To think being shy gets you nowhere in life?

(50 Posts)
shinytoe Thu 25-Jul-13 15:01:14

I was cripplingly shy as a child/young adult, to the point of feeling stupid and unworthy for even daring to occupy the same social space as anyone else. I was, and still am to some extent, incredibly introverted.

I'm currently seeking a better job and imagining how I would act in an interview that demands a bit of blagging on my part. To me a lot of it does seem like it has to be a performance because I'm not naturally confident most of the time. If I continued to act as reserved and modest as I was a few years ago, I don't think I would ever have been employable, not made new friends and not even got together with DP.

I wouldn't have been able to talk about my achievements and skills openly.

I wouldn't have been able to ask for help when I needed it or express when I felt under pressure.

I wouldn't have been able to mix with colleagues. I'd miss out on valuable networking opportunities.

I wouldn't have been able to make the first move with men - or even get beyond the introduction. I couldn't do small talk or banter at all.

Worst of all, people would have likely viewed me as arrogant or stuck-up because I wouldn't engage with them.

It amazes me how I managed to get through 20 years of education (inc. post-grad) and no-one, not even once to my recollection, emphasised the importance of confidence and social skills for outside the academic sphere. I really hope schools and universities are now promoting these attributes, otherwise it seems that other shy young people don't stand a chance in most careers. I think it's amazing how much I've had to develop my social skills in the last decade just to get up to scratch with everyone else, and stand a chance at earning decent money. I've spoken to a couple of other friends who had similarly difficult adolescences (extended for far too long!) and they said the most steep learning curve in their first jobs has been developing these social niceties which have been mostly self-taught.

It just seems unfair that shy people are left to flounder and either we independently struggle and suffer seemingly endless mortifications on the path to confidence or end up in the less client-facing jobs (wonder if these tend to be paid less?)

Go on - AIBU? grin

Whothefuckfarted Thu 25-Jul-13 15:04:24

I find it hard to believe that not one person emphasised the importance of confidence and social skills for outside the academic sphere. I find it important in every and all aspects of life, to be self assured and confident (not overly so of course)

What a shame.

underthemountain Thu 25-Jul-13 15:06:06

Very true. I am shy and have got myself nowhere!

iloveweetos Thu 25-Jul-13 15:06:11

YANBU
I am incredibly shy.
unworthy for even daring to occupy the same social space as anyone else can totally relate to this.
I want to gain more confidence in myself and stop being shy but it seems it is easier said than done. And i do feel it is holding me back career wise sad

Tbh you have described low self esteem and confidence issues rather than 'shyness'.

Hmmmm [thoughtful]

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 15:09:48

I know exactly how you feel. I constantly feel guilty for existing. I've been physically sick with nerves before an interview before.

shinytoe Thu 25-Jul-13 15:11:48

I thought shyness is defined as anxiety around other people, which I do recognise as being a symptom of low self-esteem and lack of confidence.

If I stopped worrying about the impact of what I was saying/doing all the time on other people, I'm sure I would be less shy.

iloveweetos Thu 25-Jul-13 15:14:40

shinytoe..thats just it
its so exhausting worrying about every little thing

underthemountain Thu 25-Jul-13 15:14:53

I can't even imagine myself in an interview just now, been at home for too long. I find it impossible to say positive things about myself-all feels like lies!

Whothefuckfarted Thu 25-Jul-13 15:22:01

I'm not shy, i do however get anxious and feel a little queasy before an interview for example, I also did before all my exams even with rescue remedy at hand

FreudiansSlipper Thu 25-Jul-13 15:23:03

i am shy, not as shy as i used to be i was painfully shy but i do not lack confidence only lack confidence socially

i have travelled, worked in industries where i had to be very upfront and i have learned to hide it well

i still would never make the first move with a man (unless i had been with them a long time)

many people confuse the two shyness though it can hold you back at times is not something that anyone should feel shame about. lacking self esteem is what holds people back and that should be recognised and helped and this in turn may help with shyness but it is not a curse

BenedictCumberbitch Thu 25-Jul-13 15:25:38

I am shy...which is why I'm going for a degree that leads to a fairly quiet job! grin

shinytoe Thu 25-Jul-13 15:30:19

What are the quiet jobs out of interest? I was originally going to go into archiving, then for reasons I still can't fathom jumped into teaching...guess there were plenty of jobs in schools available back then plus maybe sub-consciously I realised I needed to develop social skills at some point.

I was a shy child. The revelation for me was that in social situations as long as I asked people about themselves with lots of open questions (where, when, why, what, how) and listened then the pressure was off me to make the running in a conversation. People love to talk about themselves and quite honestly don't give a stuff about whether you are anxious or not, so get a reputation as a good listener and the world of social chit chat is so much easier. One thing I did discover as a result of doing Myers Briggs Personality Tests is how important social recovery time is for introverts. I work with a high introvert who really does need to go into a darkened room and chill after social events whereas as an extrovert I'll happily chat all night long.

Alohomora Thu 25-Jul-13 16:17:07

YANBU - I only learned to blag it and stand up for myself in the last few years and it was hard. As I'm naturally introverted I still have days where I struggle.

Working with the public has helped a lot as I had to learn fast and I am now quite sociably and friendly, but it takes more effort and is more draining for me than for someone who is a natural.

I taught at university and when it cake to presentation skills and CV writing/interview skills I always made sure to emphasize just how important delivery is and how to phrase your achievements so you come across as confident and competent.

Crinkle77 Thu 25-Jul-13 16:23:20

I think that it is up to your parents, teachers etc... when you are a child to build up your self esteem and confidence. When I was younger I used to hate ringing companies or what ever to find things out and would ask my mum to do it. i thought she was being mean but by making me do it myself she was enabling me to be more independent. As an adult have you thought about counselling or going to visit your GP?

Moleyjay Thu 25-Jul-13 16:24:43

Interesting! I would describe myself as shy but have battled with it to the point where work colleagues and friends ( not my close friends) would describe me as outgoing. It is only those who really know me know how hard I find social situations.

Owllady Thu 25-Jul-13 16:28:21

shyness is nice and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you like to

shinytoe Thu 25-Jul-13 16:28:39

Nah, i'm at a level now where I am comfortable and even enjoy socialising and networking some of the time so I know I am capable of sounding confident even when I'm not feeling so. It just frustrates me that it's seemed to take so much longer than those who were lucky enough to already have a stable, supportive childhood or good teachers /self-pity rant!

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 25-Jul-13 16:30:14

As Morrissey says, "Shyness is nice but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to" smile

YANBU. Self-confidence/assertiveness coaching maybe?

Yes I think parents have a really important role to play. Although I'm not a big fan of some of his theories Steve Biddulph in one of his books talks about not encouraging shyness - it may be cute at age 3 but you are doing your children no favours and they should be made to say hello to strangers.

Owllady Thu 25-Jul-13 16:31:28

do keep up marmalade

BetterToLaugh Thu 25-Jul-13 16:32:28

I can so relate. I got over my shyness a bit by having horrible bosses. I used to always apologize/over explain things and one boss who wasn't a very nice woman anyway had a go at me saying I waffle too much and she finds timid people annoying. It was very hurtful at the time, but it made me care less about her feelings and what she thought of me and I started to be more assertive at work.

peggotty Thu 25-Jul-13 16:34:09

Nice Smiths reference there owl lady grin. There's a massive difference between shyness and low self esteem and introversion. You can have one or both. Introverts are often deep thinkers who come up with the amazing ideas (Einstein!) and should be valued by employers. It is possible to be introvert and have good self esteem just as it's possible to be extrovert and have poor self esteem. The extroverts are just noticed more either way by their very nature.

iloveweetos Thu 25-Jul-13 16:35:04

where do you go for assertiveness coaching?

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