On Shyness

Many of our interactions with people-- or lack thereof-- are markedly, if not obviously, influenced by a nagging, fault-finding, and ever-present force: shyness. We often times avert our eyes, and unwittingly take different routes, just to avoid encountering people who might make our hearts throb, our cheeks turn red, and our bodies perspire. To rectify this character imperfection, we sometimes turn to an effective, yet ephemeral, remedy: alcohol. Not surprisingly, not long after the state of drunkenness abate, we transform back to our normal state of timidness and shyness. When seeking the advice of the confidant, we are told to ‘be ourselves’, which--despite the good intentions-- does not lead us so far from our confusion and timidness around relationships.




The shy’s chief fear is to appear stupid or dull in front of the other, precicely because they think that the ‘other’ is vastly different different than them, hence it would require a special set of skills to appeal to the ‘other’. Therefore, shyness, in essence, is about misconstruing the quentensial nature of human beings. Given that the shy person isn’t particularly shy around all groups of people, he or she is shy around a particular subset of people: it could be the elders, the opposite sex, the intellectual, or the beautiful. The otherness that the shy feels towards specific people is what causes him to be awkwardly tongue-tied in their presence. Shyness is an over-attachment to one’s own experiences and attributes that inadvertently casts a specific set of people into a circle of incomprehensible and bizarre foreigners.


An average looking male teenager may, for instance, be particularly timid in the presence of the opposite sex, primarly the beautiful among them; a simple minded accountant, who is usually rather well-possessed, gets unsettled around the intellectuals; a regular rural farmer may grow bashful around influential authroiity figures. The feeling of unease that hijacks the victim of shyness isn’t ambiguously inexplicable; in fact, it is rather explainable.

The shy’s chief fear is to appear stupid or dull in front of the 'other', precisely because they think that the ‘other’ is vastly different than them, hence it would require a special set of skills to appeal to the ‘other’. Therefore, shyness, in essence, is about misconstruing the quintessential nature of human beings. Given that the shy person isn’t particularly shy around all groups of people, he or she is shy around a particular subset of people: it could be the elders, the opposite sex, the intellectual, or the beautiful. The otherness that the shy feels towards specific people is what causes him to be awkwardly tongue-tied in their presence. Shyness is an over-attachment to one’s own experiences and attributes that inadvertently casts a specific set of people into a circle of incomprehensible and bizarre foreigners.

What the shy ought to rehearse in the recesses of their minds is that despite the seemingly different facades that others project, in essence, we humans are all the same. Almost everybody is afraid to make fools out of themselves. Given that we know ourselves from the inside (which can be quite a mess) and therefore are susceptible to the peculiar craziness of our minds, and only know others from the outside (which can be quite carefully polished), our hesitation won’t stop us from deeming the ‘other’ starkly different. A 35-year-old Indian biochemist, might find that his passion for sport cars is shared with his neighbor’s 9-year-old son Swedish son. When tongue-tied in front of a person, one might easily remember that they too once lost sleep over thinking about an ex, ruminated about the gap between their ambition and their current career, and felt crushed by an existentially unbearable loneliness. The realization of the universality of human characteristics, therefore, will render us more smooth and less tongue-tied when we are in the vicinity of the ‘other’

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