I am not sure why you think shyness is a flaw, so I have no idea what specifically to speak on here. Shyness is not an inherently bad thing, but it may hold bad connotations because shyness is often connected with things like fear, being sneaky or secretive, and having low self-esteem. While sometimes these things come hand-in-hand, sometimes they do not.
I am a painfully shy, socially anxious, and introverted person, and this is especially apparent in face-to-face contact. Do hear me out, but remember that not everyone experiences or exhibits traits and feelings the same way. Here are some things that come to mind when I talk about my own shyness and introversion:
- I have a harder time opening up and being comfortable around other people, especially strangers. If I am somehow conned into going to a party or other social function, odds are that I will be surrounded by strangers or people I am not personally close with (and am therefore uncomfortable around). I will either lurk in a corner and do everything in my power to leave as soon as possible, or I will latch on to whomever I am closest with or whomever I feel I can tolerate and generally refuse to leave their side. Even if it is only an acquaintance from work or from back in high school, I would rather be with someone who makes me mildly uncomfortable than be around people who make me intensely uncomfortable.
- I frequently explain my shyness by saying simply that “I hate people,” but this is not literally true. Shyness is not a fear or hatred of other people, but a general discomfort with things like making small talk, lots of people talking around me, and being put on the spot by a sudden question. People have told me that I frequently look surprised when someone asks me a question, often because my brain is now in overdrive as I try to formulate a response in a reasonable amount of time. Most often, I look surprised because I have been caught thinking, daydreaming, or otherwise distancing myself from my surroundings.
- Similar to the above, sometimes people think I am moody, disinterested, or even upset with them because I take time to think before I speak. Where you might ask a more forward or extroverted person the same question at the same time as me, you are probably more likely to get a response faster from them than you will from me. For some people, this makes them feel like I am not interested in what they have to say, am not invested in the conversation, or that I have bigger things to think and worry about. This is not (always) true.
- I have a hard time sitting still when I am around other people, so I fidget a lot in the company of others. I keep things like paperclips, marbles, coins, and such in the left-hand pockets of my jackets and things so that I have something to fiddle with while out in public, and I keep them around because they are a less obtrusive and annoying way for me to work off nervous energy. If I am missing such an object, I might drum my fingers against the table or armrest, tap my foot, pull at the fraying hems on my shirt or sleeves. I would rather have my marble, though, since this tends to draw less attention to me than me somehow wiggling around the bus.
- I do not like being the center of attention, so I tend not to speak very loudly, interrupt, or make an especially hard effort to make my opinions known. I do not volunteer for things and glare at people who volunteer me against my will. Doing something like dragging me to karaoke night and throwing me the mic will make me hate you.
- Even once you have inspired my ire, I still will not go out of my way to make it obvious that I hate you. I will make your life miserable through more subtle means: making sure you get the uncomfortable seat in my car, pretending not to hear you when you ask me to pass the salt, dallying a bit longer than necessary when you ask me to do something, or (if I really truly hate the ground you walk upon) outright refusing to do something for you.
- I tend not to make big shows of myself or my emotions while with others. This is not to make me sound robotic: I do smile, laugh, frown, etc., but if my group starts singing and dancing in the middle of the streets, you can expect me to pick up a magazine and wait it out on the park bench. This does two things: saves me from having to participate in something that makes me uncomfortable, and gives me something to do so that no one will come up and ask me why those fools are yelling about freedom and constructing a barricade with café chairs.
- I become very self-aware around people, and the degree to which I analyze my posture and movements is inversely proportional to how well I know the people I am with. Around complete strangers I have little to no knowledge of, I vigilantly police things like how I sit (am I slouching? will they think I am lazy?), where I place my hands (is it strange for me to have my hands in my lap, or should they be on the table? will I look more relaxed with my arms stretched out on the couch, or will that take up too much space?), where my head is pointing (if I space out, will it look like I am staring at someone or something I shouldn’t be?), that sort of thing. Around close friends, I relax much more.
- As an introvert, being around other people wears me out. If you are an extroverted person, you may experience the opposite effect: you may like being around other people because it energizes you, where being alone wears you down. I draw my energy from being alone. I do not hate socializing, but I can only do it for so long before I get tired and need to be alone for a while. You might hear it described as introverts needing to “recharge” after social interaction, and I find that to be true in myself.
One big reason I have for doing all these things comes from the question of “What will other people think of me if…?” To some extent, I do worry about how others perceive my actions and behavior, and that influences how I act and behave. It is not a question of “Will people like me if…?” The point of shyness is not to connive my way into peoples’ hearts. Shyness is about making sure I feel comfortable in situations that make me uncomfortable.
EDIT—crimsonrebel brought up a great point that I have forgotten about: I hate telephones with a passion. I hate "coldcalling" people and I hate answering the house phone, and will almost never do so of my own volition. I have similar anxieties about answering an unexpected ring at the door, especially if I am home by myself.
How does shyness or introversion show itself in you, tumblbuds?
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