I don’t feel comfortable speaking to people. When in a social situation I often spend most of the time trying to think of things to say instead of talking naturally. This leads to long gaps of silence, leaving both myself and the other person feeling awkward. The more awkward the situation becomes the more difficult it becomes to think of something to say. The cycle continues until afterwards, when lots of things come to mind that could have been said, or topics of conversation that could have been started.
I found this article on the BBC News website that has a quote from someone else called James (not me), who summed it up well:
“[James]… gets anxious about what to say to the person serving him and then agonises afterwards about what he did or didn’t say.”
That’s exactly how I feel too.
So what is shyness?
Is it a personality trait? A cognitive defect? Perhaps a full blown illness?
To be honest, I think the answer depends on the individual. I don’t think this question can be answered by a single generalised matter of opinion. I’ve read scientific research saying it is an illness, I’ve read other blog posts saying shyness is all in your head. But can’t it be both? If you believe shyness is an illness then that seems like your body trying to tell you that you need help. If you believe it is all in your head then perhaps you can stop it with a few mind tricks.
I think the vast majority of people reading this, myself included, would class themselves somewhere in the middle. I believe I am hard-wired differently to others, meaning I find it more difficult to talk to people. However, I also believe the human brain has the power to self-evolve, and become stronger and more powerful. Just like your body, your brain needs exercise, you need to look after your brain to be able to stay alert and be more social.
What is shyness? It’s whatever you make it. I take it to mean my brain needs more exercise. I have found my comfort zone, my rut that means I do not challenge myself into social situations and become more and more shy. Becoming too shy means I need to break out of that rut, push myself into social situations and practice the art of conversation.