“Anyway, it’s time for dancing. Play the music again, please, thank you. Okay, everybody, just dance. Don’t be shy! Dancing, please! Very good!” ~ Sherlock, “The Sign of Three”
I don’t know if you’ve noticed from what I’ve written in this blog, but I am shy. I have always been shy, since before I was old enough to understand that people are seriously bizarre. I’ve hated crowds since I was a child, and I guess in that way you can say I was a good judge of character. So I guess that’s one good thing.
Anyway, since I have always struggled with shyness (well, I wouldn’t say it was a “struggle” for the majority of my life, but it’s a bit of an issue now), I decided to share with you three things about being shy for both those who are shy and those who are not shy. You need to know how to interact with a shy person.
Okay, shy people. Overcoming shyness is not an easy thing. I know this firsthand. But I have come to realize a few things, and hopefully something I say here will help you nip your shyness in the bud (and me too).
First of all, if you want to do something, do NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, allow yourself to talk yourself out of doing it. You may tell yourself that it’ll get easier as you spend more time in the presence of other human beings, or that a better opportunity will arise, but trust me. IT WON’T GET ANY EASIER. I should know ~ I’ve been trying to kill my shyness for two solid years, week after week telling myself I’m going to do it, and consistently putting it off. Two years later, it’s still not any easier than it would have been that very first day. The fear will not go away on its own. So don’t listen to Jack. THERE IS NO OPPORTUNE MOMENT. This is it.
Also, one thing you should realize is that if you’re shy, people will know it, and they will treat you like you’re shy by avoiding you. This is all fine and dandy until you realize that you actually kind of WANT to be around people and have friends. Then it’s the worst curse you will ever encounter. (At least, I HOPE so. It can’t get any worse than this, right?)
Now, when it comes to actually talking to someone, there are a lot of ways you can go about it. But trust me when I say this: you will never know which one is the right one in ANY situation (because it’s not like you have any experience), so try not to think too much about it, because that will throw you into confusion and nervousness and you’ll never actually end up saying anything. This has been my main problem for the past two years. And if you’re like me and your biggest issue is your brain shutting down whenever you try to talk to someone, I gotta say I’m sorry ~ I haven’t figured out how to get past this yet. But if you’re having a good day and you find that you ARE able to say a few words, and you decide to attempt having a conversation (if you’re having a good day, I highly suggest you take the opportunity, no matter how badly you don’t want to), there are ways I have compiled to do it.
First, you could tell them straight out. This, of course, only works if there’s something specific you want to say to someone. Like if you want to know if somebody is colorblind, just go ahead and ask if they’re colorblind. You don’t even need to think of a way to start the conversation. Just walk up and ask, “Are you colorblind?” Trust me on this. Starting the conversation is one of the hardest parts, for me, anyway. I can go as far as “Hi, how are you?” “Fine. How are you?” “Fine” and then I don’t know where to go from there because by that time my brain has realized the close proximity in which I am with a person and that their attention is on me, and it has hit the big, nasty red button that signals lockdown and the lights are flashing mauve. It’s not pleasant. So just forget about the preliminaries and ask the bloody question you want answered right off the bat.
Another thing you could do, which I have thought about in great detail, is being sentimental. Just go out and ask a person if they’ve got any time on their hands, then pour out your problems to them just to get them off your chest. I have HEARD that talking about your problems helps, though I’ve never tried it myself for the very reason that TALKING is one of my problems. But it might work, I don’t know. Maybe they’ll feel sorry for your lonely little self. Be aware, though, that this is a VERY RISKY way of making a friend, because basically what you’re doing is leading them into your heart, giving them a knife and a map, and showing them where to stab you to hurt you the most. So you have to make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that this person you’re going for is COMPLETELY trustworthy (which is a little bit easier if you’ve known them for two years like I have, but waiting two years kind of defeats the purpose of this post, which I’m writing to help you overcome shyness BEFORE you suffer the psychological trauma that I’ve had to deal with). This is also a rather difficult way of overcoming your shyness, because it goes against the human nature to not show weakness. So good luck.
A good way to overcome shyness, which I’m sure would work splendidly, is to be hilarious. This, of course, requires a certain amount of natural hilarity and ability to overcome your brain’s default shutdown, which I personally don’t currently have. But, speaking from observance, everybody loves the funny person. People enjoy being around someone who can make them laugh. Laughing makes them happy, and people like to be happy. But don’t try too hard to be funny, because then it’s just annoying. If you have the ability to think around people, and something funny comes to mind, you should sure as heck say it. But don’t be obnoxious about it, and realize what you are saying before you say it and make sure it’s not going to hurt anybody because that will counter your shy-fighting attempts.
If you don’t want to go to the extremes that I’ve outlined above, you could just straight-up try to have a conversation. One way you could do it is the typical “How are you?” and “How’s school going?” and “How’s the family?” and other generic questions like that. This method has never worked for me personally, though, because I can’t ever think of any questions that I either don’t already know the answer to or actually care about the answer to. Yeah, I admit it: I can be a bit Sherlocky sometimes. I don’t especially care about most people or what’s happening in their lives. I don’t enjoy small talk. This is bad for me in that I never see the point to making conversation, so I never do it, so I have had absolutely no practice. Ever. But anywho.
The opposite end of this spectrum is that you can also find a person you want to know, and simply get to know them. All in conversation. One-take wonder. Walk up to them and start asking them questions about themselves. Asking them a lot of questions requires them to answer, which minimizes your own speaking time ~ SCORE! Then, once you’re starting to feel more comfortable and you’ve convinced your brain that they’re NOT going to kill you, you can start adding your own personal views to the questions you’re asking and share about yourself as well. If something funny comes to mind, share it to bring color to the conversation. Color is always a good thing. Unless you’re colorblind, I guess. That would be unfortunate. Huh. Sorry, colorblind people.
Those are a few ways you can overcome shyness by communicating with people. One last note on that: whenever you are talking to someone, remember to be honest. ALWAYS be honest. Honesty is VITAL if you plan on building any form of relationship with another human being. Plus, lying is pointless in almost all circumstances. So be honest. It’s the best policy.
But if you’ve been socially secluded for as long as I have, you start to realize that talking to someone isn’t the ONLY way you can overcome shyness. One way I have discovered is through physical contact. I know what you’re thinking: EWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m thinking the same thing. But if you’ve gone as long as I have without touching someone, skin on skin, even just hands (seriously, NOTHING INAPPROPRIATE. THAT WOULD PROBABLY MAKE IT WORSE), you begin to realize how much people actually NEED to be touched. I wear fingerless gloves, so I don’t even really touch someone when I DO touch someone. I don’t feel their skin because I play guitar so my fingertips are a little bit dull on nerves, so even the part of my fingers that aren’t covered aren’t really useful for feeling. If you wanna be super grateful for your sense of touch, wear gloves for a couple months. EVERYTHING feels different when you take them off and touch things. So, WITH THEIR CONSENT, try touching someone for longer than the duration of a handshake. Then come tell me what happens. I wanna know if it works. Never underestimate the power of a touch.
So that’s everything I’ve figured out about how to possibly overcome shyness. For those of you reading this who AREN’T shy, but know someone in your life that IS and you want to know how to interact with them, first of all let me say this: BLESS YOU. Thank you for not being as narrow-minded and un-thoughtful as all the other people. And really what I’ve found that helps me is when someone acknowledges me, even just every once in awhile. Seriously. Just acknowledge their presence, say hello to them, occasional light touches are acceptable, and remember to call them by their name. Never underestimate the power of a name. It makes them feel like you’re actually talking to THEM, and you actually WANT to. It makes them feel special. (Not just shy people ~ this goes for anybody. Using their name connects the two of you with a tiny thread that most don’t even notice, but nevertheless, it’s there.)
Well, see you later, and best of luck to all you shy people out there! I hate when people say “I love you” to their followers because it’s not like they actually KNOW their followers personally, and if they did maybe they wouldn’t love them so much, so I’m not gonna say that because it’s not true. But I DO actually sympathize with anyone who has to deal with the same issue I do, and I (mentally) support anyone who’s trying to break out of it.
Until next time!