DECREE N.338 MITF005006

Project "I'm too shy"

Introduction. Shyness: what is it?

Shyness can be defined as a difficulty to respond adequately to several social issues. It represents a permanent and usual way of being and it is characterized by a regular inclination of "staying hidden" and by a struggle of taking steps in a social context. 

Shyness is characterized by feelings of anxiety and behavioural inhibition that reflect the beliefs of being judged before, throughout and after the occuring of social issues. 


In a shy behaviour you can identify:


  • an emotional aspect: emotions relating to a physiological activation of the body .
  •  a cognitive aspect:  beliefs concerning itsel before, throughout and after a social issue. 
  • a behavioural aspect: difficulty in implementing behavioural responses in specific social issues. 


At rhe root of shyness, you can find peculiar  patterns that keep this behaviour unaffected :


  • the approaching/distancing conflict : the desire to get in relation with the surrounding environment and with the others, but you don't know how to do it.
  • the slow mechanism of relational approach: you need time dilation to establish relationships
  • limited comfort zone: limited repertoire of actions and strategies in several social issues.


Social Phobia and shyness are both defined - according to psychological literature- with similar charachteristics and include somatic symptoms ( i.e. shivering, sweating and flushing sensations), cognitive symptoms ( i.e. fear of negative judgment by other people) and behavioural symptoms ( i.e. reluctance in establishing social interactions). Despite these aspects are shared by both psychological constructiions, the relation between shyness and social phobia is still unclear. In addition to this, according to some experts, shyness results as a condition that belongs to common personality and for this reason it doesn't have to be confused with a form of pathology, such as social phobia.  (Bernardo J. Carducci et al., 1999; M. B. Stein, 1996).

Therefore, shyness doesn't represent a form of pathology, because a shy person- after being embarassed at first- generally can satisfactorily adapt to a given situation. Psychological Studies have already recognized that a proper emotional literacy and a  preventive action on  depressive thought could avoid - among shy people- the development of a future form of  social phobia.


Shyness at school

Shyness is not only a synonym of difficulty and disease, but also embraces a   series of qualities  and abilities that, if properly used, can become an advantage , for example more attention.

At school, difficult relationships can have consequences not only towards schoolmates but also towards teachers, and all this can give origin to a loop with causing disadvantages to the shy person. The fear og being juded by others, before, after and during a performance can shift the attention of the young person on himself and not on the performance, increasing in this way the possibility of the fulfilment of his fears.


The project  TIMIDISSIMO ME ( in English "I AM TOO SHY") is aimed to reduce negative feelings that can accompany the young person during several social occasions. The project is structured in frontal meetings alternately with true simulations in order to put into practice what you are going to learn during these sessions. 



The project's goal consists in giving the students new instruments of communication in their social interactions, starting with their own emotional awareness in order to make new friends and challenge themselves in the school environment and elsewhere. 


Programme of the project

The project is divided into 8 group sessions, each lasting 90 minutes. 

I session – Emotional literacy : recognize and mention the feelings.

II session - The  ABC method and the connection between thought and emotion.

III session - Analysis of the emotional aspect: feeling concerning to a physiological activation of the body.

IV session - The cognitive aspect: beliefs related to itself before, throughout or after a social issue. 

V session – Testing of the behavioural aspect: difficulty in putting into practice behavioural responses related to a proper social context.

VI session - Analysis of the mechanisms that keep shyness unaffected.

VII session - Introduction of communication and proxemics strategies.

VIII session - Testing of the acquired skills.





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