Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How do "non-shy" people regard the shy person?

How do "non-shy" people regard the shy person?

Actually the term "non-shy" is a misnomer. There is no one who never feels shy. But we'll use this term to describe people who are USUALLY outgoing.
In fact, it seems that while the warmth of outgoing people may cause them to be liked by most of the people they come into contact with, people all too often seem to respond to those who are too shy with aloofness or even disdain.
Some shy people come to feel as if there is something "wrong" with them, as if somehow they are not as important or as worthwhile as the more outgoing people around them. Said one shy person, "it's frustrating to try to be a good person, yet still to be disliked because of your shyness." And unfortunately, the one "negative" trait of shyness can easily offset a dozen other fine qualities in people's minds-especially if that negative trait keeps people from seeing the other, more positive traits.

Gerald M. Phillips, professor of Speech Communications at Pennsylvania State University, writes in his book, Help for Shy People, that many people simply see shyness as a form of incompetence, and shy people as boring and uninviting. "If people do not talk," he writes, "we read it as a sign that we should leave them alone. We talk to those who can reward us and never even notice the others."
The problem is NOT that shyness is so awful. The problem is that the average person THINKS that shyness is so awful! Unfortunately, shy people are often labeled as "stuck up," "humorless,""awkward," or "boring." Often, even shy people would rather hang out with people who are more outgoing.
Some posts from social media:
  • I hate how extroverted people get so damn uncomfortable
  • around introverts at parties and then act like it's YOUR
  • fault they don't know how to act around someone who is
  • quieter than they are. ("You're so quiet!") One must feel
  • sorry for them,'s the human thing to do.

A good answer to this question is, "Well, what would you like to talk about?"
This answer will probably be met with stunned silence, because the other person implies with this question that you are unfriendly, and this answer points out that HE must have been "unfriendly" too! It also proves that you CAN'T be unfriendly, because you're inviting him to a conversation!
If there is another thing about the shy person that can cause people to avoid him or her, it is simply this: being around shy people often makes people feel shy themselves!

Research conducted by psychologist Avril Thorne, and reported in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, verified this phenomenon. When Thorne put introverts and extroverts together, she found that personality differences between the two types diminished. Without the necessary feedback from their companions, many extroverts find themselves at a loss for words as well. Even those who pride themselves on being "outgoing" may feel "shy" when around the very shy person. They may begin to stammer, to stutter, to fumble for words-in short, to display the very same reactions that the shy themselves exhibit. How precarious extroversion can be!

In recent years, there has been a greater and greater awareness of this phenomenon. As psychologist Elaine Hatfield, Ph.D., quoted in Self magazine put it: "The whole study of contagion and emotions is exploding. It's totally unconscious, and it's amazing how fast it happens."

Quite simply, "extroverts" can feel the awkwardness, the uneasiness, of not knowing, themselves, what to say around a shy person. And they dislike this feeling-just as much as anyone else does. In short, even those who pride themselves on being outgoing may "become" shy when around shy people. And so the best way to avoid these feelings, quite often, is to simply avoid those who make them feel this way!

Shy people have a tougher time making friends, going on dates, even getting a good job! Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if people weren't so judgmental of shy people, but they are. That's why seriously shy people have to change. Because society as a whole will not!

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