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What is Wrong in Being Shy?

Updated on March 21, 2014

Have you known of someone at some point in your life who was shy? Chances are you would have. If you did come across a shy person, and you yourself were not shy by any means, what was your reaction towards that shy person? Did you, for example, think they were arrogant or that they were abnormal, or unfriendly? Most people misunderstand the shy person. They are often labeled and made fun of, especially in their school and college lives. Even, later on, they are spoken of as being strange, weird, unfriendly, etc. It is quite unfortunate that shy people get treated like this. It starts with their own families, who put pressure on them to be "normal." When their own families don't understand them, in most cases, perhaps one shouldn't be surprised at how others view them!!


Life as a Shy Person & Some Famous Shy People

I have known how it is to be a shy person. I have been shy all my life. I have improved a bit on my shyness but am still essentially a shy individual and not much of a social person. You could say, I am a loner by choice and I like it that way. A lot of people don't understand that. Most think being shy is abnormal. I don't think it is. It is normal, if you aren't affected by it. If one feels acutely aware of being shy and wants to overcome it, then one should seek help, but not if you are totally okay with it, within you, as I am. I wouldn't, for example, categorize it as a "disease" as I've heard people describe shyness. I don't buy the argument too that being shy comes in the way of success. If one were to look around, one would be surprised at the number of successful people, who happened to be shy. Albert Einstein was shy and so was Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and countless others. Not all professions require you to be social too and so a shy person can be quite at home in a number of jobs. There are also shy people who can put up a social facade of being an extrovert to carry out their public duties, but yet be a very shy individual in their personal lives.

Being Shy as an Adult & as a Child - The Difference

Although as an adult, I can accept my shyness and can feel totally at home with it, when I was younger, I had problems with my shyness. As a child, dealing with shyness is harder. It is so because you have every one around you telling you that there is something wrong with you, including your parents, and you know no better and tend to believe something is really wrong with you. My parents didn't mean it, but they'd end up telling other people that I am shy in a bid to explain my absence when guests came calling for example. I had this thing; whenever we had guests come over - I would feel very shy to come and meet them. And so, they ended up labeling me as shy and then I'd get all sorts of advice from the guests too about ways to overcome my shyness. So, it was stressful. Also, as a child, I guess you need to feel part of a group and I had very few friends. One of my earliest memories is standing at the edge of a sports field, watching the other kids play. That was tough. So, being shy as a kid is different from being shy as an adult.

Parent of a Shy Child - The Do's and Don'ts

If you are a parent of a shy kid, you can do a lot of things to help your shy kid. Here are some of the do's and don'ts:

  • Never ever describe your child as "shy" in front of others, including family members. Doing so would only reinforce the thought in their minds and would make them feel worse.
  • Accept your child for who he/she is and emphasize and praise their positive qualities.
  • Do not force your child into being what they are not - i.e. being an extrovert.
  • In social situations, try to make things easier for your shy child by introducing him/her to other children or adults. Shy people don't usually make the first move, so do that for them. Try to be around them in case you notice them being alone, without any company.
  • Build a relationship of trust with your shy child. Forcing them into social situations they dread won't do any good for building that trust. Do things with their consent and by easing their fears. That way, they'd approach you more easily if they need help.

While shyness should generally not be a cause of concern, in some cases, it could be a symptom of a larger emotional disorder. As a parent, one needs to use your best judgment in making the differentiation. I turned out pretty well in spite of my shyness, and I know of others who have too. So, if you are a shy person, you have really nothing to worry about or be ashamed of. Unless you let others' opinion of you affect you, you have no reason to question yourself or doubt yourself.

Shy Quotes By The Famous

I'm shy, paranoid, whatever word you want to use. I hate fame. I've done everything I can to avoid it.

Johnny Depp

I'm still a shy person. I've learned to put that aside on certain occasions. I have to. It's part of my job.

Alexis Bledel

It was very natural for me to want to disappear into dark theater, I am really very shy. That is something that people never seem to fully grasp because, when you are an actor, you are meant to be an exhibitionist.

Nicole Kidman

The fact of the matter is that most actors are shy people.

Roger Moore

I'm not shy in the spotlight. I might seem austere and even arrogant, but far from it, I'm actually shy.

Riccardo Muti (Italian conductor)

I'm not a real social person - I'm shy - and a lot of the business is just social.

Kim Basinger

I can go in front of an orchestra. I can go in front of an audience. But if you see me walking through an audience in the reception or through a lot of people, I'm still shy.

Kurt Masur (German conductor)

The flower that smells the sweetest is shy and lowly



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    • Feline Prophet profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

      I was a shy child and grew into what I insisted was a 'reserved' teenager. It was only after I became a journalist that I learned to be more outgoing - I realised that if I didn't open my mouth I wasn't going to get any stories worth writing! I like to think I've reached a stage where I can make polite conversation with just about anyone!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thanks FP for dropping by and for sharing your story. I am much like you in that sense. I grew out of my shyness as the years went by too. However, I still am essentially a very shy person.

      I am not a social person for instance and enjoy my solitude, which I spend reflecting upon things and taking in the joys of being a parent.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I was shy all through childhood to adulthood. I joined a speaking group to overcome it. Nice hub.

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

      What an intelligent choice of topic! I wonder why I couldn't think of it. Probably because it (shyness) has been an integral part of my personality too since my childhood days. Like you, I've improved quite a bit as far as my social skills are concerned but if left to me, I would prefer solitude and quiet instead of being a part of the crowd. The kind of work I'm in, I've to wear a mask all the time..(you know what I mean). I don't know whether for genetic or some other reason, my son too happens to be the same type. However, it's a blessing for him that his mother had to face lot of societal and work pressures because of being shy and as such, she understands how shy kids should be handled. :) I can so much relate to you. It seemed that you were writing, not about yourself, but about me. All kudos to you for a very well written hub.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you Sandy for stopping by and for your comments. I can relate to your experience!!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you Anjali for sharing your story. You know, while writing this hub, I did wonder about the very same thing - why didn't I write about this topic before? I guess I was just trying to avoid it. I always had this at the back of my mind but could never bring myself to write about it. Glad I finally did!!

      I know what you mean by the "mask." I have worn it quite often too :) Your son is lucky indeed to have you as his mom. Only shy people can understand what it is like growing up as a shy individual and that experience would no doubt help you parent him very well.

      Thanks Anjali again for dropping by and sharing your story.

    • profile image

      Tay 7 years ago

      I'm an introvert myself, which really isn't in my psychological opinion the same thing as being shy, although I am that too. I don't talk with people I don't know very easily, or make new friends easily which is the shy part. I wonder if I am instinctively shy because I'm an introvert. I prefer to be by myself and do not need other people in my world to find entertainment and joy. I definitely don't see either as a bad thing. If everybody in the world were one way or the other the world would be a very dull place to live.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Tay, I am all of those things myself so I can relate to what you are saying. Agree too that if all people were alike, the world would indeed be a dull place to live in.

      However, I guess it is in the nature of people to seek or demand conformity, which is why most parents pressurize their kids to be just like the others!!

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      My dearest Shil...

      I agree with you! If you feel at home being shy, there´s nothing wrong with it! Labeling a shy person as sick is rather disrespectful as everyone is the way they better feel comfortable with. Reasons could be so many. The beauty of personal relationships is to accept everyone as he/she is!

      Interesting hub!

      Warmest regards and infinite blessings, my friend,


    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Dearest Al,

      Always nice to hear from you. I agree! Thanks for dropping by and for your comments.

      Best regards,

    • 4x4 profile image

      4x4 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great hub!

      I too can be considered a shy person & my son as well.

      Great read & great advise, double thanks!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you '4x4' for dropping by and for your comments. Glad you liked this hub!

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

      Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      It is perfectly OK to be shy - you created realy useful Hub about this topic.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you Tatjana for dropping by and for your comments. Glad you liked this hub!!

    • wolfpack5 profile image

      wolfpack5 7 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Shil, there are so many people I know that is shy. they are some of the most intriguing characters I have ever met. There is nothing to shy this day and age, but the way the parents act sometimes its ridiculous. That's my opinion anyway :)

      have a great day my friend....

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you WP for stopping by this hub and for your comments. Appreciate your opinion!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      I have this theory, Shil, that from birth every one of us is an introvert (basically shy) and many learn to become more socialized (extroverts) as they grow older. Others prefer not to change.

      Why are we all introverts at first? Because as infants we are tiny in a world populated by very large people - our parents, other adults, older siblings, etc. Everyone is larger, older, smarter.

      You can choose to remain an introvert as you grow older or become more of an extrovert. There is no shame in either decision. Thanks for a well-written, informative hub.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      That's an interesting theory drb, and it may well be true, but I'd think partly so! Its my belief that there are many other factors at play. A bit of genetic predisposition perhaps also is a contributing factor.

      I have not studied the causes of shyness, as I never felt it to be a disease or abnormality, but am sure there might be multiple factors at play.

      Thanks for stopping by this hub drb and for the very interesting perspective. Appreciate it very much!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      A very informative hub Shil - we are all different and should be allowed to grow as we choose to. I am a big believe of MArie Montessori and her method which are tune with what you are saying about shyness - don't force, don't humiliate - let the child discover themselves.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you Billy for stopping by this hub. Am glad you found it informative. Yes, I agree!!

      Thank you again for visiting this hub!!

    • jennshealthstore profile image

      Jenn 7 years ago from Florida

      I agree. People just do not understand shy people. I would say I am less shy now than I was as a teenager, but I still like my alone time. There are even times when I do not feel like being in the company of others. Not that I do not like them, I just like alone time. Another thing I have realized about the more reserved person is the fact that we tend to study people more. I feel I am more intuitive than most others.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Nice to hear from you again Jenn!! Yes, I can relate to what you say. I am much the same person as you :)

      Yes, we do study people and things around us much more as we have more time to think - than party or do stuff like that!!

      I've found my alone time to be very productive, both in terms of work as well as getting to know myself better (might seem odd, but you do need to get to know you and your emotions better).

      I've, for example, been able to turn myself from being a negatively oriented person to being a positive person by studying myself and my reactions to things.

      I've not done a study on this, but I guess if someone were to do a study of all our scientists and thinkers, I'd imagine they'd find a lot of them are shy!!

    • profile image

      jambo87 7 years ago

      I experience a lot if dissonance within myself from being a shy, introverted person. But the fact is, I enjoy my alone time so much. I like to read a lot, watch movies, etc. and I get such a satisfied feeling from a good book/film, or even writing in my journal. I feel that introverted people feel that people can't relate to them. I'm not sure if this is true. It may be an effect of just not socializing often and widely, but it may be the opposite. I'm 22 years old and most people my age, in this era, aren't readers, don't care about world events, etc.. They just seem to be selfish, foolish, or immature. However, I still feel really jealous when I watch people around me having a great time with each other. I love having a great conversation, it just doesn't happen often enough. Thanks for a thoughtful article!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      I can relate to what you are saying Jambo!! I too like my alone time. I honestly feel that the way I am and have been has worked for me. For example, the many books I've read have expanded my understanding of the world, and if it weren't for my shyness, perhaps I'd have spent all that time doing meaningless, perhaps harmful things!!

      Yes, you do feel jealous of other extroverted people at times and you wish you could join in the fun, but that's a normal feeling. Having conversations too is many times dependent on you being the initiator of the conversation, which many shy people find difficult.

      It is good you are a reader and are interested in the world around you. I know it has stood me in good stead over the years, and as long as you are comfortable and at peace with your shyness, it really shouldn't affect you adversely in any way.

      If anything, all your reading and knowledge of things around you would probably ensure you have an edge over others around you intellectually speaking!!

      Thank you Jambo for sharing your story. This hub is richer thanks to your contribution to it. Thanks again for stopping by!!

    • profile image

      jambo87 7 years ago

      Thank you Shil1978! It's nice to relate :)

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      You are welcome jambo :)

    • cheerfulnuts profile image

      cheerfulnuts 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Shil1978, this is a very nice hub. I can totally relate! Like what anjalichugh had said, it was like you were writing for me (or us). And just because there are more outgoing people out there, it doesn't mean that shy people are "not normal." Everyone has good and bad points, whether one's outgoing or shy. We need both types of people to have a balanced world. It's comforting to know that there are many people like me. (I didn't know that Johnny Depp and Nicole Kidman are shy!) Thanks Shil1978 for this hub!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 6 years ago

      I didn't know either, cheerfulnuts, that those very famous people were shy, but was pleasantly surprised to know that they were and that it did not prevent them from being successful and famous. I think that should give hope to parents of shy children. Often times, they are so unfairly burdened by their parents for being shy - as if it is some sort of a disease. Thank you, cheerfulnuts, for stopping by and reading this hub. Am glad you liked this hub :)

    • goodsuccess profile image

      goodsuccess 5 years ago from NIGERIA ,WEST AFRICA

      This is a great and awesome hub, shyness can be taken care summarily. I was bextremely shy during my childhood, but now that has been overtaken by events.You too can, if you care.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 5 years ago

      Thank you, 'goodsuccess' for stopping by this hub and commenting. Am glad you liked this hub. My experience has been similar, although I still am quite shy, but I am quite comfortable and okay with it!!

    • profile image

      sketchingaway 5 years ago

      Shyness can be a cruel stereotype. If you keep to yourself, say very little, or even get slightly timid--you are labeled as a shy, and awkward person in the social area. However, having grown up shy myself, i find that its that labeling that pushes shy people away: why would they feel welcome when they are judged by their personality? I have great friends, but i still find the front of classroom terrifying, and it takes some time for me to open up.But does that make me "the weird one"? What im saying is: shy people shouldn't be wrote off yet; they can be great people when you try to get to know them. They are just very aware of their surroundings,attentive, but also are good listeners.People grew to really like me when they took the time to know me.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 5 years ago

      Sketchingaway, thank you for sharing your story. I can so identify with you. I was and still am very much like you. Like you, I am terrified of addressing an audience, but I've done very well for myself in life.

      As I've stated, there are numerous successful people who've been shy and their shyness hasn't held them back. It is unfortunate though that most non-shy people judge the shy as if they are not normal people, which they in fact are and shouldn't have to prove to anyone!!

    • profile image

      matt 5 years ago

      Hi. I'm very late I know, but I just wanted to say thanks for writing this.

      I should explain that, I am a 14 yr old boy and very shy. So in a Western (British) high school, I was always going to have problems.

      I was even diagnosed with Autism at age 3 and put into a special needs school, but my grandfather managed to pull me out after the first day, being so enraged xD. Fortunately, I have since managed to make good progress, socially and intellectually.

      However I am a major target because of my shyness, and even when they stop, they tell me to stop being so "boring" and that they only want to "make me more interesting." I am sociable when I want to be, but I like alone time a lot and I feel like I'll be victimised when I open my mouth.

      But yeah, thanks. I've been feeling down a lot recently about a few things, including my personality but this has helped. :)

    • kccamp profile image

      kccamp 5 years ago from Ontario

      Very good thoughts on this subject. I can really relate.

      I'm a very shy person. Have been all my life, even as a child and grown up. Funny how I choose to be a hairstylist, one who has to be chatty and social all day long. But I'm still very shy, and prefer the quite times being by myself.

      Great hub!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 5 years ago

      Thank you, KCC, for stopping by and commenting. Glad you liked this hub! Glad as well to meet another shy compatriot :)

    • profile image

      shyone2 5 years ago

      Thanks for your hub. It's refreshing to read that shyness is normal instead of a personality disorder. I don't have a lot of friends or socialize much but enjoy being alone most of the time. I don't think that makes a person sick or weird as long as they aren't hurting themselves or others.

    • Ebonny profile image

      Ebonny 4 years ago from UK

      Thank you for writing this - I grew up thinking my shyness was a negative thing and still do to some extent, but it needn't be. The advice to parents is very helpful.

    • profile image

      didosam 4 years ago

      i feel the same but.. i cant get over it wenever i am in a class i choke wen i need to speak

    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 2 years ago from Chicago Region

      I have shared some of my experiences on here of being a shy college student. Shyness can make it difficult to make friends and can lead to a feeling of isolation. As an adult, shyness can make it harder to get a positive evaluation from your coworkers, bosses and supervisors. The best thing that ever happened to me was reaching a level of financial security so that shyness was no longer such a stumbling block for me.

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