Being shy has always been a huge part of my life. It affects every single interaction and relationship I have.
Being shy, I can admit that it's easy to come off as awkward or uninterested, especially during my first interactions with someone. This leads to a lot of missed opportunities at friendship because many people are never patient enough to stick around long enough for me to open up. Though I can't blame them, I do wish that it was easier for extroverts to understand introverts and their day-to-day struggles.
Introverts, as shy people, tend to feel the most comfortable when they have alone time. Being alone is how we get most of our mental energy, comfort, and happiness. While extroverts get the same energy from being social, social settings can actually drain us. You can read about the differences between introverts and extroverts here.
Though I do agree that I absolutely need alone time in order to feel comfortable, energized, and happy, I don't want to always be alone.
Throughout my life, and now into college, I've noticed myself being left out of many things. Sleepovers, birthdays, college parties, club gatherings, group chats, you name it. I've spent many days and weekends alone with Netflix, wondering what I did to be excluded. Is my initial shyness too awkward for them to attempt to include me? But of course, I was too shy to even ask about it.
Eventually, the loneliness became too overwhelming, and I ended up confronting my friends. I was told that they assumed I'd be 'uncomfortable', 'uninterested', or 'not in the mood'. I wondered why they would assume this without even asking me. While being offended at first, I've come to realize that my friends have my best interest in mind and how understanding people who are different than you can be hard. According to Psychology Today, extroverts make up the majority of our populations. Which means it's easy for an introvert to be misunderstood.
If you are an outgoing person, I encourage you to try and better understand your shy and laidback friends. Make sure you go the extra mile to include them. Make sure you invite them to parties, to dinner, or even to study, rather than assume they'd prefer to stay home. Even if they say no, it makes them feel included to know you were thinking of them.
And if you find yourself meeting someone who comes off as shy and awkward, give them time. I'm sure we will end up surprising you!