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Shyness Is NOT a Curse - Learn to Embrace Who You Are

Updated on April 12, 2013

Are you the shy person who likes to sit at the back of the classroom and never answer any questions?

Do you avoid going to parties for fear of speaking to people?

Do others judge you because you're a bit of a wallflower?

If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, don't worry - you're not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of shy people around the world. If you're not shy, you probably know of someone who is.

But, what does it mean to be a little inhibited by this?

You might think that it's strange, abnormal or a curse. Some people make fun of it. Some of them simply don't understand it. Some people get annoyed by it. Some people hate themselves because of it.

There are even hundreds of websites devoted to curing this "illness" - as some would put it.

They refer to it as it being a handicap, or having a weakness.

And it's not.

It's actually something to celebrate and embrace, if you happen to have a shy personality.

Sometimes Shyness is Misunderstood

In my first year of high school, I had the biggest crush on the shy boy in our class. He didn't speak to anyone on the first day and kept to himself. I immediately wanted to know all about him - because he wasn't like the rest of the boys.

Shy guys seem to fascinate a lot of girls, and women. They fall for them because they find this type of quality attractive.

If we look at shy girls for instance, it's normally not the same case. They often tend to come off as aloof, snobbish, or even downright rude.

Some people don't understand this.

They can't understand why someone will choose to be quiet, or not want to participate in a conversation. They might even try to coax them out of their shell by telling them to stop being so quiet, or to speak up.

Shyness can stem from genetics. It can develop at any stage during childhood, and can also be caused by personal experiences.

Most often it's a personality trait, or having a fear of what others will think. They fear rejection, negativity, criticism or ridicule and often prefer not to speak in order to avoid this.

It's definitely not a case of rudeness, trying to be better than everyone else, or being a snob.

Why It's Great To Be Shy!

I'm going to let you in on a little secret...

Do you know what that is?

Being shy is GREAT!

That's right. I said great.

It's NOT a curse or something to wish away.

If you think about it, shy people have the advantage.

They can become a little more outspoken if they ever wanted to. Outspoken people can't become shy.

Reasons Why Being Shy is a Gift - Not a Curse!

  1. They enjoy their own space. Shy people don't get bored often, they're able to amuse themselves and keep occupied without having to rely on other people to provide them with entertainment or conversation. They don't mind being alone.
  2. They make good friends. Shy people are good listeners, they're understanding and they're empathetic. Excellent qualities for friendship.
  3. They are cautious. Most shy people won't jump into a situation without thinking about it rationally and cautiously.
  4. They are calm. Shy people tend to promote a feeling of calm among others, and this can be a very attractive quality, as well as promote positive feelings.
  5. They are approachable. It might not be easy for them to approach others, but they won't be loud or obnoxious in social gatherings. They'll be the ones that are easy to talk to on a one-on-one basis.
  6. They are believable. Shy people tend to be more trusted, believable and good. These are often seen as excellent qualities of leaders.
  7. They are easy to confide in. A good career choice for shy people may be in therapy or counselling.
  8. They can be more objective. They're able to stand back and look at things from an outsider's point of view, or watch things from the sidelines first.
  9. They can be more determined. With more barriers to cross, they can become mentally stronger and more determined to succeed in life.
  10. They are great people readers. Shy people observe more, and are able to pick up mannerisms characteristics and actions that others might not.

Famous Shy People

Yes, even famous people are shy!

Another reason why being shy shouldn't be seen as a curse, abnormality or handicap.

Famous Celebrities Who Are Shy

  1. Glenn Close
  2. Candice Bergen
  3. Audrey Hepburn
  4. Diane Keaten
  5. Grace Kelly
  6. Jessica Lange
  7. Laura Linney
  8. Michelle Pfeiffer
  9. Meg Ryan
  10. Ingrid Bergman
  11. Clint Eastwood
  12. Jack Lemmon
  13. Tom Hanks
  14. Steve Martin
  15. Noah Wiley
  16. Diane Sawyer
  17. Jane Clayson
  18. David Letterman
  19. Johnny Carson
  20. Barbara Walters

Being shy isn't a handicap or a curse. It's not something to hate about yourself or wish you didn't have.

Shyness has its advantages, you just need to figure out what yours is and learn how to use it to your advantage!


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    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 

      4 years ago from Chicago Region

      As a college student, I found shyness to be a terrible burden and have shared some of my experiences on here. As a shy guy, I did not find that girls were attracted to me because of it.

      As a shy introvert, I think there is a difference between shyness and introversion. To me, shyness is a negative, because it limits your ability to connect with others, but introversion can be a positive, because it makes you less dependent on others. If only I could be an introvert without being shy!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Unanimous, I agree....being shy isn't easy and some days I wish I wasn't too. But I believe we are given personality traits and we are the way we are for a reason. I don't think I'd want to be someone loud who always wanted to be the centre of attention. Glad you enjoyed it! Always good to meet other shy people ;)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I still think shyness is a curse, and hate myself for being shy. I really loved your article though, felt a little good reading it. Thank you!

      Voted beautiful :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Cathy, that's a great way of looking at it...I wish more people thought of shy people this way, thank you! :)

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 

      6 years ago from NJ

      Excellent hub, shy people usually have an extraordinary side to them; they are worth getting to know.

      Voted UP!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Louisa, I think it's discriminated against in a lot of in South Africa as well. It can hinder certain things, just as extroversion can, but it's by no means a curse. Thanks so much for reading and for your comment! :)

    • Louisa Rogers profile image

      Louisa Rogers 

      6 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      I'm not shy, but I can sometimes feel awkward in social situations. And I often prefer shyer friends for the reasons you state above. According to the new book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts," by Susan Cain, introversion is discriminated against, at least in the U.S. Thanks for a great hub. Voted up and useful.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Rajan! Glad you enjoyed this Hub and thanks for sharing! :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Mel, you are so right ! Shy people are thought of as being snobs, more so in the case of females. Many a times a person who speaks in limited words is thought of as shy too. This is a very thorough analysis of the shyness factor. I hope this hub with its positive approach will be welcome by people who are shy. Great job! Voted up, useful and sharing this.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Mark! Thank you so much - glad you enjoyed reading this hub. Thanks for taking time to visit and comment - much appreciated :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Blacksad buddy - Yes! Fully agree with you. Shy and proud of it...I think we also have the ability to surprise a lot of people, take in things that others normally wouldn't. I used to hate being shy, but now I've learnt to embrace it. There are a lot of benefits to it. Thanks for visiting and commenting! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Shiningirisheyes - It's strange that, I can relate to your sister. I'm myself around people I know or when speaking to one or two people, but become quite shy when I'm in public and meeting new people. Glad you liked the hub, thanks for reading and for commenting! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Mary - you have no idea how refreshing it is to hear that! I too have often been referred to as a snob or a bit stuck up because I'm quite shy when I first meet new people. Once I get to know them then it's fine. I'll go check out your hub soon - sounds like a great read! Thank you so much for your comment, always enjoy reading them. Thanks! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Keith - I agree 100% there. Being shy should be celebrated! Glad to hear that you've made the transition - you've experienced both sides...that's great! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Linda - I didn't know they were both! Learn something new every day ;) Thanks for visiting - glad you enjoyed :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi ishwaryaa22 - Thank you! Shy people are put down way too much - I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for visiting and for sharing :)

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 

      6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      I have always been a bit shy, not completely but to a degree. This is an interesting hub, thank you Mel!

    • Blacksad buddy profile image

      Dany Bélanger 

      6 years ago from Québec

      I'm shy and I'm proud of it. Everything you say is true. Shy people are easy to talk to because we tend to listen a lot more than we actually talk. This doesn't mean we don't ever talk. If you get very close to a shy person you'll find out that he actually knows a lot of things and like to talk about them. We become talkative with time. We just need to be comfortable with the person we are talking to.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Nice hub. Who would have thought Steve Martin was shy! My older sister is shy when we are out in public. She is a hilarious person and very talkative and demonstrative around her family and friends but when she is in public she becomes very shy.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I have always been a shy, introverted person. I was misunderstood as a snob!

      I wrote a Hub about Introverts and included a test to find out if a person is an introvert.

      Great Hub. I voted it UP, etc.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with shyness and thank you for highlighting why. I used to be really shy because of culture shock, but now I'm really outgoing because I handled it. Being shy is definitely one of those many characteristics of human nature that is undermined and should be respected more.

      Voted up and sharing!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Tim McGraw and Keith Urban are also shy! Who would have thought!? I remember back in the day when I was shy...I never, ever want to go back there. I prefer the extrovert I am now. Others might not. Haha! Excellent hub Mel.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      6 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub filled with the valid points! I honestly admit that when I was a child, I used to be awfully shy. As I grew up, my shyness reduced to a great extent. I could relate to this well-written hub of yours! Way to go!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & Shared

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Michael! Thank you so much, and for the lovely verse! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Haha Julie! Your advantage is that you wouldn't have a complete meltdown before going on TV with Anderson Cooper. I'd probably throw up a few times as soon as I'd find out something like that! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Bill, I would never have guessed that you are shy! Then again, I think a lot of animal lovers are - I'm one of them too, although not as painfully shy as I was back in school. Glad we're able to embrace who we are - there aren't too many shy ones around who do!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi ChitrangadaSharan - Thank you so much for reading and for your comment! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Alecia, glad you enjoyed the hub! Being shy isn't so bad - I used to think it was a terrible illness the way everyone went on about it. Happy to realize today that it is indeed a blessing in many ways :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Lol Janine - I can't imagine you ever being shy! Glad you were able to come out of your shell. Thanks for reading and for sharing as always! Really appreciate it :)

    • Michael Tully profile image

      Michael Tully 

      6 years ago

      Excellent hub, Mel. Reminds me of a verse from the Book of Proverbs: "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise; and he who shutteth his lips is deemed a man of understanding." Voted up & interesting.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      This was a great article...though as you probably have figured out, shyness is not a problem I have. I have the opposite obscenely loudmouth!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Of course I can relate....I am shy and I just wrote about embracing who we you have me in your corner all the way with this hub. Great job Mel!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      That's an interesting hub. I had been shy during childhood---not the same as much now. Your explanation of shyness is very true. Nice and interesting.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I grew up shy and still am. I feel like I have a lot of characteristics you talk about so I don't have a problem being with others but just doing the work of going up to someone is a huge step. I've gotten better but I don't know if I'll ever be the life of the party. But like you say-it's not a bad thing. Voted up, useful, and interesting!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      6 years ago from New York, New York

      Mel, I could relate, because I was a bit shy back in the day. Don't know what happened now, because you truly can't shut me up, lol!! But seriously could understand about being shy, because like I said I was in elementary school and high school, but something happened in college that brought me out of my shell and now I truly don't have time to be shy. Great post and have shared and voted too!!


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