Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Just shyness, or do I have a problem? Watch

    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    So I've always been shy - all of my school reports say 'quiet' 'needs to participate is discussions more' etc etc. I always thought it would get better as I got older.

    But now I'm at uni and it seems no better. A 'shy' friend of mine has become so unbelievably confident since coming to uni - she goes out most nights and is now so much more animated. I, however, stay in my room every night and haven't really made any friends.

    I know shy people usually say that they find it hard to speak to 'strangers', but become more confident once they get to know people more. I don't really find this, though. I feel more confident talking to a complete stranger than I do speaking to people I've known for a while (though in such situations these 'strangers' eg; in a volunteering report, or friends of parents etc, say that I do seem 'very shy', despite me feeling that I am behaving much more confidently than usual).

    When I am around pretty much everyone, I feel incredibly awkward and I can never think of anything at all to say, and am constantly thinking how boring I must seem. I literally only feel 'myself' with 4 people - my mum, dad, nan and best friend (though even with them I can only ever show 'positive emotions' - I never allow myself to show negative emotions like getting angry, or telling people when I am upset etc). If you asked anyone who knows me to describe my emotions they'd tell you I was pretty level - never overly happy/enthusiastic and never sad or angry - despite the fact I may feel this inside, I can never show it.

    I say I feel lonely, and everyone says 'so go out and meet people and make friends', though I consciously avoid going out to social situations. Even though I'm lonely and I don't like it, I'd still rather be in my room by myself than going out with people I 'half-know'. And - this feels terrible - there's a few people I'd call my friends, though I still feel to awkward around them to even walk back from a class with them - I'd much rather walk by myself than have to try to be interesting or make conversation....I'm worried I'll never 'meet anyone', as I've never had a boyfriend and haven't made any 'proper' friends (meaning those I am myself with) since primary school.

    In a similar respect, I cannot open up to anyone when speaking directly to them. I can only ever say how I am feeling about anything if I write it down or email them, etc. I basically avoid commenting on my feelings - I don't know why - it just feels as though I shouldn't be feeling certain ways sometimes, and that it's embarrassing or a nuisance.

    Basically, what I am getting at is, do you think I am just 'shy', or do you think that there could be a more psychological explanation for my rubbishly-awkward socialness? And does anyone else out there feel the same as me?
    Online

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Just really shy, simple as

    Dunno about advice though, best talking to your parents about it maybe or someone you feel close to

    If you can't talk about it to those closest to you, then there's the issue really

    (There's my TSR good deed for the year, I'm usually a ****)
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    The only way you can get anywhere is to try and abandon the feeling that what someone else may think of you is more important than anything else. You can't help someone else's perception of you by doing anything more than being yourself, if they don't like that you probably won't like them. Move on! Stop overanalyzing and just DO. You will gradually gain more confidence as you speak to more people. Trust me, i've been there.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Wow, it's a really weird feeling reading your own life in someone elses words :eek4:

    Social Anxiety Disorder

    Read. If you think you have this go to the GP and seek a referral to a specialist.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    i have the same problem but the other way around. i get shy with strangers but once i get to know them then its all cool.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    It sounds like you could have social anxiety. Anyway if you really want to know talk to your doctor who can get you diagnosed and therapy/meds if they think you need it
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    (Original post by History-Student)
    Wow, it's a really weird feeling reading your own life in someone elses words :eek4:

    Social Anxiety Disorder

    Read. If you think you have this go to the GP and seek a referral to a specialist.
    Thank you for the link...I definitely can relate to what it says, though I wouldn't say I necessarily have a 'fear' or display the symptoms of a fear...it's more of a 'block' and an intense feeling of 'not wanting' to be in social situations, rather than a fear....or maybe those things could be the same thing, but displayed differently...?

    It's also interesting where the article says that it can sometime cause eating disorders...I'm recovering from anorexia, though thought my shyness was pretty unrelated - though I actually don't know the reason for my ED, so perhaps this could be the reason - I don't know.

    I'll try to bring this up with my therapist, though - incidentally, due to the shyness (or social anxiety if that's what it may be), I actually can never bring myself to actually discuss things relating to such feelings with her! I swear, it's a catch-22
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    Seems like just social anxiety. Just a few questions: Do you 'zone out' a lot. Do you have trouble concentrating in classes or getting started with work (procastrinating)? Do you find it hard to follow group conversations and seem to process what people are saying and what you want to say slowly? The reason I ask are because these are all problems associated with ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive and this can lead to social anxiety.
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    Actually, after reading that article further, I do seem to show some of the symptoms of 'fear' when talking to people, though I never perceived them as fear...more as something annoying/embarrassing that I just do - like going red/blushing when talking or reading aloud (sometimes to the point of my eyes watering), and certainly my heart pounding when I am preparing to speak (usually in a group situation).

    (Original post by kratos90)
    Seems like just social anxiety. Just a few questions: Do you 'zone out' a lot. Do you have trouble concentrating in classes or getting started with work (procastrinating)? Do you find it hard to follow group conversations and seem to process what people are saying and what you want to say slowly? The reason I ask are because these are all problems associated with ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive and this can lead to social anxiety.
    In answer to your questions, I don't find I 'zone out' really - I usually concentrate pretty well in lectures and classes. I can follow group conversations fine (it's usually all I do in group situations - listen to everyone else's conversations!), however I do find that it takes me a long to time to respond or come up with answers - either I'm preparing what to say for so long - going over it in my mind - that soon the conversation has moved on, or I know what I want to say but can't seem to find the right time to say it (often hearing myself thinking 'just say it now!', 'yes now!' 'oh, too late!'), or on the other hand just having absolutely no idea what to say...then thinking of a perfect answer later on!
    • #2
    #2

    Im the same
    Since coming to uni ive too been wondering if its something more than shyness.
    Although sometimes i dont seem so bad, and then other times im worrying about going into the kitchen (im in halls) because someone else might be in there. Sometimes i force myself to just get on with it and think of something i can say to the person in the kitchen. Other times i listen for them going back to their room. Its pathetic.
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    (Original post by kratos90)
    Seems like just social anxiety. Just a few questions: Do you 'zone out' a lot. Do you have trouble concentrating in classes or getting started with work (procastrinating)? Do you find it hard to follow group conversations and seem to process what people are saying and what you want to say slowly? The reason I ask are because these are all problems associated with ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive and this can lead to social anxiety.

    In answer to your questions, no I don't think I 'zone out' - I find I can concentrate fine in lectures etc. I also find I can follow group discussions okay (usually in group situations all I do is observe everyone's conversations!), however I do think it often takes me ages in group situations to actually say something - it's either:

    1. I just can't think of what to say, though can always think of something later on when I look back
    2. I can kind of think of what to say but I have to make sure it 'comes out' right and so spend ages going over it before actually saying it - by which time the conversation has usually moved on.
    3. I know what I want to say but just can't say it/find the right time to say it...find myself thinking 'say it now!', 'yes right now!', 'oh no, I might interrupt', 'oh - too late, the topic's changed'....and all the while my heart is pounding

    And, after reading more of the article posted by History_Student - I said I didn't have a fear - more of an avoidance...however when I think about it, I do display many of the symptoms of fear - blushing (sometimes, like when having to read aloud to a group - I blush to the point of my eyes watering!)), heart-pounding and sweating - though I never before saw these things as fear - more just as something annoying that happened to me when with other people...
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    Ah you quoted me but I can't see anything. That's annoying. What was your answer to my questions, I'm intrigued.
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    In answer to your questions, kratos90, no I don't think I 'zone out' - I find I can concentrate fine in lectures etc. I also find I can follow group discussions okay (usually in group situations all I do is observe everyone's conversations!), however I do think it often takes me ages in group situations to actually say something - it's either:

    1. I just can't think of what to say, though can always think of something later on when I look back
    2. I can kind of think of what to say but I have to make sure it 'comes out' right and so spend ages going over it before actually saying it - by which time the conversation has usually moved on.
    3. I know what I want to say but just can't say it/find the right time to say it...find myself thinking 'say it now!', 'yes right now!', 'oh no, I might interrupt', 'oh - too late, the topic's changed'....and all the while my heart is pounding

    And, after reading more of the article posted by History_Student - I said I didn't have a fear - more of an avoidance...however when I think about it, I do display many of the symptoms of fear - blushing (sometimes, like when having to read aloud to a group - I blush to the point of my eyes watering!)), heart-pounding and sweating - though I never before saw these things as fear - more just as something annoying that happened to me when with other people...
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Anonymous)
    So I've always been shy - all of my school reports say 'quiet' 'needs to participate is discussions more' etc etc. I always thought it would get better as I got older.

    But now I'm at uni and it seems no better. A 'shy' friend of mine has become so unbelievably confident since coming to uni - she goes out most nights and is now so much more animated. I, however, stay in my room every night and haven't really made any friends.

    I know shy people usually say that they find it hard to speak to 'strangers', but become more confident once they get to know people more. I don't really find this, though. I feel more confident talking to a complete stranger than I do speaking to people I've known for a while (though in such situations these 'strangers' eg; in a volunteering report, or friends of parents etc, say that I do seem 'very shy', despite me feeling that I am behaving much more confidently than usual).

    When I am around pretty much everyone, I feel incredibly awkward and I can never think of anything at all to say, and am constantly thinking how boring I must seem. I literally only feel 'myself' with 4 people - my mum, dad, nan and best friend (though even with them I can only ever show 'positive emotions' - I never allow myself to show negative emotions like getting angry, or telling people when I am upset etc). If you asked anyone who knows me to describe my emotions they'd tell you I was pretty level - never overly happy/enthusiastic and never sad or angry - despite the fact I may feel this inside, I can never show it.

    I say I feel lonely, and everyone says 'so go out and meet people and make friends', though I consciously avoid going out to social situations. Even though I'm lonely and I don't like it, I'd still rather be in my room by myself than going out with people I 'half-know'. And - this feels terrible - there's a few people I'd call my friends, though I still feel to awkward around them to even walk back from a class with them - I'd much rather walk by myself than have to try to be interesting or make conversation....I'm worried I'll never 'meet anyone', as I've never had a boyfriend and haven't made any 'proper' friends (meaning those I am myself with) since primary school.

    In a similar respect, I cannot open up to anyone when speaking directly to them. I can only ever say how I am feeling about anything if I write it down or email them, etc. I basically avoid commenting on my feelings - I don't know why - it just feels as though I shouldn't be feeling certain ways sometimes, and that it's embarrassing or a nuisance.

    Basically, what I am getting at is, do you think I am just 'shy', or do you think that there could be a more psychological explanation for my rubbishly-awkward socialness? And does anyone else out there feel the same as me?
    its just shyness, it will get better as you hang around with your group of friends, go out with them one night have a few to drink, have a good time. then you'll have something to talk about for the next day
    • #3
    #3

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    So I've always been shy - all of my school reports say 'quiet' 'needs to participate is discussions more' etc etc. I always thought it would get better as I got older.

    But now I'm at uni and it seems no better. A 'shy' friend of mine has become so unbelievably confident since coming to uni - she goes out most nights and is now so much more animated. I, however, stay in my room every night and haven't really made any friends.

    I know shy people usually say that they find it hard to speak to 'strangers', but become more confident once they get to know people more. I don't really find this, though. I feel more confident talking to a complete stranger than I do speaking to people I've known for a while (though in such situations these 'strangers' eg; in a volunteering report, or friends of parents etc, say that I do seem 'very shy', despite me feeling that I am behaving much more confidently than usual).

    When I am around pretty much everyone, I feel incredibly awkward and I can never think of anything at all to say, and am constantly thinking how boring I must seem. I literally only feel 'myself' with 4 people - my mum, dad, nan and best friend (though even with them I can only ever show 'positive emotions' - I never allow myself to show negative emotions like getting angry, or telling people when I am upset etc). If you asked anyone who knows me to describe my emotions they'd tell you I was pretty level - never overly happy/enthusiastic and never sad or angry - despite the fact I may feel this inside, I can never show it.

    I say I feel lonely, and everyone says 'so go out and meet people and make friends', though I consciously avoid going out to social situations. Even though I'm lonely and I don't like it, I'd still rather be in my room by myself than going out with people I 'half-know'. And - this feels terrible - there's a few people I'd call my friends, though I still feel to awkward around them to even walk back from a class with them - I'd much rather walk by myself than have to try to be interesting or make conversation....I'm worried I'll never 'meet anyone', as I've never had a boyfriend and haven't made any 'proper' friends (meaning those I am myself with) since primary school.

    In a similar respect, I cannot open up to anyone when speaking directly to them. I can only ever say how I am feeling about anything if I write it down or email them, etc. I basically avoid commenting on my feelings - I don't know why - it just feels as though I shouldn't be feeling certain ways sometimes, and that it's embarrassing or a nuisance.

    Basically, what I am getting at is, do you think I am just 'shy', or do you think that there could be a more psychological explanation for my rubbishly-awkward socialness? And does anyone else out there feel the same as me?
    You sound 100% like me. Not exaggerating, I've just started uni this year aswell and thought I would naturally change but apparently not. I also sometimes don't mind being alone. Not really got anything to help, but just wanted to let you know there's other people like you

    I'm male btw
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    (Original post by big-boss-91)
    its just shyness, it will get better as you hang around with your group of friends, go out with them one night have a few to drink, have a good time. then you'll have something to talk about for the next day
    Thanks for your reply and advice, though, that's kind of the problem - it's not just that I don't know people that well...it's the fact that I can't even bring myself to go out and socialise - I really dread socialising with virtually everyone. People keep encouraging me to go out and just try to make more friends etc, but I just can't bring myself to do it...
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks for your reply and advice, though, that's kind of the problem - it's not just that I don't know people that well...it's the fact that I can't even bring myself to go out and socialise - I really dread socialising with virtually everyone. People keep encouraging me to go out and just try to make more friends etc, but I just can't bring myself to do it...
    trust me when i say this, Be BRAVE, take a risk, go out there and have a amazing time, make new friends.

    Believe me, i used to be very much like you, i was extremely lonely, quite, scared if people thought i was boring. on the first day of the 2nd year sixth form, i simply sat down with my art class at break and socialised with them, my confidence grew. University was daunting but i simply ignored my fear, pushed it to one side.

    Just be brave!! you won't regret it

    PM me if you want to talk
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    People, let's not be using words like Avoidant Personality Disorder or Social anxiety disorder. I don't want the OP popping pills
    This is just shyness. You have to train yourself to be more social and outgoing. A good tip is to maintain good eye contact (not stalkerish mind you) and smile, making sure your smile fades slowly and gracefully. Basic things like these make conversations much easier. Keep in mind that people are not as interesting or valuable as they appear to be, and your ego and confidence can only grow as a result!
    • #4
    #4

    I can definitely sympathise. I was similar when I first came to university. I was very shy and made no friends in my first year. Doing much better now though.

    I'd say straight of the bat that shyness is a problem by definition; if you aren't socially confident then you want be able to get the things you presumably want to get from interacting with people (a pay rise, a boyfriend or girlfriend etc.) That's not the same as introversion; there are definitely people (like me) who by and large prefer their own company and don't fell threatened or awkward in social situations. Perhaps you mean by 'shyness' what I would call 'introversion'?

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    But now I'm at uni and it seems no better. A 'shy' friend of mine has become so unbelievably confident since coming to uni - she goes out most nights and is now so much more animated. I, however, stay in my room every night and haven't really made any friends.
    I'm a strong believer in "like attracts like", and I think psychology supports the truth of that proposition. So if you want to overcome your shyness then I suggest that you mix with outgoing people (like your formerly shy friend). You'll definitely feel awkward doing it in the short-term, but the more you do it the more you'll become like them (that is, confident). It's definitely worth it in the long term.

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I know shy people usually say that they find it hard to speak to 'strangers', but become more confident once they get to know people more. I don't really find this, though. I feel more confident talking to a complete stranger than I do speaking to people I've known for a while (though in such situations these 'strangers' eg; in a volunteering report, or friends of parents etc, say that I do seem 'very shy', despite me feeling that I am behaving much more confidently than usual).
    Infact this is not match my experience of shy people at all. The relevant difference between strangers and acquaintances is that people get to know you. The vast majority of interactions we have with strangers are momentary, so they don't form any substantial impressions of us, and quickly forget us. Acquaintances, of course, do form such impressions. I think that your increased shyness around friends and not strangers is that you feel out of control. You don't feel that you can control whether or not they form a good or bad impression, and that's scary - we don't want to be disliked. You don't have to worry about that abscence of control with strangers.

    I can definitely think of personal experiences in my own life that support this. I am, for example, quite able of giving speeches to large audiences because I've practised public speaking, and know how to make a good impression. But I can't chat up attractive women because I don't feel like I know how to impress them. Thus I get all nervous and mess things up.

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    When I am around pretty much everyone, I feel incredibly awkward and I can never think of anything at all to say, and am constantly thinking how boring I must seem.
    Hint: people are nowhere near as interested in you as they are in themselves. If you want to keep a conversation going ask them something about themselves. After they answer, ask them follow-up questions. This works because, people being self-centred, they end up just going on and on about themselves. So they'll find the conversation interesting, and feel like they're having a good conversation. Further hint: boys are interested in 'stuff'; girls are into 'feelings'. So when talking to boys ask them questions about sport, technology, fitness etc. Talk to girls about people and relationships.

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I say I feel lonely, and everyone says 'so go out and meet people and make friends', though I consciously avoid going out to social situations. Even though I'm lonely and I don't like it, I'd still rather be in my room by myself than going out with people I 'half-know'. And - this feels terrible - there's a few people I'd call my friends, though I still feel to awkward around them to even walk back from a class with them - I'd much rather walk by myself than have to try to be interesting or make conversation....I'm worried I'll never 'meet anyone', as I've never had a boyfriend and haven't made any 'proper' friends (meaning those I am myself with) since primary school.
    I know you don't want to interact with people because it makes you feel all awkward and exposed. But hon I'm afraid if you want to get through this you must go out and interact with people. You'll hate it in the short term but given time you'll gain confidence and make lots of friends.

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    In a similar respect, I cannot open up to anyone when speaking directly to them. I can only ever say how I am feeling about anything if I write it down or email them, etc. I basically avoid commenting on my feelings - I don't know why - it just feels as though I shouldn't be feeling certain ways sometimes, and that it's embarrassing or a nuisance.
    You don't like exposing your emotions to people because you're not in control of how they'll respond. I think that you're so scared they'll judge you negatively that you can't bring yourself to do it in person. So you do it by proxy (through letters, email etc.) because then you're not directly interacting with a person but with a thing. Things don't judge you after all; you get to feel anonymous.

    Consider for example trolls. Lots of people go on the internet and post comments just to antagonise people. But how many of them do you think would have the confidence to say insulting things to people face-to-face? I reckon very few - because in person you wouldn't have the shield of anonymity.

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Basically, what I am getting at is, do you think I am just 'shy', or do you think that there could be a more psychological explanation for my rubbishly-awkward socialness? And does anyone else out there feel the same as me?
    I've felt the same as you but don't any more. And I think that I know how you can get through it.

    In conclusion: I think you're a classic introvert. In social situations you don't feel in control and because of this you dislike and avoid them. This is because of a fear in you that people will judge you badly. This will cause you difficulties in life and I think that it is, therefore a bad thing.

    To get through it you are just going to have the courage to go out and mix with people. You won't like it initially but given time you should adapt and get used to it. Especially, build up a friendship with your formerly shy friend because you can go out with her on a regular basis and because, if you tell her how you're felling, she will be there to help and support you.

    Ooh. One last thing. Don't get drunk while you're out. It will help you feel less self-conscious but aside from the deleterious health effects you don't want to have to rely on a substance when you need confidence. That's an unhealthy relationship to develop.

    All the best,
    Anon
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Glowy Amoeba)
    People, let's not be using words like Avoidant Personality Disorder or Social anxiety disorder. I don't want the OP popping pills
    This is just shyness. You have to train yourself to be more social and outgoing. A good tip is to maintain good eye contact (not stalkerish mind you) and smile, making sure your smile fades slowly and gracefully. Basic things like these make conversations much easier. Keep in mind that people are not as interesting or valuable as they appear to be, and your ego and confidence can only grow as a result!
    I agree 100% with the above. I used to be really very shy and barely socialised like you, but when I started university I made myself do lots of things I didn't really want to do. Like going out clubbing for the first time which was scary considering everyone else I was had apparently been going out to clubs for years. You have to take yourself out of your comfort zone, I know what it is like when its far easier to be alone than socialise but you have to make yourself do it and keep doing it.

    One thing that helped me was committing myself when asked to go out and saying yes to almost all offers of socialising even if I didn't want to. This created peer pressure on me that forced me to go out or otherwise I'd be letting people down, I found this a very powerful method. Alcohol (in moderation!) can have a long-term benefit too as it helps removes your inhibitions, and once you've broken the initial social barrier you'll find it easier when sober.

    You're not the only one but it is absolutely possible to get over it.
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: December 15, 2010
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.