Firstly, it’s okay to be shy, and it’s also okay not to be shy either!
It’s really hard to write a post about being shy, because I’m not so much any more. I was shy in the most extreme way possible (I was once called the ‘office loner’. To this day I refuse to have birthday parties because I hate being the centre of attention (it’s to do with letting people down, and ‘does everyone really want to be here?’ more than shyness now!).
In my ‘shy days’, I barely spoke unless in the company of a small group of friends, and I was always fairly quiet, happy but quiet. I’m still more of a listener now, but if you’re not shy or you’ve never really battled with it, here is some food for thought:
- We do have opinions, and sometimes we’re overly quiet because we don’t want to interrupt your train of thought
- We don’t challenge others, not because we’re not intelligent enough or afraid of the confrontation, but all that negative energy is draining. Negativity is so pointless
- We’re not stupid or uneducated AND we don’t think you are stupid or uneducated
- We’re not NOT making an effort, but when there are eight people all clamouring for attention, it seems silly to interject or we wouldn’t know what to say
Nowadays, I probably sit somewhere in the middle of shy and super confident (it also comes with age!). One thing I always do, is talk to the quietest person in our group whether I know them well or not, mostly because I have been in their position and because they sometimes have insanely brilliant opinions. Some of the ‘shyest people in public’ people I know are the most hilarious!
When I was crazy shy, I wouldn’t take risks, I would sit quietly, do my job, let the day pass, but for what? Travel helped, and music, and weirdly, social media.
Traveling alone REALLY helped.
A tiny word of advice:
- You don’t HAVE to use the internet as a safety blanket, because that person making those self confident remarks on twitter (but not real life), is still you.
- Make lists of what you want to achieve (like a shyness bucket list), whether it’s just saying ‘hello’ to a cashier instead of avoiding eye contact one week, then telling a stranger in a fitting room her dress looks nice the next, build it up, slowly. Strangers are easier to approach because you NEVER have to see them again.
- You don’t have to worry so much about what people think, because most people are thinking about themselves, not a constant stream negative thoughts about others.
- Take risks, travel when you can, laugh more, be happy and (safely) talk to strangers because life is too short.
Have any of you suffered with shyness? How did you overcome it? How do you deal with it?