What happens when the shy girl grows up? At some point my shyness became a secret, and not one I know how to manage
Once upon a time, when I was a young school girl in uniform, I’d always be labelled as the shy girl. I have former classmates who, when I see them out and about, have no flicker of recognition whatsoever and on multiple occasions they’ve been asked how I know our mutual friends from school when we were all in the same lessons just a few years ago.
Nowadays there seems to have been a shift in the general perception of me. Those who are closest to me know that I am very introverted by nature but others, who are just getting to know me or have only ever been acquainted with me from a distance now seem to think of me as outgoing. Being voted ‘Most Friendly’ in my block last year came as a pleasant surprise… on the first day I genuinely considered never leaving my room out of fear of awkward encounters with blockmates who were mostly 3 years younger than me!
Recently Whelan was on a Skype call with a few of his friends. I was starving so asked him to come with me to get food because (even after living at his for months) I was too shy to go downstairs on my own. One of his friends then responded with “you’re not shy, Meg” as, somehow, in the short time I’d known her I’d managed to come across as someone not crippled by fear of social interaction.
Though this new identity has the potential of being a self-fulfilling prophecy, with it comes an image that I’m very reluctant to embrace as me being talkative very much depends on my state of mind from day to day. Someone I knew from my course at uni spoke with me in the final weeks of our last year and told me that he’d always thought I was a bit too cool for him to speak to. This confession floored me to say the least (even Whelan doesn’t think I’m cool!) and upset me to a degree as well; rather than shyness, my quiet nature and unwillingness to approach people had come across as being standoffish with an air of ‘too good for you’ and I’d potentially missed out on a friendship.
Since that moment I’ve been wary of how I can come across to people. I’m never going to consider myself as ‘cool’ but I suppose an interest in music and being a follower of fashion can contribute to that sort of blogger image. I’m no longer the geeky shy girl who knuckled down and got good grades and I have to be aware that as I’ve grown up and matured, my withdrawn nature is very much open to interpretation – and my resting bitch face really doesn’t help!
I’m still shy and I still class myself as an introvert. I can’t see either of these facts ever changing and I’m happy for them to be part of my identity, however, it’s becoming more and more evident that I’m going to have to make more of an effort to not be terrified of social interaction. I’d sooner die than put on a ‘bubbly’ persona but I think I need to challenge myself to face my fears and make the first move in social situations, lest I want to give people an impression of being moody and unwilling to talk to anyone I don’t deem worthy (when really it’s the other way around).
I hope this post won’t be taken the wrong way. You’ll note that I certainly don’t agree with the impressions people are getting from me and I really just wanted to shout into the void about this minor shy girl identity crisis. If you’re reading this and have ever thought I was a little bit up myself and unwilling to chat then rest assured, I probably didn’t deem myself worthy of talking to you… sorry if I’ve missed out on your companionship!