Shy My Whole Life.... Is It Truly Possible to Change?


I've been shy ever since i was born.  I chose to play alone as a child and rarely (if ever) asked for attention from others.  I am introverted and extremely self-conscious.  I have put on different personas throughout my whole life, from obnoxiously talkative to class clown to insecure fool to a complete mute, in order to make friends.  I constantly doubt myself and my social anxiety inhibits me from thinking of something to say and even when I think of something to say, I rarely speak up because I'm too afraid of the reaction of others.  I haven't had a close friend in many years and only had many school "friends" who I NEVER hang out with outside of school, so I guess they're more like acquaintances.  I was made fun of regularly most of my life and have always been the odd one out.    I had two close friends as a child and completely lost touch with them during high school, which I'm finishing this year.  My only true long-lasting friends...

The worst part is concerning girls.  I'm above average looking so girls come on to me and I either have too low self-esteem and become too stunned they'd even be interested in me.  I freeze in those situations (one of the most popular girls at my school asked me to prom a couple months ago and I froze :(  ).  Or I misinterpret their advances as being simply friendly.  I am always intimidated by other people's confidence and their attractiveness, especially when it comes to girls.    I'm 19 and never had a girlfriend! :(

I hate myself and I feel lonely almost all the time.  I have contimplated suicide more than a few times.  The only thing that allowed me to persevere during those hard times sadly was drugs.  It made me even more suicidal (depressed) in the end and I made the best decision of my life: to seek therapy. 

I happen to be athletic though it has not helped me gain any friends, despite joining numerous teams.  I am extremely quiet around others, even when I'm the best player on the team.  My self-consciousness prevented me from playing at too high of a level because I would get extreme nervousness with the pressure and audience.  It has handicapped me my whole life and I guess I'm just tired of being me....

It seems so hopeless a lot of time to even try to change myself and become a more sociable person with friends.  I want to no longer despise myself and have people look through me as though I'm not there because they have no respect for me.  I hate myself and I hate feeling depressed and lonely all the time.  

lol a family friend even asked my mom how someone like me (athletic, good looking, smart) could be so painfully shy...  It just makes me feel so inferior and inadequate.

That's my story :)

justforester justforester
9 Responses Jun 8, 2009

Please don't give up!
I've been through SO many of the same things you've mentioned in your story..
I've also been shy and quiet my whole life, and am very introverted and reserved. I struggled making friends especially when I went to middle school and high school and even changed personalities often as well to fit in. I'd try to be clever, I'd try to be loud, I'd try to be a flirt, and all it got me were fake friends who'd eventually leave me, and doing so I lost a lot of who I was. I was constantly bullied, and taken advantage of.
I'm also attractive so I got a lot of unwanted attention that I didn't know what to do with.
(by the way, I just want to tell you that when it comes to relationships, they're really not all they're cracked up to be. I had several boyfriends throughout high school, (and partly because I felt I HAD to have a boyfriend) and I just felt more insecure and self-conscious than normal. Plus you have to deal with the fighting and drama, and they can honestly just be a waste of time. So you're not missing out.)
But, I just want to encourage you not to give up, because first, you're not alone in this struggle. So many other people have dealt with social anxiety, and there are resources to help us, and I've seen several people improve and literally seem like different people because of them. One of the best resources is reading self-help books, particularly about overcoming shyness and social anxiety and advice about how to make the friends you want. I'm reading a couple now and they've really been helping me. Another thing is therapy, so I'm glad you turned to that. Also, just try your best to reconnect with or even just briefly catch up with some of your old closest friends, it'll make you feel a little better. I really don't have great advice, but I just wanted to comment on this post to tell you not to give up and to keep trying and to remember that you are NOT alone in this. If you'd like to talk further, feel free to message me. I wish you the best of luck.

I am in a bad knot here over **** like this and, I can tell you I'm gonna start making things better for myself.

You should do the same, don't listen to media stereotypes just enjoy what you enjoy my man. And I'm sure if you broaden your mind, you'll realize that it's not all that bad or it's not what it's made out to be

Oh my god this is so dead on. Im 19 now and feel this way.

oh my god if i could meet a guy like you..... someone goodlooking and sounds almost as awkward as i am, dude if you ever feel listening, well more reading about someone who is reaallyyy shy and feels like she has one of the most depressing lives ever because of it, I am sooo here for you

Hi :) I've been shy all my life and I HATE it!!! I worry about everything and it doesn't help that i am a disorganised person. When I have managed to make friends in the past they always get bored of me and go off with someone else. Nearly everyone that meets me says I'm shy and need to speak more and it makes me so SAD when they say that. I wish i was less shy but I find it so hard to change.

don't be discouraged @berry11111 you're definitely not alone in this. I've personally gone through the same thing and I know people going through the same thing. I know how much it hurts but there's always hope and probably so many more people than you realize struggling with the same thing. So, don't feel like you're alone or misunderstood. I'm struggling with the same things at the moment, so I don't have the best advice. But just don't give up hope. Things will be ok :)

I'm lot farther along in life than you, married, grown children, and I still regret my high school experience--shy, self-conscious, awkward around girls. In my junior year I started dating my now wife. She is outgoing and more assertive than I -- we're almost mirror opposites.<br />
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And I have always been jealous of her superior social skills. She had a few boyfriends before me and periodically (like now) I can't shake this feeling that I have to make up for what I perceive I missed even though I know it would be devistating to her and our long relationship.<br />
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It seems to get worse as I get older--the regrets.

I feel like I've missed the whole "high school experience" kind of thing. The parties, the dating, having a girlfriend, going to random bars with fake IDs and having friends to hang out with regularly. It just seems like everyone else has experienced this, except me. It gets me down to go to university without really having any social life throughout high school. No intimate experience and failing to develop a long-term friendship with anyone. <BR><BR>I hate my own company. I'm tired of it. It makes me extremely depressed to be alone for long periods of time and instigates my suicidal thoughts. Too many times I've thought of overdosing on codeine and alcohol and ending the misery.<BR><BR>As for feeling sorry for them, I reserve that feeling for myself. They may lack a special talent, but in the end, they fit in with everyone and have close friends who they hang out with often. They are sociable, a talent that I wish so dearly I had, so it's hard for me to look down on them at all.<BR><BR>I try not to think about what others think of me and I've made some progress as I'm not "extremely" self-conscious anymore as I was most of my life. I've become somewhat self-conscious, depending on the situation, and i don't get AS upset anymore if someone doesn't like me or ignores me. I still find it really difficult to open up in groups, almost impossible. It's like it's physically impossible for me to speak my mind to a crowded room (unless I'm doing a class presentation). My mind blanks, I shake and I get SO NERVOUS. It sucks.<BR><BR>I find I fit in a whole lot more as people are maturing which is good. The constant insults that immature high school people would throw at each other and especially, socially awkward individuals, like me, would tear my confidence apart and I could never think of something to spit back at them. Basically, high school was a lonely mess for me. Not to mention, Junior high wasen't easy either, as I suffered anorexia for about a year. Yeah, I know - one of the few males to develop the mental disorder. <BR><BR>Thanks for replying. :) All of your optimism gives me hope.

Same as man

I'm not exactly sure what to tell you. I know what it is like to be shy, to not quite fit in, to be depressed and seek solace in drugs (although I liked to stay close to, if not always within, the realm of legality). I found three instances in your story in which you complimented yourself. Even if it is just fact, it is good that you can see those things. <br />
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Unlike you I was an outgoing child, but became quiet when I realized that people laughed at some of the things I said. I don't know if it is possible to change. I'm much less shy now than I once was, but I have driven away a lot of my closer friends because apparently my more talkative personality is gets tiresome after a while. That is actually more painful than being shy. <br />
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Remember that things can change drastically after high school. I had a couple close friends in high school, but I know many people who didn't find any friends they trusted until after high school. If you are only just now at the end of high school then you have time to learn to be more outgoing or to find people who like you for the shy person you are. <br />
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My psychology teacher says that people who are more ignored than hated tend to have a harder time. People who are actively disliked usually become close friends with other people who are disliked, but people who are ignored tend to have a harder time making friends. The ignored category is usually the one I am in and it sounds like you are too (Hated people generally don't get asked to prom by popular girls). I think she is right. People who are liked easily make friends and people who are disliked can use the experience of being disliked to form a bond. Who wants to be close friends with someone who is quiet and ignored? I have found some people. Some are also quiet and ignored and I'm not really sure how I became friends with the others. It can be very hard though.<br />
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It is good you went to therapy. I have benefitted a lot from short term therapy, but unfortunately I move around too much for long term therapy, which is what I really need. I guess I'll have time for that when I get older and decide to settle down. Anyway, I'm getting a little off topic. You can always send me a message if you are overly lonely. I can't promise I will respond since I will be away from ep for most of the summer, but I'll be back in august. I just hope you continue to heal and have some better luck with people after high school. Don't give up, just because you don't make close friends in most settings doesn't mean you can't or won't make close friends in the future. Good luck!

You shouldn't feel ashamed or inadequate, you can't compare looks to personality, nor assume due to looks, the personality will match it, that's just wrong. <br />
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i can relate so much and i can tell you that the best thing you can do is dont' worry about what other people think/feel, do what's comfortable and right to you. i've been shy as well when i was young, more of an observer. put me in a group, and i feil like i'm invisible. what i found out what works is when it's one on one and if i mingle. But I hear you it shouldn't make an effort to be social, but ever think it'snot just you, it's also others who don't make the attempt to be friendly. I dread going to places that's group oriented.<br />
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i also went through school knowing a lot of people and being a loner at teh same time, eating by myself was peaceful but felt left out when I see people who are with their own friends and don't offer for me to join.<br />
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I found the internet helps a lot wiht socializing and internet friends can just be good as friends in person. <br />
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i know it's hard to not think of what other people think, but develep a little bit of a tougher shell. and hey if a girl ask you out and you like her, dont' think of what yout hink of yourself. just say yes and have fun. <br />
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you should write what you like about yourself and take a class on assertiveness to boost your self esteem.