Is Shyness Genetic?

can shyness be overcome

If you are wondering “Is shyness genetic?” then you need to read every word of this article. On this page I’ll reveal to you what the REAL cause of shyness is and if it is possible for you to ever stop being shy.

The short answer to the question is that shyness isn’t genetic in the sense that it is something that you cannot change. Shyness is not a part of your DNA that you are stuck with for the rest of your life like your hair color or eye color.

However, shyness may have been CAUSED by your genetics. Some of your genes may have made it more likely that you would eventually become shy as a young child or as you grew up.

So shyness is not a part of your genes, but your genes may have had something to do with causing your shyness. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one. Let me explain it more…

Shyness Does Not Have Any One Single Cause

It is very difficult to answer a question like “Is shyness genetic?” because shyness does not have any one single cause that you can define and point to.

Shyness may be caused by a variety of factors that work together. These include your genetics, your experiences in childhood, the culture you grew up in, and many more. They are too many to go into here, but I’ve written another article on the issue.

The main thing to realize is that shyness is not something that is fixed into your genes. It is not a disease that is physically inside of you. Shyness may have been caused by your genetics, but it is not a part of you like your hair color.

Shyness Is Also Not A Personality Trait

If shyness is not genetic, then what is it? Is it a personality trait?

No, shyness is not a part of your personality. I want to clear a common mistake many shy people make. And that is assuming shyness is “who you are”.

Maybe when you were young someone told you, “You are shy.” This made you think that shyness was a personality trait, like being athletic or smart.

But think about it: are you shy all the time? Even around your closest friends? Are you more or less shy when talking to a family member vs. someone you find attractive.

If you examine your behaviour closely, you’ll find that your shyness is not fixed. You may be super outgoing around one or two people. Around other people you don’t know well it may be impossible to think of anything to say.

So what does this mean?

It means that shyness is not a personality trait you have. Shyness is more of a reaction that happens in certain situations.

Shyness isn’t something you are. It’s something you feel, sometimes. So stop turning shyness into an unchangeable identity and telling yourself “I am shy. This is who I am.”

Shyness Is Changeable

Now that you know shyness isn’t genetic or a part of your personality, you can finally start to realize the truth.

Shyness is a behaviour you learned. And anything that is learned can also be unlearned. You CAN overcome your shyness instead of thinking that it is genetic or “just who you are.” Realize that shyness is situational and absolutely changeable.

Who am I to tell you this? My name is Sean Cooper and I overcame my own shyness. Now I teach people all around the world how to do the same.

I put together an ebook called “The Shyness and Social Anxiety System,” which is available for immediate download. In it, I reveal all my best secrets for “unlearning” your shyness. You’ll never think it’s genetic or a part of you again once you start seeing your new, outgoing personality emerging. Find out more here.

Go back to the How To Overcome Shyness series.

About the author

Sean Cooper

I study all areas of psychology, sharing what works (and what doesn't) for overcoming shyness and social anxiety. After curing my own severe social anxiety I created "The Shyness and Social Anxiety System" to help others. This program has received stunning reviews from psychologists and people like you.

Now it's my life's mission is to help 25,000 people get the confidence, friends and romantic partner you want!

Read more about me here.


  • Im so glad that someone finally pointed out on an article that shyness is not genetic .
    As a shy person it really does frustrate me when i come accross people that declare shyness is a personality trait , and its who you are .

    How can someone who feels uncomfortable around certain people be there real self .

    I have always lacked confidence towards anyone i dont know r not close with even if i try to be comfortable i cant , instead get this pressure in my head .
    Which leads me to believe its genetic .

    Im a completly differerent person around my close friends , relatives, family members , im the real me , i say what i feel and think , i feel comfortable and am not self consious then .

    I have struggled with my lack of confidence all my life its really frustrating thing i have to live with .

    I just wish i could be comfortable around everyone .

    • You know, God can change it all for you. If you really want to become more comfortable around people who you don’t know well, just read the Bible and ask God to help you.

      Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek with all your heart”

      2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-control”

  • I really want to get out of my shell, i am now in college and about to graduate , i know i really need it in my job, but i feel so hopeless and often times shyness causes me depression because i don’t know if i will still be successful in fulfilling my dreams.. it really pisses me off because i find it hard to get the girl i want and to make a lot of friends… and most of the time people tend to hate me because they think im arrogant

  • Hi Sean,
    Over the years I have learned that babies can be born with DRD4, which is commonly referred to as, “The Shy Gene.” I will have to disagree with you, and add that it can be a combination of Nature/Nurture. In addition, one can grow out shyness due to age and exposure to people/experiences, while others may never grow out of it.

    I would know from personal experience; I inherited it from my dad ;^)

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