Sunday, November 18, 2012

Too, Shy, Shy

R.a.n.t. of week 11/18/12
Some people are described as living two lives. The open one, the one most people are fully aware of, and the hidden one. To some degree, that's describes me to a 'T'. But the usual connotation of the hidden life is one hidden intentionally for nefarious purposes. It's at this point, the hidden person inside of me begs to differ. I generally have no ill will of any sort. Ask my ex-wife. WAIT, No. I meant don't ask my ex-wife.

So what is the intent of my hidden self? In my case, (as the rant title implies), it's being shy. I've always felt I have a secondary person inside of me, just bubbling to get out. True, when I'm with those I've known for a long time, I don't have a problem releasing him. But in new situations, with new people, or a combination of both, I have a hard time being open. On-line and in writing, I never have a problem showcasing my other side. But typically in real life situations, to my dismay, I withdraw inside myself and seek a corner to hide in. Any party or reception I attend I'm generally found sitting alone in the back or with those I'm very familiar with. Being shy can be such a burden and a bother, but I don't generally talk about it. I sometimes wonder how those who don't know me, perceive me. Do they recognize I'm extremely shy? Or think I'm merely aloof, antisocial and/or a 'stick in the mud'.

Yet, this can be dealt with. Speaking for myself, a smile, eye contact or a kind word does wonders to break the ice. Just keep in mind, being shy usually means the person also struggles with finding things to say. I'm not one for idle chit-chat. I have a hard time talking about the 'weather'. But if you get me going, and we start talking about something I have an interest in, you will probably have a hard time shutting me up.

Additionally, part of the solution falls squarely on the shy person. All people are different, which means all shy people are different. I have one friend who's wife is so shy, she has a hard time replying, even when asked simply how she's doing. And still might have to ask her to speak up. But initiating eye contact is also important for the shy person. I tend to keep 'aware' of my surroundings but often I notice people walking around with blinders on. So if you want to draw out a shy person, find a common interest (a hobby they like), establish eye contact, greet them warmly (but give them space if they need it).

Shy people, we are not off the hook. We HAVE to work at being receptive. One of the hardest things in life is trying to get a shy person to open up when they refuse to be approachable. I've been on both sides in this matter, so I know. It's really hard to get 'the time of day' from someone if they intentionally are (or seem to be) ignoring you. Not everyone wants to get someone's attention by running up and waving their hands in front of their face.

6 Keys To Open Up Shy People:
1. Smile
2. Kind Words
3. Be Approachable!
4. Establish Eye Contact
5. Find a Common Interest
6. Don't Expect a Conversationalist


  1. Actually, many shy folks I know tend to overcompensate - and appear to others to be gregarious (as they are dying inside)...

  2. When I'm in a group of my closest friends, I also tend to be more of an extrovert. But when in a social situation or people I'm not comfortable with, that's when the shyness kicks in.

    I've also noticed the same from a few others I know who are also shy. It runs in my family. Maybe that's why I'm drawn to such people.

  3. I know everuone thinks that people that are shy don't talk much. Not so. A shy person can make up for their shyness by talking to much or getting involved in soooo much activity that they don't want to talk to anyone. That's me. When others look at me they think that I have not got a shy bone in my body. Just the opposite. I make up for my nervous behaviour by most of the time looking like a complete idiot and replace it with comedy. Laughing at myself and letting others do this too makes people think that I'm so outgoing lol. I avoid talking to many people. I found that throwing myself into another language limits my conversation. Thought I'd let you in on a little secret. slt