Saturday, April 2, 2011

Everybody Is Shy

"April Fool's Day, like love, is about having the carpet pulled out from under you at the last moment and making you feel like a complete moron." - Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast
How true is that? (Hint: the answer is 'very.')

I've sort of been challenged (meaning that I decided to take it as a challenge even though it wasn't intended to be) to prove the statement that everyone is inherently shy.

First let's have an agreed-upon definition so as to eliminate arguments over semantics.
From "Shy: a manner that shows discomfort or lack of confidence in association with others."
That'll be the basic definition I work off of. If you want something more in-depth, you can read this article, which you should read anyway because it's pretty interesting, even though it is a bit scary to think that something genetic can have such an enormous influence over personality.

So in regards to shyness, there are a few different types of people.

1.The Shy People Who Know And Act Like It

These are the easy ones, and this is the group to which I belong. There really isn't much to say here, because we exhibit standard shyness and it's obvious. We work on overcoming it; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

2. The Shy People Who Are Good At Covering It Up

These are the ones who know they're shy, but it isn't always easy for other people to tell. They pay attention to how people interact, and then they apply what they see to themselves in a (usually) successful manner. I suppose this group would also experience the most self-doubt, since people would tend to see them differently than they see themselves, which is, of course, a source of anxiety.

3. The Shy People Who Don't Know It

And here's where I make my argument, although it's going to involve rather a lot of bias, so I'm sorry about that. I know a lot of you will disagree, and I might even disagree, but it's my challenge to support it, so that's what I'm going to do.
Me in my introverted shy ways assumes that everyone is shy, and those who don't think they are simply haven't done enough introspection and reflection and thinking to realize that Other People are rather scary. Because you know, that's just a Fact of Life that is completely indisputable. Scary is usually an opinion. Not when it comes to Others. (I am, of course, being  jokingly arrogant and half-jokingly serious.)
Or perhaps these people aren't as good at imagining others complexly. Simple people are by definition easy to predict, so there isn't nearly as much stress involved. But the more complex you suspect the person is, the less you can be sure of, so the scarier they are.
The only cure for this, really, is to get to know him/her better. 
Group 3 people don't have to deal with this anxiety for some reason. They discover the complexity of a person as they get to know him/her, instead of assuming it from the beginning. But they would be shy if they thought about it. Or perhaps they do think about it and are simply very, very confident or very, very optimistic.

So there is my Very Biased and Probably Inaccurate defense of the inherent shyness of humanity. Clearly I like Group 1 people best. WE ARE TRUE TO OUR INNER NATURES. The rest of you are a bunch of phonies, as Holden Caulfield would say. ;)


  1. It's all so truuue. I'd say I belong in the second category? Yeah. I APPROVE OF THE GROUP OF PHONIES! So ha~

    Speak the truth bro.

  2. I actually prefer to believe that most people are not as shy as I am, as it gives me an excuse for how rubbish my life often seems. If other people are just as freaked out as I am, but still manage to muddle through somehow, what does that say about me? Not that I don't worry that you are indeed correct, just that I would prefer not to believe it.

    Also, sorry about the comment thread going way off track on the last post...

  3. Don't be sorry-- for some reason my comment feed thing (because I'm subscribed to comments via Google Reader instead of checking the comments tab) didn't update for some reason, so I didn't even notice until a few minutes ago when I checked manually.

  4. Oh, and besides-- I like seeing reader/reader interaction. It makes this feel less like a lecture/speech and more like a discussion group.


Talk to me.