I Used to Be Shy

I’ve talked about how I’m an INTJ type personality before, and how I’m a pretty rare type of introvert.  Well, believe it or not, I used to be painfully shy.

Back when I was a kid, I found it difficult to talk to pretty much anyone I didn’t know.  In elementary school, I was so shy that I couldn’t order a drink after I played a game of hockey.  I was so shy that I avoided scoring goals on purpose so I wouldn’t be in the spotlight.  I pretended I was singing in music class.  I was pretty much incredibly difficult to kidnap, because I’d go nowhere near a stranger’s car.

In junior high, I was pretty awkward.  But that’s the awkward age, anyway.  I was bullied quite a bit.  In grade 7, I was threatened with violence because my bully thought he could get me to do his homework.  Yes, this really happened, although it’s quite a cliche.  I wouldn’t stand up for myself.  I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.  I did tell my parents, though.  They then contacted my school, set up a meeting with the Principal, and the next time my bully attacked me, he was sent to the office.  Well, he was scared straight by his parents, and nothing else happened to me that year.  Then in grade 8, it was just plain old making fun of me.  Again, I was too shy to stand up for myself and speak up, but several classmates teased me.  As a shy introvert like I was back then, I couldn’t take it.  I went as far as trying to pretend to be sick so I didn’t have to go to school.  Thankfully, grade 9 was better.

In high school, I stuck with my friends, and I had no problems with bullies.  I was still shy, though.  In university, I had only a small number of friends, though I found it much easier to start a conversation.  It wasn’t until my job in a call centre that made me come out of my shell.

Now, I teach.  I blog.  I write.  I get my words out there all the time.  I don’t care if people have a negative opinion about what I say or do.  I’m not that shy kid anymore.  Writing is a good career for those who are shy, but I yearn for the spotlight now.  In a social situation with a large number of people, I’m still quiet.  But that’s the introvert in me, I’m more likely to be an observer and listener.  If I’m the expert, and everyone else knows less than I do, I don’t have a problem speaking.  Maybe it’s confidence knowing that others want to learn from me.  That’s what teaching allows me to do, of course.

I may have been shy when I was a kid, but I’m not anymore.  I just don’t like talking more than I need to.

Any shy people out there?  Don’t be shy, comment!

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6 thoughts on “I Used to Be Shy”

  1. I used to be pretty introverted — I’m not sure about shy, since I recall that in chorus the teacher had to tell me to turn my volume down, I was drowning out the others. But I was always embedded in a book, and I only really had about 2 – 3 friends at a time. Had trouble approaching people too, but I had my techniques: in high school and then in college, I got both my gaming groups by identifying a fellow geek, then staking myself out nearby with a D&D book until they came over and talked to me. Worked well!

    But like you, it took getting a socially-focused job to come out of my shell. Now I can’t seem to shut up. It’s weird to look back on myself and think ‘I’m not that person any more’, but such is life.

    1. I often don’t shut up, either. If I’m with friends, I can keep talking and talking.

      Of course, introverted doesn’t mean shy. Introverted means a person would rather not use their energy on social interactions. Internal thoughts are more important than sometimes useless conversation.

  2. It took me a while to break out of being shy too. Sometimes, even though I can appear like an extrovert, I have moments when the introvert comes out and I just need to recharge from being around people. I found my friendship in books, and then broke out through my imagination, and discovered talking to people isn’t so frightening.

    1. Yeah, talking to people isn’t frightening, though that’s how I felt when I was a kid. But now, I can do it without any problems. I talk all day at work. But in social situations, I’m sometimes more reserved. It depends on who it is.

  3. There is often confusion between “introvert” and “shyness.” Both extroverts and introverts can be shy.
    The difference between introverts and extroverts is how their energy is resupplied… As an introvert, I need personal, alone, quiet time to recharge my battery. Extroverts gain energy by being around other people.

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