Re: really shy around strangers
I am 56 and have always been very shy to the point of having social phobia and not being able to do things socially where I might meet people I don't know (especially men). My uncle suggested something to me that might work for you. He told me to leave the house every day and go somewhere, grocery store, mall, some kind of shop and speak to someone I don't know. I don't have to carry on a long convesation just a few words to get myself used to speaking with strangers. Like if you go to a grocery store and you see a person picking out fruit you might go up to them and ask a question like "Excuse me, do you know where the xxxxx(whatever item you want to choose) is?" They'll either say they don't know or they will say "Oh, sure, it's on aisle 14 right next to the peanut butter" and they won't think a thing about it. Then you can say "Thank you" and move on. You don't have to speak to everyone in the store but if you want to try one or two more people that's great but if not consider the job done & go home.
And keep telling yourself you are just as good as anyone else and you don't have to feel embarassed just because you blush. I do that too, in fact my face and all down my neck to my chest gets red and splotchy. Nothing I can do about that. If someone wants to make fun of me then I know they are not the type of person that I want to spend my valuable time with or on.
If you work at changing the automatic thoughts that make you embarassed you will feel more comfortable and probably not blush as often.