Who else is shy and why are you shy

There is a stereotype that shy people really want to interact, but they all have social anxiety. i don’t believe this is true. For me, i can speak up in class with less anxiety than many extroverted people. But i cannot bring myself to ‘communicate’ with people. I think this is really shutting alot of doors in my life. Girlfriends, friends, new options, new info, i feel like i’m missing all of it. But for me, its not a question of ‘go out and interact’ because for some reason interacting is just as traumatic as being isolated. Interacting feels artificial, invasive and forced. Isolation feels barren and lacking. So i am not sure what to do.

I think that deep down inside i don’t want people to ‘know’ me. I don’t want to give any info that would let people know me, or what i am, or who i am, or anything. Maybe i’m really ashamed of myself deep down inside and fear being unmasked. i am not sure. But i know i more or less acted in ways that showed i didn’t want people to ‘know’ me when i was 4 or 5. So maybe i need to learn to interact without letting people know me. Maybe i need to accept myself better. Who knows. anyone else have experience with this?

and to me interacting on the internet isn’t the same as in person. on the internet, i have so much control over who, what, when where how & why i talk that the forced & invasive feelings disappear. I can talk to very attractive women, people with Ph.Ds, 14 year olds, rich people, etc. Its a different environment online.

maybe i should look up some places where i can interact with people locally via the internet. if things work out perhaps we could become friends. I don’t mean like a dating service, just one where people of either sex meet. but i am not sure of any like that, most of those services are dating services, and i am not interested in being rejected by 50 women to get to 1.

Maybe you should look into going to a Dopefest in your area? You’d have something in common with them and I’m reliably informed they’re a lot of fun.

I used to fit the stereotype completely. I desperately craved social interaction and, in the privacy of my own head, I was witty, charming, and personable–until I opened my mouth and tried it in person. I felt like such a dolt–which was reinforced by my mom (there goes another stereotype :slight_smile: ), so I just pined away for a long time. Then, about a year after my mom died, I just started to open up. It did feel a little artificial at first, but as I started to make friends and get closer to them, it got easier and felt much better.

Of course, none of this carried over to dating! When I split with my ex and started online dating, I found it to be the most liberating experience ever. I could completely be myself and not worry about the sweaty palms and blushes because email is the great equalizer.

I went the route of online dating and it worked very well for me and helped me to open up more with others and I’m not shy at all anymore. I think the Dopefest idea something you might want to try–or see if there’s a Yahoo group for area dopers so you can chat with locals.

Ive always been considered pretty quiet, and I usually am unless I am with my friends. I used to really hate it, and for a long time I tried to get myself to be more extroverted, but it was impossible and I always ended up sounding stupid and fake when I tried it.

Eventually I just accepted the fact that I was quiet, and I even began to see that as a good quality. Quiet people are usually more perceptive, and most often smarter than talkative people. Also, they are much less likely to say something stupid.

I’m a fairly shy person, though not as much as I used to be. I’ve basically been shy as long as I can remember. I think mainly it’s just insecurity. By the time I’ve finally managed to phrase something so I don’t sound like an idiot, the conversation has passed over that topic entirely and gone to something else, and I have to try ahd phrase something again, and the same thing happens. Internet works well for me, because I can edit like crazy. :smiley:

Fellow shy internet-lover here. I used to be incredibly phobic in social situations (reading something out loud, from my desk, once sent me into a full-blown panic attack.) It’s getting better, but I’m still definitely shy.

I know for absolute certain three factors in my shy-ness. My older sister is a chronic overachiever, especially in math and sciences. I usually manage to pass math courses: they’re my Achille’s heel. In elementary school, I was the best (academically) at everything else, not math. That’s why I’m always being told my participation is lacking in math class - insecurity. I somehow, very early on, developed the mentality that if I can’t get the right answer, perfect, first try, I shouldn’t say anything. Somewhere around sixth grade, I realized I didn’t know anything, and basically stopped speaking.

Reason two: I’ve always been an observer, noticing the little things everyone else overlooks. I’m turned it to my advantage, since I discovered that lots of sitting and watching and listening drastically helps my writing - characterization, plot, and just interaction between character. A hobby of mine is going to the mall, sitting in the food court, and just watching people and taking notes. Seriously. I tend to get caught up in that, and often don’t realize that I am secluding myself and not talking.

When I was little, I had horrible speech problems: I stuttered and could not pronounce ‘r’ sounds at all. It took about five years of steady speech therapy to get over that, and I still have a slight, but detectable, problem in those areas. If I’m stressed out, it gets worse. One of my closest friends is SGO president at her school, and school board representative for the BoE. Those both required speeches and formal interviews. In, in contrast, had a college interview recently, and had to stop four times to take a deep breath, and re-find my speech pattern.

Other factors: I get distracted very easily, and a minute later, will be totally lost in a conversation, a combination of reasons 1 and 2 above. Also, I think I can relate to you, Calculus, in not really wanting people to know me. I have serious issues with my own emotions, and my thought process is something like “If I don’t completely understand and like what I’m feeling, why the hell should I give anyone else a clue?”

Likewise, in online situations, I’m fine. As I’m typing this, I have 5 AIM windows open. Two of them are friends-of-friends who I greatly like, but I’m terrified to meet them IRL. I think it boils down to being afraid of rejection in this instance: if they meet me, and see that I’m a short, scrawny, stuttering kid who looks younger than 17, it’ll be instant rejection.

So, yeah, that’s my (more than) two cents worth. YMMV, of course.

I’m chronically shy! Until you get to know me, I’ll just be this quiet, but nice, guy in the corner.
I pretty much know exactly why I’m so shy - I had aphasia when I was younger, caused by a pretty traumatic event. For those that don’t know, apahasia a brain condition which inhibits the communication part of the brain… so much so, in fact, that it’s virtually impossible to speak intelligible sentences or to understand what people are saying to you. With more extreme symptoms you can’t read or write either.
For a few years of my youth, I was bullied and tortured and couldn’t communicate with people, all i could do was become very very very good at reading body language, read and write a lot, and do physical things like sports. (It didn’t help going to a boys boarding school - real Tom Brown’s Schooldays sort of stuff)
So, nowadays, even though I’m an intelligent, articulate, good looking chap, I have tremendous trouble talking with strangers and prefer my own company to all those except my girlfriend of the moment.

The Meyer’s - Briggs (sp?) personality sorter has been a pretty common area of discussion on the boards so I will assume people know what I am talking about.

One of the four personality areas the sorter identifies is the introvert / extrovert scale. The definitions for introvert and extrovert as they are used in this test are a little different than the ususal way you hear them used. This measure essentially indicates where you get your energy. Extroverts get energy from interacting with others. These are people who go to a party and have more energy an hour later than when they arrived. Introverts on the other hand get thier energy from solitude. Interacting with others drains the introvert and an hour at a party, even with minimal interaction, can drain them to the point of exhaustion.

Many people who get labeled as “shy” are really just exreame introverts. Most people feel free to judge extreame introverts and tell them they need to change because they can’t relate to this type of individual. 75% of the population are extroverts. Another part of the population are close to neutral on this scale. So significantly less than 25% of the population are extreame introverts.

There is nothing wrong with these people. They live perfectly happy existences. But because things that are “fun” for the extroverts are not “fun” for them they are seen as weird. Very often they are made to feel weird. This is especially true of the teenage years. If somebody doesn’t want to go to parties or “hang at the mall” then they are ostricised. Or worse yet they get taken on as a project by some well meaning extrovert who wants to teach them how to be more outgoing.

The funny thing is that if you get an introvert into a small group setting or in a assigned role they are more comfortable being the center of attention than most extroverts. Many actors and especially stand up commedians are introverts. Once they are on stage they are no longer a part of the crowd, they are again alone and so in their comfort zone.

So if you are one of these “chronically shy” people and have not taken the personality sorter I strongly encourage it. It can help you understand why you are the way you are and that the way you are is a perfectly acceptable way to be. It can also help you identify the types of situations to avoid as well as the types of social situations to pursue.

I am an extreame introvert and my precise personality type makes up less than 1% of the total population. For perspective consider a typical class size of 30 people. About 22 or 23 of those will be extroverts. Another 1 or 2 will be neutral. leaving 5 or 6 introverts. And as far as the chances of me meeting another INTP in such a randomly constituted class, they are pretty slim. You would have to get more than 100 people together (statistically speaking) to get even one of us and more than 200 for there to be two of us.

But in a crowd of 200 people the both of us are going to be looking for the nearest exit and we would never meet any way.

Degrance made some very valid points which I feel describe me accurately. I have always been shy. I don’t know where it started. Perhaps the fact that I was the only boy in my family has something to do with it. I had no brothers to do boy-oriented activities with, and I had my own bedroom, so I learned to play mostly on my own, plus, there were few other kids around my age in my neighborhood when growing up. As early as the first grade I can remember being shy. I didn’t really like to interact with most other kids. They wanted to do things that I didn’t want to do and vice versa. The other kids also had trouble accepting me because I didn’t want to play in sports or get into superhero comics, etc. I had my own “nerdy” hobbies and this isolated me from the crowd. The other kids identified me as an outcast, so this reinforced my aversion towards approaching other people. Even as an adult I don’t engage in much conversation with other people and I mostly keep quiet and alone with my thoughts. I don’t mind being in a small group or with family, where I feel more comfortable to talk freely and engage in the conversation. I am most definitely one of the extreme introverts.

I have always struggled with being shy. Even when I want to be more outgoing and less anxious, I find it absolutely impossible, and retreat further back into that shell I had constructed oh so long ago. I think it mostly comes from having cousins that were so much older than I was. I am the baby of 12 cousins by 8 years, and I can remember being doted on, fussed over, the center of attention, and I couldn’t stand it. All I wanted was to just be myself, and not have to “perform” for the crowd. I resisted so much, and withdrew from everyone but my parents, and finally it stopped. You’d think that I would have been fine after that, but from that point on, I was never comfortable in those situations again. I could tolerate people in one on one situations, but never as a group.

Unfortunately, this is still the case today. I prefer to go out in a small group of no more than 4 or so. I mean, I like going out, but I would never do anthing to call attention to myself, or anyone in my group. I don’t go to places like bowling alleys because when it’s your turn, people look at you! Oh the horror! Forget about public speaking because inside, everyone is laughing at my voice, and when I am walking by a group of people, they are all commenting on my choice of clothes, or if my ass looks huge in those pants.

It’s a never ending battle.

I am quite shy.

Normally I cannot even answer the telephone unless I recognize the name on my caller ID. At my worst, I couldn’t open cards or letters or emails from friends (much less professional contacts).

Furthermore, my shyness has made it almost impossible for me to make friends, despite the fact that I lived with a lot of people at college and was a part of clubs and such, and now I work in an office with a lot of people. After one year, I’ve finally made friends with someone here.

On the other hand, living alone for the past year versus living in a dorm for two years has made me realize I’m a bit happier being alone than being around people, so while my shyness makes work quite a bit more difficult, my living situation on the whole has improved.

I think the reason I am shy is mostly a self-esteem thing. I see all these girls walking around with friends and boyfriends, and I feel ugly and socially inept. Even though I’m not, not really.

This is also why my post count is so low. :wink:

Once when I was a very little girl I overheard a friend of my Mom’s telling her that I was shy. For some reason, that struck home with me, and I instantly decided that I should be shy. I would now be a shy person. I spent ten years or more living up to this total stranger’s pronouncement that I was shy.

Most likely, the person was being ironic. I was completely unable to detect irony, sarcasm, parody, etc. when I was little.

Anyway, I wasted a lot of my life living out the role of a shy person, until I got out into the world and realized I wasn’t even a bit shy.

I may be quiet most of the time, but I am decidedly not shy.

Wish I hadn’t wasted all those years.

I remember being an outgoing kid, but that changed sometime in elementary school. I’m not sure why I became shy–maybe because I spent too much time with my twin sister (we did everything together), or maybe because of those weird glasses I wore. I was also pretty ugly in middle school and high school. I have to say, I’ve improved a lot since then. But I’m still shy. Maybe it’s because I have trouble connecting with people, like the OP said. I’m extremely awkward when it comes to reaching out to another person, or sharing anything about myself. I’m much more content to let people come to me and talk to me about themselves. It’s safer, definitely – no one can discover who I am. It’s also incredibly passive behavior on my part, so maybe, underneath it all, I’m just too lazy to be outgoing. :confused:


I would call myself an introvert: quiet, observant, reflective. Unfortunately, I think that came from not trusting the world and trying (unconsciously, of course) to control my image.

I don’t think it’s healthy to be extreme either way, and interacting with people, and groups, large and small, can be fun once you get used to it–especially being the center of attention.

I personally wanted to change (and continue to) and not be fearful of personal interactions. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that it’s ok to be silly, weird me–and that some people will even appreciate that. An unlikely source of inspiration was a woman that reported to me…she was utterly beautiful, funny, smart and outgoing, also well-liked. And said some of the silliest things…this only endeared me to her, because she wasn’t afraid to just be herself.

Another thing I’ve learned through trying to develop is that I really can distract myself from ruminating too much on my personal interactions. That’s part of the reason interaction was so stressful to me…yes, it felt forced. And then I thought about it afterwards, worried about how I’d presented myself.

My theory is that extroverted, outgoing people are kind of nervous around introverts because we don’t readily share our thoughts or feelings. Their (generalizing, I know) way of thinking may be that if you’re not sharing, you’re not happy or enjoying yourself. Aren’t extroverts eager to please (?)–my mother-in-law is, and if she doesn’t know how I’m feeling, it really bugs her.

Lastly, superficial conversation is good. It opens doors to deeper conversation and connection. It took me a long time to realize this.

My father yelled a lot (A LOT) and I never wanted to get that kind of attention as a child. My mother always kept me close and didn’t try to encourage any outgoing social behaviors. She just didn’t understand that her way of raising children might make them shy (not trying to place blame). I used to sing in grade school and even auditioned for a childrens choir that performed publically (malls and nursing homes). That was very hard for me to do, audition alone in front of some judges (no, NOT American Idol, you dork… hee hee!) but by a miracle I did it.

I remember being shy from a pretty early age. I hated having people look at me. My uncle, joker that he was, used to stare at me on purpose and I’d scream out, “don’t look at me!” while turning away or hiding behind my grandma. I mean, it really bothered me that he’d do that, I could NOT stand being scrutinized (still can’t stand it). Once my class had to do a book report and the teacher was filming us. I chose to do mine on Uri Geller, the “I-bend-spoons-with-my-mind” dude, and when it was my turn, I almost couldn’t speak I was so nervous. Oral book reports and speeches were extremely hard for me to do and to this day, I will not speak before a crowd without wanting to puke up my breakfast.

I seriously hate being shy. I’d like to sing publically again but the shyness stops me cold. I wanted to model when I was younger but again… the shyness took over. I really don’t know any cure for being shy. Facing your fear isn’t the same thing to me as having it cured. I might speak in public and “face” my fear but it’s not going to make me love public-speaking. I’ll want to puke just as much and get just as nervous the next time.

I’m shy for multiple reasons.

I don’t like small talk. Whenever I engage in it, I’m always aware that I’m participating in mindless chatter and then I wanna run away.

I have inferiority issues. When I’m around other people, I become aware of all of my deficiencies and shortcomings.

I’m socially awkard (i.e., not cool). I don’t drink and I don’t possess a libido. I don’t have a boyfriend to talk about, and I don’t have crushes to gush over. I’m quite androgenous physically and emotionally. Because I feel so different from everyone, I just feel like it’s easier to stay on the outside.

I’m very much aware of my nerdiness, and I admit it makes me feel sad sometimes. The other day, I was at a meeting and I noticed how everyone had someone to talk to except for me. It’s not because I’m not friendly (I always try to smile and make eye contact with people I know). It’s just that people know I’m weird and stay away.

Finally, I’m shy because I’m deeply introverted. I simply enjoy being in the quiet of my own thoughts. I know introversion and shyness aren’t really related, but I think in my case they are. I’m so used to being by myself that I don’t feel the need to meet others. I don’t have very many friends for this reason. I wish I did, though, just so that I wouldn’t feel so weird. Also, I think I might like myself better if I knew others liked me too.

The reason why I haven’t participated in any DopeFests is because something bad usually happens after I meet message board people in person: I stop going to the board. Perhaps it’s a case of not wanting people to know me, and then regretting it when I do.

I also fit the stereotype of a shy person. I honestly do want to get out more, but I really don’t do well in crowds, especailly large, energetic (and sometimes, drunk) crowds. I don’t even do that well in small groups, I think I tend to just dissappear somehow and get forgotten about. I do best with just one or two other people (sometimes not even with two other people, get forgotten about again).

I also don’t really like small talk, at least sometimes. I dont’ have crushes, dont’ care that much about clothing (mainly because i can’t affored to buy clothes very often), don’t currently have a boyfriend, and if it’s a subject I know anything about, I really thrive on something more intellectual

[slight hijack]I was once referred to as ‘Mr. Deeds’ butler’ because I supossedly just appeared out of nowhere. I remember once I sat in front of one guy, not in his direct line of vision, but he should have at least noticed me sitting down. About five minutes later, “Where’d you come from?” I’ve been here for a good five minutes while you talked with someone else and left me out of the conversation again, dolt! [/hijack]

Good post Degrance.

I’m fairly introverted by nature, but as I’ve got older I’ve found it easier to interact with more people. Despite this, I’m still far happier talking to people I know well, and I prefer being in a small group to a large one, or even 1 on 1s.

I just
I hate small talk, and I’m not a big fan of people either. And for some reason the people I choose to talk to always end up being abrupt, uninterested, or vacuous. The conversations I overhear during the day are far from exciting. I never really have anything to say, general conversation seems forced. People never have a good answer to ‘How’s it going?’ I kind of liked Douglas Adams’ opinion that some people think their hearts would stop beating if they stopped flapping their lips.

I also tend to say some pretty stupid things from time to time. I know everyone does, and it’s no big deal, but I can’t help but remember them all the time. I hate doing it and I’m always afraid I’ll say something really dumb.

But whatever.
I’m totally getting better at it. I find myself talking to total strangers more and speaking up in class a lot more often (because surprisingly, no one else does anymore).

I’d like not to be (MAYBE I’D GET A DATE) but I’m turned off by overly proud and loud people and I’d prefer not to be one.

I think I talk more to myself than anyone.