When I was growing up I was SO shy that I COUND NOT answer the phone. The thought of talking to someone had me break out in cold sweats. I didn't participate in group activities and would often find a place where I could just sit and watch all that was happening.
Around the fifth grade, I started to make some friends, but didn't say too much. After about six months hanging around, I would begin to interact with these kids. Whenever I needed to use the phone, I had to literally write down all my questions and all my information, INCLUDING my name, address, and phone number. This is sadly true.
This continued through high school. I would get so sick before a oral report, that I would either leave the room or just not show up for class. The only people I would talk to were friends. And with my friends, I would talk up a storm.
After high school, I got a job as a teacher's aide and was also the computer coordinator for an elementary school district. I taught computer classes and helped students with math, spelling, science, etc. I was nervous for the first two days teaching the computer classes, but that subsided pretty quickly.
In the Navy, I had to use the phones all the time. While I was stationed in San Diego, I had to report in to a central station to report that everything was all secure. I had to give my report in a special way, but it was all written down for me. After that I started to relax on the phone and no longer stumbled over my words. I was also able to start conversations with other Navy shipmates without the discomfort I felt before.
After I got out of the Navy, my shyness started to return and I'm back to the point that I am really shy in meeting people. The only difference this time is that I have no problem talking on the phone and online chatting is not a problem either.
So, what I need help with is this: How do I get over my shyness to meet people in real life?