Shelley Widhalm

The Shyness Factor

In Finding friends, Fitting in, Shyness, What's important on November 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I have read several how-to books about overcoming shyness. I think the advice on how to start and maintain a conversation, as well as the various explanations of the possible causes of shyness, have been helpful.

What I don’t understand is why I take this beaten-dog approach to some of my conversations. I sometimes wonder: Did I reveal too much? Did I say the wrong thing? Does this person think I’m a bore?

All of this comes to mind because I felt insecure after a wine and appetizer get-together in late November with members of my writers group, which meets on a weekly basis to freewrite and critique each other’s work.

I remained quiet most of the evening, though I was eager to tell the story about my covering a lung cancer awareness event and crying halfway through it. I wanted to tell the story because the group members (there are six or so at each meeting) knew about my mother’s hospital emergency a month earlier.

One of the members brought up that she had wanted to go to the awareness event and missed it, and I said that I was there and then told my story (as described two blogs ago). And then I segued into how I feel left out with some women in another social circle.

I felt guilty – later – about bringing up my problems, particularly the telling of the second story when I was venting.

I figured the group members all thought I was a bore, and then I realized I was taking that beaten-dog approach. I talked. I said things. And, of course, it being me saying the things I said, those listening would think I was an outcast. Get out, I could hear them say. And then I realized, it’s me being insecure, walking on the self-created eggshells, wondering how I appear to the rest of the world when, really, it doesn’t matter what people think.

It’s my first step, or another actually, in letting go of my shyness label. I’ve carried it so long, it weighs me down, so that I have to duck my head whenever I fear I’ll be laughed at, picked on or ignored.

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