I was thinking about an idea from my previous post, that we tend to postpone tasks and leave them until tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and so on. But there are some certain tasks that you will never do, and you’ve already missed the chance. Why? Because, sadly, you’re too shy…

Most certainly there has been at least one situation in your life when you couldn’t say anything, because you felt too shy (and if you can’t remember any situation, you’re either too confident, or have a short memory). Being shy is not exactly a problem, but most certainly not being shy has more advantages. Think about the process of making new friends, for instance. Shy people will obviously tend not to socialise that much, they won’t probably start any conversation, ‘cuz they are too shy to introduce themselves to people. And the others will perhaps just ignore them, until someone will realise they need a chance as well. Shy people are better listeners, and they can have really good opinions, if someone asks them. But what if they don’t ask? Then it’s the shy person who should take a deep breath and start talking.

Actually this leads me to another situation: getting a job. The employer searches, indeed, for someone who is smart and capable to do the job, but they may as well want to find someone who is keen to share their ideas, who can speak to their mind and perhaps come with a better solution than the one proposed by the employer. They want someone who is not afraid of saying what they think, in case it’s something wrong. ‘Cuz as least they’ve tried. And that’s the thing with being shy: you lose so many opportunities.

Whether it’s just about getting to know those people who may become your closest friends, if you actually go and talk to them now, or something more challenging – like having the courage to let that special person know your feelings -, shyness can be overcome. You just have to believe in yourself. ‘Cuz what’s the worse that could happen? They may laugh at your new idea, they may ignore you when you try to speak to them, they may not like you, and that person may reject you. But at least you’ve tried. At least you now know what’s the situation, and now you can get over it, or approach it differently. Indeed things may change just because you had the courage to speak your mind – for instance, your friendship may never be the same now that you finally said what you felt, and it didn’t work. But hey, rather than having regrets in the future and thinking ‘What if…?‘, shouldn’t you take the chance you have now?

I don’t consider myself a shy person. If I had been shy, or some other specific persons had, then I wouldn’t have been through everything that made me realise I have to write this blog. I admit, however, that I had moments when I felt shy, and I’m pretty sure there’ll be others as well. I felt shy when I hesitated to say the answer in class, not being confident that it was indeed the right answer; I felt shy when I had to talk to someone I liked; I felt shy even in front of my screen, with a specific chat conversation that waited for my response. Actually it’s interesting to see how different we speak when we chat online rather than taking in person. Interesting, but quite common – at least I suppose I’m not the only one who finds some things easier to say when typing. And it shouldn’t be like that.

I’ve never heard about netiquette until someone told me to be aware of these Internet rules, or etiquette. Basically it looks like you shouldn’t say anything online that you wouldn’t be able to say face to face. And it makes sense, but I suppose you could at least have a starting point online. I still remember how I used to write long messages in Notepad++, read them 10 times and change them twice, before pasting them in the right chat window. And then forcing myself to press Send. And then waiting impatiently while the other was typing, and thinking about what I was going to say (write) next. I wasn’t that shy; though I was unaware that once spoken (sent), words cannot be forgotten, just forgiven. (a nice quote which isn’t mine)

So it’s easy not to be shy online, but you know what’s the hardest thing to do, that we’re not always aware of? It’s hard not to change your personality while chatting online. It’s hard to stay the same person that you actually are in real life, it’s hard to make sure that you respect the netiquette for each and every line you say. It’s not impossible, though. I’d say that chatting can indeed be a starting point, but once you’ve overcome your shyness online, you really have to struggle and talk to that person face to face, in the same way you did online. The only thing is to try and be confident. And certainly not only online, or else you’re going to become dependent on this other ‘you‘, the online one, and the more time you spend chatting, the less probable it is that you will indeed try and be like that in real life.

So, if you can’t speak those words, think twice before typing them. Make sure you’re not going to make a huge mistake, that cannot be forgotten even if you delete the whole conversation. Make sure you’re still yourself, and that you take a chance when you have it, preferably when you’re speaking face to face, not online. Once upon a time, I was unable to say something to a guy until our paths in life split, and then, aware of the fact that it was too late, I still managed to get over my shyness and tell him (online, sadly). Lesson learned: never wait until the last moment, it may be too late and you may regret your shyness for a long, long period of time 🙂 Better late than never, but now may be the best.