I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a friend say this to me: “You’re so nice! I can’t believe I used to think you were such a bitch!” Ugh.
Hi, my name is Jessica and I’m very shy and awkward. I also suffer from Bitchy Resting Face, which isn’t really my fault, but is something I’m working on. If I give you a mean look or don’t really speak up, that doesn’t mean I don’t like you or have something against you. It’s just me being my weirdo self and I’m sorry if it’s coming off the wrong way, but honestly I probably want to be your friend.
Now, if only I had that entire paragraph on a name tag, my life would be set!
I’ve always been a shy girl – in kindergarten, my teacher actually wanted to hold me back a year because she thought I had some sort of speech impediment. My mom explained that, no, I’m just quiet in social situations (although I definitely was not quiet at home). At the end of high school, I won the award for Most Shy and accepted it in front of my class while blushing furiously. I regularly get asked, “Why are you so quiet?” which is a question I wish I could answer, but can’t.
My whole life, people have been quick to assume that I am rude rather than just shy. I get it – dealing with shy people can be difficult. I know that being awkward in social situations can easily come off as acting bitchy. But I wish that people would take a minute to get to know me rather than automatically come to the assumption that I am just being rude. In reality, I like to think that I’m a very nice girl. I don’t like confrontations or hurting people’s feelings and although I might have a hard time contributing to a conversation, I am always listening intently and thinking about the things I wish I could speak up and say.
Like I said before, I have noticed that most people don’t know how to deal with shyness. It is a trait that seems to frustrate people very easily. When I didn’t speak up in class, my teachers would assume that I just didn’t care. When I meet new people, if I don’t feel very comfortable with them right away, they come to the conclusion that I don’t want to talk to them. When I go on first dates, dudes think that I’m not interested in getting to know them.
The truth is, meeting new people is a struggle for me. Trying to think of things to talk about with someone I don’t know literally gives me anxiety. I feel this panic rise up inside of me and I start psyching myself out. What if I say something boring or stupid that doesn’t make any sense? What if I accidentally say something offensive? All of these panicky thoughts make me blush and once I feel that redness creeping up my neck, I get even more embarrassed. Sometimes, it’s just easier for me to not initiate a conversation at all. Avoidance, everyone.
As weird as this may sound, another thing that’s hard for me is saying hello to people. When I run into someone I don’t know very well, I’m so worried that they won’t remember me that I usually say nothing to them. Or, if I see someone I know and they’re busy doing something, I don’t say hello because I don’t want to interrupt them. I realize that this lack of greeting makes me seem cold and rude. I honestly don’t mean for it to be that way.
Since I am aware that basically everyone in my life once thought I was a bitchy person, my slightly crippling shyness is something that I have been working on. Getting an internship at Us Weekly was probably one of the things that helped me the most. There, I had to learn to deal with all sorts of different people – and I also had to learn how to interview celebrities. While it was terrifying at first, I eventually got used to it. Learning how to confidently ask famous people personal questions about their lives made me more confident in talking to “regular,” non-famous people.
To this day, though, I still have issues with coming across as a rude person. As much as I try to speak up, sometimes my shyness gets the best of me and it just doesn’t happen. I hate the thought that I could be losing potential friends because of this, but sometimes it seems like it’s impossible to fix.
Basically, the moral of the story is this: don’t always assume that someone who is being quiet is being rude. Sometimes, we’re just feeling very shy.
Do you suffer from being shy and awkward like I do? Can you relate to this? Have you ever thought someone who was shy was being rude? Tell me in the comments.