Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shy? I Know the Feeling~ By Hogan Stevens

For as long as I can remember, I have always been painfully shy. When I was much younger, if any of my parents’ friends tried to talk to me, I would hide behind my mom or dad’s legs and refuse to speak one word. I’m sure some people were a little confused by this behavior, but I couldn’t help it; I was--and still am--naturally bashful. Now I’m nearly seventeen and I’m coming to realize that I can no longer refuse to talk to people even though I’m so terribly shy. And I guess I’m too big to be hiding behind my parents anymore. Snap.
Around family, or at least my closest family, I can talk and joke without worrying about being self-conscious. But when I’m around a lot of people I don’t know all that well, especially teenagers, I clam up, unable to think of a way to get myself out there.
Do you have the same problem?
If so, you’ll know that, for shy people, school is one of the worst things invented. There are all these people around you talking and laughing with one another like it’s the easiest thing in the world, and then there’s you--the quiet, composed girl that isn’t sure how to go about making friends.
And you know what’s weird? I’ve been told a few times that people take me as being stuck up and intimidating, since I don’t really talk to anyone. It’s funny to me, because I definitely do not think that I am in any way better than anyone. I’m just naturally quiet! So, after hearing this a while back, I decided to make myself more approachable. I’m still working on it but I’m already seeing improvements.
One thing that really makes a difference is a smile. Yes, that might sound a little clichĂ©, but it’s so true. By just smiling at someone, you make them feel more relaxed and welcome with you. It makes it that much easier to ease the tension and help you get out of your shell. I actually started working at this little restaurant a couple of months ago, and I’ve made it a goal of mine to smile at everyone I see come in. And it really pays off. I have lots of customers that seem genuinely happy whenever they see that I’m waiting on them.
You also need to be able to be friendly. I know you may be thinking, “But I’m nice!” and I’m sure you’re right! But as quiet people, we often get mistaken for being unfriendly and uninterested. But there’s an easy solution for that. Just make sure that people can tell you’re interested in what they have to say. If someone says, “Hey! How are you?” while you’re walking from one class to the next, respond with, “I’m great! How are you?”. A smile helps too (Nope, I’m not going to let go of that!). Don’t simply mutter, “Good” and keep on walking. Always make sure to acknowledge the other person so that they feel appreciated.
I’m sure some of this just sounds like common sense, but believe me: This is sometimes hard to do, especially if you’re not used to being social. I know I wasn’t ever the talkative, bubbly girl in school. I mostly kept to myself because I was afraid to talk to anyone.
In middle school, the thought of starting a conversation myself would have made me a mess of nerves. I’ll let you in on a secret, though: It still does. But I choose to not let it bother me, because I know my fear is irrational. I mean, come on, who’s going to judge you if you try to break the ice by saying, “Sure is hot outside today, isn’t it?”. Granted, you had probably better say that when it is hot outside, else I’m sure some people would look at you funny.
You see, I’m actually home schooled now. This is my fourth year, and I absolutely love it. Most people we meet tend to ask how I stay socialized but, really, I have more friends than I did when I went to public school. And that probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve started trying to become a little more outgoing, to show everyone that I actually can talk and that I love to joke around. I’m still working on being talkative, though. This is probably evidenced by the fact that I had someone ask me the other day, “Why don’t you ever talk?”. Yeah. Sort of a shocker for me, because I thought I’d been doing so much better at the conversing thing. I guess it’s a work in progress.
I’m not telling you to try to become someone you’re not, of course. If you’re naturally quiet and reserved like me, then don’t think you have to be some bubbly, loud girl so you can make friends. That’s not the way to go. Just be yourself. I promise, it works! Show others your kindness. Let them see that you have Jesus inside you by being that lovely, interesting girl that He created.
And that’s the thing: He created you just the way you are. Don’t be afraid to show that person to others; you are truly beautiful and you shouldn’t have to worry about what others think of you.
So, for all you shy girls, I wish you good luck! I hope the new year starts out well for you and that you start to discover how to truly become yourself around others. I know I’ll be working on it!

Did you know that Hogan is a master of falling down the stairs? Just asked her bruised loegs!!

Photographers property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photographer taken by Alyssa Dannettel.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post:) I'm a naturally shy person and lately has been a real struggle for me.