The Struggles of Being Shy and Socially Awkward

July 24, 2019
Blog post

I have been shy and socially awkward my entire life. While I’m perfectly okay with this it definitely does cause some daily struggles.

Small talk is actually painful

Please do not ask me about the weather or how I am because it’s a completely dead-end topic of conversation. Very often people have asked ‘how are you?’ which is a normal question to which I reply ‘good thanks.’ Then my mind goes blank and I start to internally panic, I know I should ask how they are too but I forget and overthink and too much time passes for it to be socially acceptable, therefore the conversation has been killed and I feel guilty for not asking them how they are. It’s probably best to avoid any kind of small talk with socially awkward people, just say hello and move on.

You fear having to answer the phone or make a phone call

Before making a phone call I have to write down exactly what I’m going to say, and if the person on the other end of the call deters from my pre-written script then some mumbled nonsense comes out of my mouth instead. If someone calls me I will always let it go to voicemail, listen to the message and again carefully plan what I’m going to say before calling them back. For the sake of all socially awkward people out there please just send us a text or an email. Phone calls are scary!

Parties or social gatherings fill you with dread

While we can get out of most social gatherings there are some that are completely unavoidable. For example, earlier this year I was invited by my fiance’s family to go to a kid’s birthday party. The day started off well as we set up the venue but as the party began and more and more people arrived I found myself sticking to the wall at the edge of the room. I would not budge unless my fiance or someone literally dragged me away! At the end of the day, I felt like crying because I wanted so badly to just talk and get to know more people on his side, but I physically could not move away from the wall.

People often think you’re rude or stuck up

Being quiet does not mean we are rude, stuck up or b*tchy! We just get really, really nervous when it comes to talking to people. Not many people understand this and instead think we just don’t like them/don’t want to talk to them which isn’t the case at all!

Starting or holding a conversation is incredibly difficult

I will never, ever start a conversation with someone. I just can’t do it. Instead, I wait until someone introduces themselves or starts a conversation with me. I realise that sounds pretty self-absorbed, but I’m just not brave enough to approach someone and start talking. In fact, the people I get along with most are the ones who can constantly talk without needing me to contribute much. I can just nod and listen and laugh and occasionally input something which is the ideal situation for any shy person.

People constantly try to get you ‘out of your shell’.

For some reason, people think shyness can be cured! If one more person says to me ‘you just need to come out of your shell’ I’ll really go off. (In reality, I’ll just sit there and nod and smile but will be raging inside.) This phrase is definitely my most hated phrase. I’ve been fired from jobs before because I didn’t ‘come out of my shell’ enough despite being in my happy bubble and producing good work. Why is it that us shy/socially awkward people need to change ourselves to fit in? Why can’t we just be accepted?!

You worry you’ll annoy people if you speak

I know I know, it sounds ridiculous but part of the reason I won’t talk as much is because I don’t want to irritate people. If I’ve spent a lot of time with someone or have spoken quite a bit I’ll think they’ll need a break from me and will pull away. This applies to social media too. You’ll see me liking tons of tweets and Instagram posts but rarely making any comments because I don’t want to annoy them.

Others find your quietness uncomfortable

It takes a special kind of socially awkward person to be so quiet they actually make others uncomfortable. I am this special kind of person. Other people don’t really know what to say to me anymore. One of my biggest pet peeves though is when someone asks ‘why are you so quiet?’ This question is usually met with a blank stare and a shrug. I beg of you, please do not ask a shy or socially awkward person why they’re like that. Just accept them for who they are.

You stop yourself from doing things you want

We are extremely self-conscious of anything we do. If someone so much as glances me while I’m eating I’ll stop. If I’m in the gym and make eye-contact with someone I’ll convince myself that they’re laughing at me because I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m a little on the chubby side. Being shy and awkward stops us from doing many things we want. You won’t see me singing karaoke or dancing in a club or ice skating at Winter Wonderland despite wanting to do these things. It just won’t happen.

People often forget about you

Fun fact, I once got fired from a job because people forgot I was even there. I learned in school that people forgetting you’re there can be both a blessing and a curse. While I had zero friends and no one would talk to me I also overheard so much gossip and drama and secrets. Obviously, I’m not the type of person to use that to my advantage but it was definitely entertaining.

Are you shy or socially awkward? Let me know in the comments some of the things you struggle with most.

I hope you all enjoyed this post and it gave you some insight into a shy person’s life. While you’re here don’t forget to subscribe to my blog. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest too. Thanks for reading!

16 Comments

  • NunziaDreams

    July 24, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    I can relate to a lot of this, Hollie! I’m very shy too. I used to work at this job a couple of years ago and it was one of the worst experiences I’ve had work wise. I didn’t really fit in with the people at work and I’d often times get forgotten 🙁 It hurt my feelings quite a bit and I remember literally walking home in tears. Thankfully I’m learning to live with my shyness and accept myself for who I am. I love talking to people once I get to know them better. It’s just hard for me in the beginning. Personally, I actually find other shy people so endearing. 💗Loved this post! x

    1. Hollie

      July 24, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      That’s awful! I’m sorry that happened to you and hope you’re in a better workplace now. Being shy can definitely be tough but it’s good you’re learning to accept it! I’m exactly the same, it takes me a long time to get to know people, but there are the rare few who I immediately click with, and then I’m just completely my weird self haha. Thanks for reading, glad you liked it! 😊💖

  • マイキー Mykki (@OnTh3Cusp)

    July 24, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    I have social anxiety, but I wouldn’t define myself as shy anymore….but I’m definitely an introvert so a lot of these things overlap quite a bit.

    Honestly, if the everyone on the planet disappeared for a whole hour and I had the place to myself, I feel like I could do and try to many things and not have to worry about uncomfortable interactions or small talk!

    Do you ever feel this way?

    1. Hollie

      July 24, 2019 at 8:50 pm

      There are definitely a lot of similar struggles shy people and introverts face! I would also class myself an introvert and totally agree with you, if everyone on the planet disappeared I would 100% try so many new things I wouldn’t dare try with other people around.

  • Jessica

    July 24, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I relate to everything you said. It’s really annoying that people try to change me. I am 34 now and I am not willing to put up with anything that requires to change my personality anymore. I was bullied a lot when I was younger, not only in school but at jobs, I still do at my current job and I am sure being shy is what is stopping me from being promoted. I don’t understand why society won’t accept people like us.

    1. Hollie

      July 24, 2019 at 8:56 pm

      I’m sorry to hear you’re still getting bullied at your job. I was bullied all throughout school and at my last job too for being too shy, where my boss would constantly tell me people don’t like me because of it, despite having a close group of work friends. What really angers me, especially in the workplace, is that so many people tell you to be yourself, but if your shy that doesn’t apply! But you’re right, you shouldn’t change, as long as you’re happy with yourself and can embrace the shyness that’s all that matters! 😊

  • peculiarbelgian

    July 24, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Man, I just ticked every box on this list. So relatable. I actually stress so much over such small things that I experience a piercing pain in my chest. Turns out it’s from stressing and worrying so much that my muscles contract automatically. It only gets worse on parties or having to make a phone call. I also really don’t like it when people try to get you out of your shell by pushing you to go to parties and such. Don’t try to change us, you know? It won’t work and this is just who we are. Accept it, don’t make us feel bad about it and move on. I can’t tell you how many times I have cried because of it, so I definitely relate to you. We shouldn’t feel bad about it. I really applaud you for writing this post. I know it couldn’t have been easy. xx

    1. Hollie

      July 24, 2019 at 9:06 pm

      Ugh that’s terrible! I usually suffer with heart palpitations when I’m stressed out or worried and most of time I don’t even know what exactly it is that I’m panicking about because it’s just lots of small little things. It’s so annoying because I want to go to parties but when I get there I’m immediately like ‘when can I leave?’ 🙄 After being in so many bad situations with jobs because I didn’t ‘come out of my shell’ Ive just given up trying to be something I’m not. One day I’ll find a job that’ll accept my shyness and that’ll be a comfortable, happy place to work. We definitely shouldn’t be made to feel bad or forced to change, it’s really not a big deal that we‘re quieter and more reserved than others! Thank you and I’m glad you liked it. 😊

  • Chanelle

    July 25, 2019 at 7:34 am

    I can be shy but I don’t necessarily think I’m a bad communicator and don’t know how to speak in social situations. I relate to most of this post especially ‘You worry you’ll annoy people if you speak’ – I often feel like what I have to say isn’t important and sometimes it’s easier not to talk and I find if I do speak up people tend to take what I say with a grain of salt like they don’t believe me or I’m making things up. I think I’m just an overthinking worrier to be honest. I hate talking on the phone too unless it’s a call I’ve planned to make/a call I’m expecting.

    1. Hollie

      July 26, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      Ah I’m definitely a bad communicator haha. That’s exactly how I feel too, that what I say isn’t important and no one is going to care which usually isn’t the case at all. Although I’ve been told I can come across as quite blunt. It really is easier to just not talk sometimes. Phone calls are scary! It’s so much harder to talk over the phone when you can’t read someone’s facial expression. Thanks for reading!

      1. Chanelle

        July 26, 2019 at 9:23 pm

        I think I can come across as blunt occasionally but there’s no point sugarcoating something, you need to be assertive sometimes!

  • ellieslondon

    July 27, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I can relate to so many of these for sure – I used to be the same regarding the phone (I still don’t like it) but last year I took a job answering the phones taking complaints which actually really helped me with my phone anxiety (after about 4 months of trying) As for all of the other points they are so accurate. Especially in uni, I often felt like people forgot about me because I was so quiet. It is the worst when people constantly want you to come out of your shell! x

    1. Hollie

      July 28, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      Oh wow way to throw yourself in the deep end there! Haha. Work definitely helps answering the phone cause you just don’t get a choice sometimes but I still struggle making phone calls or answering any calls that come through on my mobile. Ugh I just hate that phrase so much, I like my shell!

      1. ellieslondon

        July 30, 2019 at 12:40 pm

        Yeah, I felt like it was really holding me back. I spent like the first three months of my job really anxious about the phone ringing. I’m still a bit like that at the start of each day but then I get into the swing of things and shake it off a bit! I still screen calls on my mobile at all times haha! x

  • Courtney

    August 7, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    So I know I’m behind on reading, but I can 100% relate to all of this!! I’m introverted and shy and it really can make daily living a struggle. I know exactly what you mean about how hard it is to talk on the phone! I hate having to make phone calls, and I also always let it go to voicemail first. I also write down notes on what I want to say before I make a call, lol.
    But really, I can relate to all of these!! It’s so freaking annoying when people act like you need to change because you’re shy/introverted. Like it’s something that needs to be fixed! It’s just ridiculous. My mother-in-law said that when she was growing up, being shy was referred to as “backward,” which is just horrible. Extroverted personalities are not what’s “right,” and introverted people don’t need to change. >.<
    Thanks for sharing, it's so nice to relate on all these things with someone else!!

    1. Hollie

      August 9, 2019 at 10:25 am

      Phone calls are definitely the worst, even if I’m just calling the hairdresser I need to know exactly what I’m going to say haha. I do not understand at all why everyone thinks we’re the ones who need to change! Wow backward?! That is awful. Well I’m glad you and many others can relate to this, we’re not alone haha. Thanks for reading!

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