Shyness, social-interaction-sabotaging awkwardness, is commonly chalked up to a variety of causes. Genetics, personality, upbringing, a simple lack of confidence. But its real root is typically overlooked.
The shy are self-centered.
Now, that may seem harsh, but, itâ€™s literally true.
When youâ€™re suffering from shyness, youâ€™re focused on yourself, on how youâ€™re feeling. All youâ€™re thinking about is: How am I doing? Did I say the wrong thing? Do they like me?
What youâ€™re not thinking about, at all, is the other person. What youâ€™re not thinking is: Are they having fun? Is he feeling good? Is she comfortable?
To be self-conscious, is to only be conscious . . . of the self.
More extroverted, socially-assured types are beset with a different, yet similarly sourced, problem.
They donâ€™t feel anxious when interacting with others, but arenâ€™t always successful in building relationships with them either, in part because they donâ€™t remember things â€” stories, preferences, birthdays â€” even after being told multiple times.
â€œSorry,â€ youâ€™ll say, â€œI have a bad memory.â€
But you donâ€™t have a bad memory. Youâ€™re self-absorbed.
Again, seemingly harsh, yet literally true. You donâ€™t hear what the other person is saying, because youâ€™re not truly listening to them. Youâ€™re thinking about what you want to say whenever theyâ€™re done speaking. Youâ€™re thinking about whatever is going on in your life. If what the other person shares doesn’t seem to directly relate to that, you donâ€™t put in the effort to file it away.
Whether weâ€™re being shy-and-self-centered or socially-assured-and-self-absorbed (and most of us can be both, depending on the circumstances) the solution to these issues and all issues of human interaction is the same.
Connecting with another requires temporarily directing a bit of the spotlight we like to exclusively shine inwards, onto another. And giving that attention to someone else, requires getting over your self.