really complement and reinforce what you are doing. No hesitation in recommending this book for anyone with SA, or for anyone wanting to understand and help an SA friend or relative.”


#2. Diagonally Parked in a Parallel Universe: Working Through Social Anxiety by Signe Dayhoff.

I found this an easier read and less "dry" than the Butler book. I particularly liked how it covered two special situations which shy/SA people have difficulty with - job interviews and that whole process of marketing yourself, and moving from loneliness to dating.

#3. Beyond Shyness: How to Conquer Social Anxieties by Jonathan Berent and Amy Lemley.

This book covers some topics that the first two doesn't, and has several useful questionnaires which show to yourself the extent which SA and avoidance have impacted your life - a source of motivation and a great way to get out of denial. N.B. this book would be especially useful for the parent of an SA teenager/ young adult who worries about their child's socialisation and doesn't know what to do to help.

Additional Book Recommendation


If you are shy but not socially anxious, and feel like you could make friends but just don’t know how, then I would highly recommend the book “Personal Village” by Marvin Thomas – there’s a review of it at


which summarises different ways you can create a Personal Village as follows –


Wander around in your natural territory

Learn, remember, and use names

Establish regular ritual gatherings

Create or search out and attend celebrations

Play together, using the Principle of Seven: keep showing up--after approximately seven appearances, you will be considered a regular

Treat every person you meet with warmth, graciousness, and openness

Welcome every person you meet as an important person

Hang out with folks who share your values and interests

Join or start a coterie--a small group of people who all know each other and agree to meet regularly to give each other support

Participate: get involved in the activities of your community, and take leadership responsibility to get things started.


You can buy the book at


I plan to use the ideas from this book to help create my own “Personal Village” and the Glasgow Shyness Meetup Group is one way I hope to expand my social circle. Basically this book will show you things you can to in a planned and structured way to have more friendships in your life. There is an interview with the author at





Additional CD Recommendation – Anthony Robbins “Get The Edge”


There is much good advice available online and in books about making new friends and overcoming social anxiety. However, it’s the easiest thing in the world to read that information and understand it, but then not put it into practice. A resource I discovered recently is very good at teaching you how to motivate yourself. It applies not just to overcoming shyness but to anything you want to change in your life, such as your career, your weight and fitness, and your relationships. The resource is a set of ten CDs by Anthony Robbins called “Get The Edge” and I recommend it to anyone. It can be found at a reasonable price on Ebay (I paid £20 for a set of “Get The Edge” with a bonus programme called “Personal Power”).


Just to give a little flavour of the programme here are some notes I made from the first two CD’s, including a set of activities called “The Hour of Power” :-







My Story: Shyness and Me.


Being shy or having social anxiety is something that can be hard to admit to family, friends, or colleagues. I have included my story here in the hope that others might feel encouraged by it to take action on their problem, rather than accepting things as they are. While I no longer feel like an SA person I am still shy and working on things, but I wish I learned about SA much sooner and got myself informed. In time I want to make the web site I wish I had found 10 years ago. I have been shy as long as I can remember, and probably had social anxiety for many years without realising such a condition existed. My mother had SA I think as well as depression and neither had any friends (except pen-friends) nor would allow my father's friends to visit the house, and when I visited relatives I always felt very awkward. For a couple of years, when I was 13-15, I hung around with a bunch of neighbourhood kids but my role seemed only to be the butt of their jokes, and I didn't maintain contact when I left school. I managed to make it through four years of university with hardly any friends or relationships, and only occasionally went out as part of a group with the people who shared my dormitory kitchen or were in the karate club I joined. I would always arrive at the last minute for lectures and leave sharpish to avoid social situations, so much that someone in my 4th year kitchen refused to believe I had been at the (small) university at all!


After a couple of years of working I started going out for the occasional drink with three of my workmates, and we went to a few concerts and clubs too. As two got married and I lost contact with the third my social life dwindled to virtually nothing. I lived with my parents until they both died in 2001 and after that I often felt totally alone, as though I could die and who would notice or care, and this eventually took its toll on my health. Eventually stumbled across the web site SA UK ( and started spending time in the chat rooms there and buying books from Amazon (I would be too embarrassed to buy SA books in a bookshop!) on the subject. There were three books that I found particularly helpful in giving me insight into my condition. I didn’t post much on the SA UK discussion board for a long time, but I “lurked” a lot and read what others had to say and used the chatrooms sometimes too. Eventually I summoned the courage to go to my first SA UK meet in Glasgow (after a false start where I got to within 200m of the meeting point then turned around for home due to nerves). It was a relief to meet others with the same problems who were basically regular people that just had anxiety issues. More importantly, after I went to a few I found the meets very enjoyable as they weren’t just people groaning on about their problems. After a while a Scottish site started up,, and somehow I felt much more motivated to post there – perhaps because I had the chance to meet some of these people in person too, and also because the site began small and it was easy to get to know people. Since then I have gone to more and more meets, roughly one per month, which has really helped my anxiety about meeting new people. I find I have other things in common with my fellow SA Scotland members and I have an affinity for shy people, often preferring their company to more extrovert types.


To complement the SA meets and to reach shy people as well, I have created a support group at for shy people in Glasgow which is only just beginning.


Of course, someone reading this might think “Well his shyness is not as bad as mine if he can go to a meet”. And also some people have been to previous Glasgow and Edinburgh meets and not enjoyed them at all, either because they were too anxious or felt they couldn’t participate fully. There are many variations of shyness and SA and situations some people find impossible other can cope OK with, and vice versa. I have been able to hold down a job most of the time, I managed to hang on and get my degree, I am able to travel, which I know some people have struggled with. Some people with SA have been housebound, some have been able to have girlfriends or boyfriends while these are still far off for some people. I have realised that comparing myself to people either better or worse off is not the point, I can learn from other people's stories but can only compare with where I have been and appreciate each small win. I have such a long way to go but reaching out to others with SA has helped me feel less alone. I would encourage those reading this to do the same, to visit and participate in my friend’s site as much as you are able and hopefully we will be able to help each other cope a little better with our challenges.


I have written my story in the hope that some other people will feel able to relate (and so feel less alone), to spread the word about the three books mentioned above which I think can really help SA/shy people, and most of all to encourage shy people from Glasgow to join the support groups for shyness and social anxiety that are out there. In time I hope to develop this site further and make it more valuable for visitors (e.g. by answering some common questions about shyness/ SA) but for the moment I am focused on those objectives and I hope that reading this page today prompts you, if you have shyness or social anxiety, to admit your problem to yourself and decide you are not going to let it waste years of your life, as I floundered for several years before stumbling across SA UK.


Where next?


If you feel you have social anxiety as well as shyness, I do hope that you will join after reading this page, and perhaps once you are familiar with SA Scotland and the community of people there you will also consider coming along to a meet. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it may work for you. If you are shy I hope you will join the Glasgow Shyness Group at


If you have social anxiety and not just shyness, I should point out two things that I haven’t put in my story but which may be helpful for you. One is to see your doctor in order to perhaps get a diagnosis of social anxiety, and then discussing treatment options with him or her. Some people have found certain antidepressants, for example Paxil, to be helpful in reducing social anxiety. Other people have found that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has worked well although there is often a long waiting list for this on the NHS.


Since I’m not a doctor I’m not the person to advise on these, but if your SA is very severe and really hindering your life then it’s serious enough that you should consider speaking to your doctor about it. Several people have said that doing this was too anxiety provoking to contemplate, and so they suffered in silence for years. One small tip that may help is to write a note to hand to your doctor about your symptoms and how it’s affecting your life, rather than having to say it out loud. I haven’t pursued medical avenues myself but they may be the answer for you. Thanks for reading this far, and good luck in managing your shyness or social anxiety condition.



Researching Shyness and Social Anxiety Yourself


Once you realise that you have shyness and/or social anxiety you will maybe want to find out more about it and do some web searching. Of course, it’s easy to waste lots of time sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Maybe buying one of the three books mentioned above will be worthwhile because of all the time you save and because they are written in a coherent order. If you are researching yourself I recommend creating a Word document where you can cut and paste links, quotes or tips from what you find, otherwise you will forget it soon after reading it.


As a starting point for finding out more I would say start with


With a little bit of surfing I found the links below pretty quickly - but I haven’t taken the time to review them all for quality. These sites also have their own links to others so you could keep yourself quite occupied researching. For me personally though after lots of time wasted on self-help books and surfing I think it’s better to follow my own advice and read those three good books several times over, doing the exercises when I can, and so by repetition learning them thoroughly, than to dabble and read many things.



Friendship Links


People with moderate shyness may find that their anxiety is mild but they have practical difficulties in making friends. On the site AskMetafilter I found some good questions and answers about this subject –


“Help me learn to make friends when I don't feel like I deserve any.”


“How can an awkward guy make friends”


“I don’t have any friends”


“Making friends in a new neighbourhood”


“What are the little things I should do to deepen relationships from the good acquaintance level to true friend level? Why did your best friends become your best friends?”



I have found AskMetafilter a good site to get advice from others and benefit from collective opinions, so if you have questions of your own you’d like to get other people’s ideas about, I recommend you join at



Shyness and Social Anxiety Links


A self-help guide to shyness and social phobia produced by the NHS in Scotland. It’s several pages long but well worth printing out.


Shy United – A message board and discussion forum specifically for shy people. Lots of members from all over the world, but mostly the US, UK and Canada. A few Scots too but not that many.


Dating tips for shy people from Some good ideas from this article about not just meeting people in pubs and clubs –


“Here are some ideas for meeting other single people:

Classes: Cooking, photography, yoga, creative writing, dancing, etc. These classes can be found at community colleges, city recreation centers, adult education programs and many private organizations.


Sports: Soccer, volleyball, tennis, dancing, baseball, biking, rafting, roller-blading, canoeing, etc. If you do not know where to find the locale of a particular sports activity, find a local store that sells the equipment for that sport and ask the salespeople.


Online Dating: There are many online services to choose from. Proceed cautiously, if you agree to meet the person. Talk on the phone first then meet briefly in a public place. Do not give out any personal information such as your full name, address, place of work, etc. until you know the person first. If you are a teen tell your parents and a few close friends if you are planning to meet a stranger. Let the stranger know that you have done this.


Communities: Many single people these days belong to a community of people with similar interests who like to participate together in a particular activity. These are often warm and friendly places to meet new people. Meditation, Sierra Club, biking, book groups, self-help activities such as 12 step programs, online communities.


Volunteer Work: Food banks, Children's shelters, service clubs, etc.”


Shy people often aren’t at their best in a noisy pub so think more widely about where to meet new people. For example several years ago I took a meditation course at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre (I’m not a Buddhist but thought it would help with stress management) and met some nice people there. While I didn’t make any new friends I did enjoy the conversation. Equally I am doing Spanish classes at the moment and enjoy the chance to practice my social skills during the break in the middle of the class. Glasgow and Strathclyde universities have lots of interesting evening classes such as art appreciation, creative writing and languages so get their catalogues (I think classes usually start in September or January so the catalogues come out some time before that. I would recommend doing things you are interested in first and then if you make friends it’s a bonus. However if your primary aim is to meet someone of the opposite sex then you could choose accordingly e.g. there are likely to be more women at a yoga class and more men at a car maintenance class I would guess. I should mention that when I was a student most of the friends I had at University was through attending a karate club. Bonus: I was much fitter too than I am now J


Frequently Asked Questions about shyness.,-Make-Friends-and-Be-a-Good-Friend


Here is a list of links which I found on the SA Scotland site itself (I’ve just cut and pasted them over to highlight them), maybe some of these will be useful for you too.


Links for Social Anxiety


NHS 24= 08454 242424




Click here to check out
The Glasgow Shyness Support Group!



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