Shyness is experienced by most people, young and old, in social situations. Most people also seem to think they are shier than everyone else. Surprisingly, that is not true. 98% of people think of themselves as shy. As children, some people lack the skills and lived experiences of coping in social environments, which makes them feel crippled and develop a sense of helplessness because of it.
Shyness can be debilitating. The good news is that it can be changed.
Shyness is a form of anxiety. The severity of the anxiety depends on the type of shyness.
Situational Shyness means experiencing anxiety in certain, specific situations. Examples include, during a test, in a big group, when standing on stage, while having to present or make a speech, when answering a question, having to think on your feet or trying to make a good impression. The main challenge in this shyness is the timing. It never feels like the ‘right’. You never feel ready to tackle the task before you.
Feeling anxious when experiencing change is called Transitional Shyness. This can happen at time like starting a new job, on the first day of school, when something does not work like you expected, during a divorce, when moving to a new house. The main challenge in this type of shyness is change. Things are changing and you may not be used to it.
Feeling anxious as part of daily life is Permanent Shyness. This is particularly true in social situations. People tend to think shyness is a personality trait. They repeatedly say that they always remembered themselves to be a ‘shy’ person. The main challenge in this type of shyness is the anxiety itself. Like the saying, “The fear of the wolf is always greater than the wolf itself”, the anxious feeling is often scarier than the act itself.
This post is a quick outline of the types of ‘shyness’. Check in next time for the next chapter in the series. The topic will be overcoming shyness and reasons why we feel shy.