We love you but please don't stop by unannounced.
I'm a shy extrovert. These two aspects of myself are in constant battle. My shy, introverted self pulls me back to my shell of WiFi and Netflix, while my extrovert self pushes me to connect with real-life people and find work that requires me to talk in front of people for hours. It's tricky.
I enjoy my extroverted tendencies, but find my shyness leading the way most of the time. And it usually leads into a quiet room with snacks, my laptop, and a bed. Shyness can be a true struggle, and here's why.
1. Face-to-face networking is a rare form of torture.
To grow in a professional (and personal) sense, I need to connect with fellow writers, professionals, hypnotherapists, and general human beings. This means going into a room of strangers, awkwardly going up to people and saying something at least slightly interesting without stuttering.
2. Staying home can become an addiction.
It's so deliciously safe and comfortable to stay in the haven of my home. I don't have to "put myself out there" or be conscious of looking, sounding, or acting presentable.
3. Social anxiety hits when you least expect it.
I often find my extroverted self taking over in social situations, saying witty "isms," making people laugh, casually flitting from person to person, and then BAM! The social anxiety living in my shyness takes over, and I have to find a corner to quietly sit with my phone and wine.
4. Your body often gives you away.
When I'm speaking in public or am asked a question I don't have a good answer for, I immediately turn into a sweaty, stuttering tomato. I become so overwhelmed by the sudden physical effects of my nerves that I'm not even aware of the words coming out of my mouth.
5. Verbal diarrhea is a thing that actually happens.
When I get nervous, I start babbling and inevitably say something embarrassing. I wish I had someone to follow me around and cover my mouth when I start moving into dangerous territory. That's why I love writing — I can take hours to craft and edit what I want to say.
6. Phone calls are the absolute WORST.
Having a job that requires cold calls is out for shy people. I was a realtor for two seconds. The need to talk on the phone to people that didn't want to talk to me was excruciating. For shy people, email and texting are sweet blessings from the digital gods.
7. Some people may think you're a jerk.
I was so shy in high school that many people thought I was a snob. I know this because they told me. When I lost a few layers of shyness after high school, my social circle grew in circumference. The new circle inhabitants told me I gave off the "I'm better than you" vibe in high school.
8. Elevators are hell.
Being stuck in a little, quiet box standing next to strangers...enough said.
9. Falling down a flight of stairs sounds better than starting a new school.
I almost did this. The day before I was supposed to start at a new high school I considered tripping on the stairs (and hopefully spraining my ankle) so I could delay the inevitable a few more days. I was so nervous walking into the school the first day that I got the nervous-spins (similar in nature to drunken-spins) and had to go to the nurse.
10. You lose arguments you should have won.
I'm so terrified of confrontation that I shut down when someone comes at me with any form of negativity. Even if I'm "in the right," I forget all my killer rebuttals until the other person has walked away. I'm better at email arguments.
11. Unexpected guests are just awful.
The days when neighbors would randomly "stop by for a chat" sound horrible to me. I need to know at least 24 hours in advance if someone will be coming to my house so I can pump myself up to be entertaining, magnanimous, witty, and all those other sociable traits.
I used to loathe my shyness, but I've learned to honor it.
I try to find some form of balance between my shy and extroverted faces by giving myself plenty of "laying low" time, mixed with forced social interactions, which usually end up being fairly satisfying. Oh, and sitting next to a talkative stranger on an airplane is why headphones and those tiny bottles of alcohol were invented.