I Am Not Rude, Just Shy...or Am I?

I've heard the phrase "I'm not rude/aloof/stuck-up, I am just shy" used many times.Today I was thinking this over in relation to my own experiences and is it really that we are "just shy" or is it that we come across as aloof because we are in fact being aloof! Do we use the "I am not aloof just shy" as a fall-back or cop-out to gloss over our own insecurities and lack of motivation to learn new social skills.

I am someone who could be called shy. I am the one who waits for someone to start talking to me rather than starting up a conversation myself; someone who would be shouted at jokingly across the table/room "Hey stop talking so loud!" I find small talk difficult and am quite content to sit quietly on the side of any social discussion putting in a few words or gestures here and there that I think the bare minimum necessary to appear that I'm still a participant.

Does our contempt for social norms and our preoccupation with the way we come across to others blind us from having the empathy for those others who in reality may be feeling just as anxious to meet us as we are meeting them? The definition of egotism is an exaggerated preoccupation with yourself. If you are constantly preoccupied with the way you are looking, sounding or what your body language is saying then is shyness just a form of egotism?

If I am brutally honest with myself I would say that this has been true for me at times. I think that there is an element of 'natural' shyness that exists but also an element of egotistic 'shyness' where one harbors a feeling of superiority over others. Getting over the natural shyness happens as you leave childhood behind and/or you learn how to better interact with others. The egotistic 'shyness' element I think is what persists into adulthood and which takes a lot more work to get over as it is a real personality adjustment.
ChickenMan ChickenMan
31-35, M
2 Responses Jan 16, 2013

ya shy people are misunderstood as rude...even i find small talk difficult. can't personally walk up to people and start a conversation.

Good point well made. As a shy person I have often encountered situations where I was mistaken for being "stuck up", "rude", etc... and was always puzzled why people automatically jumped to that conclusion.
But having said that, with every year that goes by I realise more and more clearly that I really do not like the majority of people I come across, so perhaps shyness actually is linked with an ingraned contempt for others(?)