Dealing with Shyness.....

Hi all - I have lurked here quite a while, posted occasionally here or there, but never with anything that hit too close to home. The reason being is quite simply that I am shy. Painfully shy. Once I get to know someone and establish a basic level of trust with them, I can and do open up, but until them I am VERY, VERY quiet. I am good in one on one interaction. I am not good at dealing with crowds of people, even with friends. I am not good at meeting new people. I can not conceive of going up to a stranger and asking them out. You could sooner ask me to fly.

I am at a position in my life where everything except my social life is going great. I have a job that pays well (and includes my rent) so I am finally saving money and paying off my debts. I realize that is no small miracle in these tough economic times and I am very grateful for that. I get to live in a great city (San Francisco) for free. I work for a small local business and the owner is very hands off. I am second in command so I am very much my own boss most of the time. I like this, but it is a huge time commitment and I do have a personal leash (cell phone) which can go off 24/7. I also work weekends and have weird days off.

The problem is I’m so lonely, and I feel trapped. Trapped by my own fears and insecurities. I just can’t get through my own walls. This is a problem even with good friends. I once had a person whom I considered my best friend tell me he didn’t feel close to me because I didn’t open up to him! I try but the damned fear of rejection is just so strong. And the subject of me and the opposite sex, well that’s a whole lengthy other subject, but lets just say that my track record is pretty piss poor there.

I figure the nature of this (fairly) anonymous message board encourages other shy people to speak so to those of you out there - what do you do to help overcome this? To reach out to someone even though it is like dipping your hand in acid when you do? To actually connect to people and not just superficially? As it is now, I just feel such a disconnect with the rest of the world. Any advice you can give would help, thanks.

Please note this is not a call for sympathy, but just advice.

I’ll give you some of my un-shyness. Most people think I have just the teensiest bit of excess.

I’m the same way, i’m shy (except i’m open on the internet) until i get to know someone.

There is a difference between shyness & introversion. shy people want to interact but can’t. Introverted people don’t want to interact to begin with. You’d have to find out which you are.

I have no good advice, i doubt there is much good advice for serious personal problems other than try CBT, medications or some self help books. Shyness by philip zimbardo is supposedly a groundbreaking work. I’m trying to read it, but its pretty boring. No substance.

Can I have some too, Opal?

You sound alot like me, Realitytrip. I’m twenty-one years old and don’t have a social life at all due to being too shy and awkward. The biggest problem is that my shyness even extends to my work life as well. I’m so timid that I’m scared off of trying for better jobs and even higher education. I can definitely empathize.

If anyone needs some shyness, I have quite a lot to offer. The feeling is really awful - you just want to be part of the group, say something to a stranger but there is a mental barrier. I dare not talk to strangers, especially salepersons at the shop counter, if I am alone or not with someone I know well.