Monday, September 23, 2013
Those of you who only know me on line may not think it, but I'm shy!
How shy? When they called roll in school, I would answer absent just so I didn't have to talk to anybody. In high school, I was voted Most Likely to Become a Mime. And even today I'm terribly uncomfortable talking to others unless Cyrano de Bergerac is writing my dialogue.
How shy? Throughout my life, people have always been telling me to come out of my shell. Come out of my shell? I'm looking for an even smaller shell to crawl into!
The fact is, being shy sucks. It's beyond being an introvert. An introvert is one who enjoys the quiet times more than the social ones, someone who prefers to be far from the madding crowd. A shy person is mad for the madding crowd, someone longing for the social times--- for fun, frivolity, and fellowship --- just as long as he doesn't have to go out the front door to get them.
Once I joined a professional organization for shy people, the Business Association of Shy and Humble Folks Ultimately Lonely (BASHFUL, and don't think it wasn't a lot of work to come up with that!) BASHFUL had monthly morning meetings with a breakfast spread and a speaker. Once in a while the speaker showed up, which the three of we regular attendees really appreciated. Networking at BASHFUL meetings routinely had to be conducted with everyone blindfolded.
At one meeting I met a gorgeous thirty-something woman nervously standing by the coffee table. She told me she'd been painfully shy her entire life and had never even had a boyfriend. She said she was simply desperate to meet someone nice and for some reason had always been attracted to older Jewish men and blushing profusely, frankly confided in me that she was very, very horny.
Damn! If only I'd had the guts to ask her out!
How did I get this way? There's no question there's got to be a shyness gene. I don't know if it's been isolated yet but it doesn't matter because it's always been isolated. It's either sitting quietly in the middle of its very own chromosome or huddled nervously on the edge of another, sadly eyeing all the fun the other genes are having and silently weeping.
Those of us with the shyness gene then compound the problem by continually acting shy. I know a shy person who every night returned home to his mother's womb which was no mean feat in that he was the size of Chewbacca and did it until he was 29. The point is that shyness reinforces itself and doesn't get better unless we shy people take the initiative and make it get better.
Here's one technique that's worked for me: Let's say you're too shy to go into a store and ask the clerk for change for a dollar without buying something first.
1) On the first day enter the store and buy something in the nature of a major appliance. Like a washing machine, refrigerator, threshing equipment, the space shuttle. You decide which.
2) On the second day return to the same store and buy some slacks, cruise wear, a couple of Cuban cigars, a box of Goobers. Another chocolated candy will do, not gummy worms.
3) On the third day return to the same store and ask for change for a dollar.
You did it, tiger!
Many shy people when confronted with certain social situations experience an unpleasant scary sensation in parts of the body, most typically the stomach, chest, or both. For me, the sensation is particularly wicked because it also involves a number of the embarrassing body parts, like an ass cheek. Or two. Or three, were there to be three.
But why do we let this feeling control us? Why do we let a sensation stop us from having fun, enjoying new experiences, meeting hot chicks at business meetings? We don't let indigestion do this, unless we've left our proton pump inhibitors in our other suit. Years from now we're not going to remember that uncomfortable feeling in our gut, chest, or butt cheeks but the opportunity lost, the experience missed, the life not lived.
It sort of doesn't make any sense, does it?
So if you're shy, let's you and me try to stop letting it happen. Maybe with a true step-by-step approach (i.e., not the one above) and a little bit of time and effort, we could do it. Sure, it's not quite that simple, but it might not be all that complicated either.
You got any ideas? Come on, speak up! Don't be shy!
Who knows? Before long we could be slapping a "for sale" sign on that shell!
Yep, got a bit serious in the last part of this post. Know why? Because ....