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I turn really, really red

Suzie wrote:

When I'm in the center of attention I turn red and than I mean really really red.

Because of this I'm afraid to speak up in class and in groups of people. Please help, this is really bothering me.

Dear Suzie

There's no easy answer here.

Most people flush to some extent when embarassed; some more than others, some it's almost a medical condition. Either way, there's no quick shortcuts to stopping it.

It's part of who you are, and, though I know you won't believe this, it really doesn't matter. Even those who tease you will have moved on to something seconds later.

In most cases, it's a matter of confidence. So there's some things you can do.

Take control

Volunteer to speak early - that way, you get it over with, you might get to choose what you talk about, and the terror doesn't build up as you try to avoid being called on.

Make a point of speaking in small groups where you feel safe; this helps to familiarize yourself with the experience, and makes it less of an issue for other people (so less teasing).

On another level, practise speaking. Make eye contact with yourself in a mirror, speak slowly, clearly, from memory.

And always remind yourself "This is what I am; I'm no better or worse than anyone else" - And always make eye contact - that way, you are speaking to one person, and only one person.

It will get easier - but it will not go away completely, any more than your eyes will change colour.

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