I wouldn’t say that I’m painfully shy, but it is definitely a characteristic that I’ve always had. I have never liked, or have even been good at, talking to people that I didn’t know. As a kid, I wasn’t always so afraid of being judged by people I didn’t know, so I didn’t hold back as much as I started to later on. But as most of you would probably agree, middle school was a terror zone, and when I started to become a little more reserved. Due to my introverted nature, I have always needed time to myself and haven’t always put myself out there as much as others. However, I think being shy has a lot of positives that people overlook because of the misconceptions.
People that are shy are not just stuck up or boring! I can understand the logic behind the misconception, but it just looks at the surface level. Most timid people will be quiet when you first meet them, but after they get a little more comfortable around you, they will open up and feel able to be themselves. It is also thought that quiet people aren’t as confident as others. Just because someone isn’t as open to talking to strangers doesn’t mean that they don’t see the value in themselves. Instead, they may just not feel like talking. Trying to force it out of them will never help. Mostly, I think shy people can be underestimated and thought of as not being fun or interesting, which is a hasty judgment that isn’t fair unless you truly know the person.
There are a lot of benefits to being shy that I don’t think people realize. My personal favorite thing about being shy is that I know when I really connect with someone. It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it always results in a really solid and long-lasting friendship. Being more reserved has also made me a really empathetic listener. I don’t like going on and on about myself in the slightest, so I love listening to my friends and offering them advice when they need it. I’m good at putting myself in others’ shoes and trying my best to help them with their problems. I think the most important aspect, however, is being comfortable being by myself. I know so many people that hate being alone and try to avoid it at all costs, and I think it’s important to have comfort in your own solidarity because you are the only person you can always count on.
While I have found the silver lining, there are still things that I struggle with. While I love being able to know when I’ve made a true friend, it usually means those friends and few are far between. Quality is definitely more important than quantity when it comes to those around you, but I always struggle with feeling like I’m bad at making friends. Especially being in college, which is such a social situation, it can feel lonely at times. There are so many people that I’ve met or have mutual friends with, that I know I could get along with so well but I’m just scared to reach out and form a friendship. I am also terrible at small-talk, which isn’t necessarily bad but has left me feeling quite awkward talking to people I don’t know very well. While these things do bother me, I’ve tried to focus more on the positives and accept my personality for what it is.
So, if you’re reading this and you are shy as well, just know that you are not alone. It can be challenging in college, but try to set goals for yourself! Maybe talk to one new person a week, or reach out to that one person you just know you’d hit it off with!