This entry is based on a subscriber’s request, wanting me to dive into the subject of overcompensating when trying to be more social.

Freezing up. Not being able to say what you want. Leaving a situation in public when it feels uncomfortable to you.

These are the obvious behaviors of someone with shyness and social anxiety.

But did you know that the opposite can happen?

This is what overcompensating is when having social anxiety.

Trying to cover it up, even though underneath you’re really uncomfortable.

I remember doing this at times, though in general I was on the shy end of the spectrum when social anxiety used to rule my life.

It’s someone making their best effort to be social by “doing social”. Here are some example behaviors that might happen when someone is overcompensating:

Talking too much
Introducing themselves excessively/aggressively
Jumping into conversation aggressively so it’s awkward
Overuse of eye contact
Eyes darting around the room
Jerky movements, can’t sit still
(Add your own to the list…)

Some of you might be saying “how can this be? Isn’t everyone just shy and quiet when they have social anxiety?”

The answer: many are, but others swing between the ends of the spectrum.

Believe me it does happen, because I’ve experienced it, know others that have done this type of overcompensating behavior, and coached around this very issue.

To other people out in public, at a party, at work, or where ever you are, this behavior doesn’t come across as shy obviously; it comes across as nervous and unsure behavior. So people will think “why is she so nervous?” or “what’s the deal with that guy?”

They literally respond to what you project.

So the internal thoughts and feelings are what you need to work with (actually behavior can be categorized as internal, too, but for simplicity we keep to describing the internal as “thoughts/feelings.”

NOTE: the video on this entry is special to Social Expression subscribers, not all videos will appear on the YouTube channel. ¬† If you’re new here, make sure¬†to subscribe to the Social Expression newsletter to get exclusive updates.


That’s why learning social skills isn’t nearly as important as one might think.

I’m not going to say it’s not important to learn social skills, but as you can see with overcompensation people have the social skills but are overusing them.

Now I have to give credit where credit is due, for anyone making their best attempts to be social when overcompensating.

It’s actually a good thing, because you’re not practiced at it, and acting in spite of the automatic negative thoughts and feelings.

It will get better as you practice more, and don’t let the fact that you’re nervous stop you.

It’s key to learn how to dissolve the social anxiety underneath. There isn’t a magical trick to do this.

It takes consistent practice and action using things like meditation, rational statements and affirmations, proper breathing among a host of other practices that can be used to overcome social anxiety.

That’s why the DSA program was developed, to support people in doing that with the right practice, a solid system and my support as someone who’s gone through the recovery process, now serving to coach and mentor others.

DSA has the flexibility to help you with  information you need, and most importantly the methods to design the practices you need to change.

If you can think of any other overcompensating behaviors, feel free to add them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.