March 9, 2011

Shyness: Social Expectations

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 11:47 am


Markus Lackey

Being popular is a goal for many high school students in America. Their goal is to be well liked, having high social status and be socially accepted by a large amount of people. Often times these individuals possess high levels of confidence and can make friends easily without feeling humiliated once they do something wrong, their peers very well respect them. Many times, they are loud to gain attention and often times follow careers in management or politics. They have the ability to introduce themselves and start a conversation with ease. For them being outgoing is natural, fun, sometimes energetic that does not take much effort. What if you are one of these Americans that is not popular? What if your peers feel that you are socially awkward? Do their peers feel envious towards them because they are too smart, or are their shyness mistaken for being unapproachable and unfriendly?

The social expectation for people is too much for a shy individual, and is often times expected to do more than he/she can overcome. Those who lack the confidence may be unable to succeed all the social expectation that has been put in front them and often times can aggravate their self-esteem. The risk and the fear of feeling humiliation by their peers make it difficult to achieve in the social world. The risk and the fear of feeling humiliation by their peers makes it difficult for them to achieve in the social world;  it also make it difficult in dating situation and other social environment, parties, where you have to interact with their personality. A self-destructive behavior leads to avoidance of social encounters; and become unable to function with today’s social norms.

They do demonstrate strength when they are limited to a small circle of friends, a place where faces and attitudes does not change; they feel a familiarity with these people. They know that their small group of friends will not insult them, or harm them in any way. With their friends, they are not force to be in uncomfortable situations, and find it comfortable to talk.

The majority of people only view the negative of being shy such as:


  • ·         Not being confident and assertive
  • ·         Can be seen as being weak and easy
  • ·         Difficulty to ask questions and for help
  • ·         Difficulty to make friends
  • ·         People take you for granted
  • ·         Insecure
  • ·         Being ignored


However, many people do not see the positive in being:


  • ·         Listen to friends more closely
  • ·         Sensitive to those around you
  • ·         Easier to get along with others
  • ·         Avoid fights
  • ·         Use as a survival mechanism


These are just a few examples of the negatives and positives.

                Some social expectation is surviving and working up in your career. In order to receive promotions you must demonstrate the kind of confidence to be noticed and leave a positive impression. But with their shyness often times they come off as untrustworthy or suspicious. How do you combat shyness in your first impression and beyond how do you come off as personal how do you get your point across? How do you show your authorities when your shyness is the first level of personality that people see? For outgoing people speaking up and voicing their opinion may be easy while for others it could be painful.


  1. I was incredibly shy in middle school. I refused to speak to most people outside of my peer group. My class from sixth through eight grade consisted of the same 34 kids who I had known since first grade. I experienced almost all of the negative effects: I was easy to make fun of, largely ignored by my peers, and had very few friends. However, around my friends and in other situations in which I was comfortable I was assertive, usually avoided fighting, and a good listener.
    I was fortunate to have the privilege of choosing my own high school and I chose an all-girls, Catholic, college prep school. My teachers and peers were more open and encouraging than those I had in middle school. The teachers gave participation grades and set aside days in class for discussion which forced me to speak in class. As I spoke out more in class and was given positive feedback, my confidence grew. Now, I am comfortable speaking in public and love meeting new people. I still retain some personality traits of the shy person I was in middle school. I am a better listener and still avoid confrontation.
    I think the best way to overcome shyness is to have support and encouragement from a group of people to speak out more in comfortable settings and gradually be encouraged to do so in increasingly unfamiliar situations. There worst thing to do is too much at once because it will only increase the fears shy people experience. Another way is to take a public speaking class. The class may create the safe environment needed for a shy person to learn to speak in front of others and learn skills that will help them speak to others.

    Comment by Elizabeth Freyman — March 9, 2011 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  2. I believe that shyness is a strength. Even though they seem awkward in big groups, most of the time the shyness will go away after high school because high school is a death trap. There is no escaping, so sometimes the best defense is to blend into the wall so that nobody can attack you. I was one of those shy kids in high school and it worked out just fine for me. I think that the shy ones make the best friends because they are the ones who are true and loyal and can usual relate to you on just about every level. To me, it’s a strength to be able to keep things inside because this way you can prove through your actions what kind of a person you really are rather than having to talk yourself up all the time. Their confidence comes in their actions rather than their words and I think that’s more beneficial for the future than just being able to speak out. Although first impressions may be hard for those who are shy, if people are going to make a judgement about you after a first encounter then those people aren’t worth knowing. (Don’t mean to sound like a mom but it’s true!)

    —–Malynda Messer

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  3. I have not considered the benefits and consequences of personality traits. Personally, I think I have shy tendencies, but overall I am moderately outgoing. I agree with the some of the benefits of a shy personality. People with shy tendencies are very great listeners and are able to maintain strong relationships with the peers they know, whereas my outgoing, life of the party friends tend to be more of acquaintances.

    I do believe the people who are viewed as shy when they are younger will grow into a more confident state. As I grow older I am more willing to voice my opinions, and want to be a part of social events. A previous post also agreed that personalities change with age. The children who are shy and socially awkward can grow out of it in adolescents or as a young adult.
    -Jennifer Burwell

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  4. I have always been a shy person especially grade school and high school (probably in part due to be an only child). I feel like shyness is a personal trait that has its advantages and disadvantages. I agree that shy people are often better listeners and form strong bonds with their close friends. I feel that by being shy and taking your time to express something can result in a more well thought out idea. I have also heard from someone (who I would not want to mess with in terms of fighting) that you never want to mess with the shy quiet kid because they will f**k you up. While the jock kid may boast how much he can lift in the weight room when he tries picking on the shy kid, he has no idea the shy kid has taken 12 years of Karate and has a black belt. Sometimes keeping things to yourself can have its advantages along with being respectful. I feel that the negative aspects have to be overcome if you want to succeed in certain aspects life such as business. I currently feel that I’d rather be called calm and reserved rather than shy. I like to keep my ideas to myself unless if they are requested or needed, and when I have to be I can be very confident and outgoing. I feel your article brings up a good point that there are definitely advantages to being more shy or maybe more quiet and reserved, and that there are also disadvantages to being shy. Just as with everything else, it is nice to have a balance.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

  5. I am shy but not all of those traits explain me. I have tons of friends, i am confident, and people dont take me for granted. I think a big thing with shy people that a lot of people dont understand is they are not shy because they are socially awkward. They are shy because it takes longer for them to open up to people and want to talk to them. I know when i first meet someone i dont say much. But the more and more that i see someone and become more comfortable around them i open up and talk a lot. This can be good and bad because some people might write you off as a potential friend because you did not say anything to them the first time you meet them. But this is also good because that way you really get a feel for someone and can tell whether they are going to be a good friend or not. Also now that i am in college i now see that being popular in high school is over rated and means nothing once you get into college. No one knows who you were in high school or really cares what you did in high school once you reach college. College is a new beginning for everyone and you need to keep an open mind and even the shyest of kids can succeed.

    -Adam Armstrong

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 10, 2011 @ 11:19 pm | Reply

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