You're sitting in class. Your friend comes by and sits near you but they are continuing a conversation with someone else. There's this really funny story you want to tell them but you don't want to interrupt. You begin to think of different ways to start the conversation and what's the best way to tell the story.
While you're thinking about what to say, your friend turns to you and says hey. You're ready to talk and begin the conversation but nothing comes out. You want to tell them about everything yet your words fall short and you only reply with a hello back. Embarrassed and flustered, you then turn forward and scratch everything you were going to say.
You get down on yourself for shutting yourself off to other people all because you are scared to come off a certain way that they would either be uninterested in your story or would think less of you. The class then begins and you never had the conversation you wanted to.
This is one example of what it is like to have the mindset of a shy person. Isn't it exhausting? How could you constantly think like that, and so harshly? Why would you do this to yourself?
All these questions are valid and all relatively have the same answer. It is because some shy people micro-analyze themselves to a point that it is just easier to shut off rather than be judged or analyzed.
There was a portion of my time in high school that I thought of myself in the same light. I was so scared to surround myself with the wrong people or, even worst, petrified that I would be around the right people but they wouldn't want any part of me. So, in my insecure and vulnerable mindset, I shut off. I didn't start conversations anymore.
The constant rehearsals I had in my head before I spoke and out of frustration, I wouldn't speak at all.
The number of times I wanted to tell the teacher the right answer, but I was too scared that it would be wrong and everyone around me would think I'm stupid.
The many times I wanted to turn and talk to a crush sitting nearby, but I was too nervous to start a conversation or didn't know what to say next so I would turn back around.
I didn't partake in open conversations around me because I was too scared they would look over with a side eye to "bud out."
I waited to speak until spoken to. The worst part about that statement is that I was not always spoken to. I was overlooked. I was disregarded. I was shut out, just like what I did to everyone else. Sure it is okay and valid to want to be left alone, but don't create loneliness for yourself.
My mother told me at a very young age that her grandmother once told her that you cannot mix shy people with ignorant people. Some deathly shy people sometimes come off as disinterested in what you have to say, or even ignorant. And that's really not the case a lot of the time. It's really just because they are very shy and they are getting inside of their head, like the scenario described above. A lot of the time, they DO want to talk to you and be social, but it's scary and intimidating for them.
So for all of my very shy friends out there, please know that a lot of what you are telling yourself is not true. Just because you say it's true for yourself, that does not make it true. People want to hear your voice. You have important things to be said. You are intelligent. Your feelings are valid. People want to be around you, just let them in. You are wanted in this world. If you are around those who make you feel otherwise, screw them. They aren't worth your time, thoughts, and energy. Surround yourself with those who make you feel important. Those who hand you the microphone to speak and don't drown you out with their voice. Those that look out for others like you do.
That's why we should look after one another.
Even if you don't want to always be the first one to start the conversation, start it. Even when you have to be the first one to say hello, and you have to go out of your way to do so, still do it. You don't know what you could be missing if you were to overlook the "shy kid." They could be the coolest person ever, or someone you really can connect with. Just give them a shot. Look after those shy kids. Stick up for those shy kids. In group conversations, ask what they think and/or purposefully include them in conversation. Invite them to events and hangouts you and your other friends are planning. You don't know how much of an incredible shift could happen in your life if you ask them to come into your life.
Be that someone for the shy kid.
Look out for the shy kid.