In my book, The Shyness Guide, I say that if you learn to accept your shyness you become less shy.
It’s true. When you’re no longer concerned about being shy, you no longer suffer anxiety, so it’s easier to talk to people. Simple as that.
But that isn’t all you gain from accepting your shyness. Once the anxiety is gone, you become more confident, and, for some reason, many people are attracted to quiet confident individuals.
For example, because I learned to accept my shyness early in life, or maybe accepted it from the beginning, I’ve attracted certain types of people all my life. It’s hard to say exactly who they were, since they included non-shy people, even extroverts. They definitely weren’t shallow superficial people, and they were never socially ambitious ladder-climbing people, but they did vary a lot.
During my 40 year career in the insurance claims business, as I moved from company to company (I was pretty nomadic), I often encountered people who wanted to know me.
I’m not talking about women who were sexually attracted to me, although women are often attracted to confident men, especially, unfortunately, the boasters and braggers. No, I’m talking about people, men and women, who just wanted to know me – to talk to me, go to lunch with me, work with me on projects, etc.
For me, this wasn’t usually positive, since, even without any shy anxiety, I’ve always preferred doing things on my own. I’ve never had much of an appetite for being ‘known’.
A couple of times – three or four – I did experiment with joining a social group for a year or two. Those were interesting times, and they’re partly the reason that I’m able to provide useful advice to other shy people, but each time they ended the same way. Once I became fully aware of how much selfishness, deceit, manipulation and self-deceit the others were usually mired in, I packed up and moved on.
But it did also result in a few long-lasting friendships. I don’t mean people who I continued to see. I haven’t been able to do that much. I mean people who, if I met them today after many years, I could immediately start talking with as if we were just continuing where we left off. That’s what I mean by a friend. Though I may not see them for years, these people remain a presence in my life.
I have friends who I’ll probably never see again, but they will always be my friends.
Also, one of those experiments introduced me to my wife, the best friend I’ve ever had.
So, do you see what I mean? Accepting your shyness doesn’t just get rid of your anxiety. It can bring you other rewards.