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29, Shy and Watching My Life Go By

Well while searching the net for sites to overcome shyness I found a comment left by another with a similar problem.  So here I am, feeling a little silly about sharing my garbage with complete strangers though I am at a loss as to what to do.

As the title says, I'm 29 and watching my life go by.  That's exactly how I would describe my life.  The places, events, concerts and so forth I've avoided going to - no matter how much I've wanted to - have slipped by all because I'm terribly shy.  I've missed out on so much, so so much and it really gets me down at times.

I'm so eccentric online, naturally because I'm hidden behind a screen and when people meet me (who I've met online) they are surprised at how shy I am.  Most people unfortunately don't come up to me thinking I'm arrogant or stuck up - all due to the fact that I am quiet, avoid accepting offers to dance or to go out and have dinner etc, I'm not big on smiling and try to keep an even look on my face so I appear to not look frantic- my attempt at looking comfortable (which is obviously having a bad affect since people say I'm a snob?!?).  I have this tough exterior that I put up, covering my nervousness with sarcasm and tomboyness (and at times I get ladylike) when the simple fact is I'm petrified on the inside that it's my only defence and one I've lived so long with it's completely natural, it comes up automatically.  Now and then I hear what people think of me and I'm so appalled, I'm far from anything they say about me.  *shrug*  I've used that defence mechanism since primary school.

I see so many people having fun, hear of their experiences, see their photos.  I wish I could be so carefree.  One of my biggest problems with shyness is dancing.  I've only gotten up a handful of times since I was 18 and none of them went too good.  I can't dance :(  But would so like to!  I don't go out terribly much (goth clubs only) and it's now down to about once a year.  I see people talking animatedly while I sit there (usually alone, trying to look busy texting on my phone as I sit there in a crowd yet on my own), preferring to always sit and chat to someone if I can find enough things to talk about (LOTS of uncomfy silences), and look out on the dancefloor, my feet tapping, so keen to go yet knowing I can't dance.  (yes I've gotten up and tried - always come back feeling stupid and leave) Some people just really know how to and no doubt from years of learning because they aren't so shy.  I wish I could just get up though so scared of making a fool of myself.  If I could just get up I could spend hours on the dance floor, I just love music!  *sigh*  I wish I could just break through this invisible bubble (I guess you could call it) and step out into the world around me that I sit and watch go by.

It has affected me on every level, my self confidence is almost zero and has been for about eight years.  I'm afraid to speak up, afraid to join in and prefer just to stay at home where I don't have to face it.  I want a life so desperately, I'm aching to find the 'one thing' to overcome that will set a domino effect going and all my boundaries will fall yet I doubt such a thing exists.  It has affected my diet - I'm stick thin to the point people worry about me, my personal health routine is zero, even down to just a simple daily beauty routine - gone.  I am letting my shyness ruin my entire life and I would so hate to think anyone else out there is going through the same yet I know others are just like me - some far far worse.

Honestly...I feel like I don't know who I am.  Is it the same for anyone else?  It's as though I've covered up myself for so long that I am lost to the past and don't know where to dig.  It's been so long since I was me and if I found myself I wouldn't know it.  Should I bother looking anymore or do I make a new start?  Yet how to make a new start?  So many questions and life is ticking by.  I wish I knew where to start. 

If I could just get up and dance...it would open up so much for me.  How silly, such a trivial thing to most yet such a mountain for me. (and others)

Well I could go on and on though I doubt anyone wants to hear it.  Feel free to share as much about your shyness problems as you like, and ways you have found to overcome certain things.
lumi lumi 26-30, F 24 Responses Jun 4, 2007

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Add a response... I've had the same problem. I've been shy my whole life. Not sure how it all started but I've always avoided speaking out and it made it hard for me to make friends. So, while everyone else was out having fun, I was home bored, watching tv alone. The few friends I did have I didn't want to be around anymore because I felt they were making fun of me and my life. I guess I'm a bit sensitive sometimes. Even when girls would approach me, I would try to avoid conversation and I think they thought I was aloof or unfriendly. I have self-esteem issues, too. Father used to put me down a lot and say mean things. And now I find myself alone while my old friends are married and have kids and stuff. I wish I could go back and change things but I can't and no I feel it's to late to change my life.

Please reply with authenticity, support, and respect

I heard alot of people use "Second Life" for self esteem issues... if you are not in a relationship it might be productive

hey...even i am a painfully shy person most of the times, i have a few friends with whom am a very talkative person who knows how to talk n smile fully..but when im with others or in college..m a completely nervous wreck,my face just hurts to talk or smile..n i cant just function!..even i feel lyk i dont know who i am as u said!i hate going to college because of this,i just love evry sec dt i spend at home cz only there m comfortable. m in pain dt nobody really knows..cz i don't share my anxieties wid anyone!smtyms i just hate myself!i actually like'shyness'bt guess its nt just shyness but also SA! i hope i can ovrcome dis smday:(

Hey there... same here. I can't believe I just visited this website just read some common TOO SHY feelings here.. I'm 22, so shy that I'm not moving forward in anything. From Vancouver

Oh my gosh! I have most of the same problems!

Gosh, Im only 18 and I feel the exact same way. I'm in my first year of university which is supposed to be the time of my life, I see all my high school friends moving on with their lives and enjoying university life. While I spend most of my day hidden away in my room and have made no friends even though its been months. When people talk to me I simply tend to blush and mumble something incoherent. I thought people understood that I was just shy but recently I have discovered that people think I am rude and a snob which I don't want. I have no idea how to overcome this shyness, not to the point of losing it but just enough to still feel like Im living my life. I want to become a police officer but my shyness will not allow me to get very far, as well as it affecting my health where I am afraid to leave my room so end up snacking on the worst foods possible.

even me too having the same problem.praying god to get rid of shyness...

Shyness is a good quality. <br />
Don't get rid of it!<br />
You're not the problem.<br />
In fact your shyness is a natural , and you should not try to get rid of this feeling as shyness is always good.<br />
<br />
google it!

Shyness is good, i guess many people say its bad, i hate that!
I used to hate being shy but now I love it!
its... my treasure!!!

yea I do value my shyness... but being scared and not taking risks because of other people's standards, overthinking all the time won't get us anywhere.. there's a certain limit of shyness

shyness is not working for you. If you would like to dance and be good at it,<br />
it would be best for you to take dance lessons at a studio...take a friend along<br />
or find a partner there (who may prove to be a friend eventually) Iam much older<br />
than you and have known people who are very shy....if you try hard, this condition<br />
can be overcome...be positive about the things you would like to do . People are<br />
more attracted to others who are confident and will try to do new things. Try singing to keep on the happy side (no matter how it sounds) get started today.<br />
regards, sugar

I can relate to a lot of what you have said. At least I suppose you have made an attempt to dance and gone to dance clubs. On the dancing front why don't you look up dancing classes in your area and join a beginners class and maybe that will build up your confidence. Also maybe just go out next time and dance how ever you want to dance and forget what other people say about you. Maybe use the things you are missing out on as motivation to start trying to get over your shyness. As for me each year seems to compound the problem, and I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I am very depressed although I put on an act that all is well apart from my mum and dad. Also remember what is good about you and try to praise yourself every now and again.

I'm 18 and terrbly **** as well. I've been like this for as long as I remember. I don't want to blame it on my mom but I know she contributed. When I was little my mom used to do everything for me. She would answer my questions at doctors offices or ordering my subs, I would stand there with her at the store and say what I want to her then she'll tell the lady. Why couldn't I have just told her? It wasn't until like grade 9 that she said I had to start doing things on my own and I was terrified. All my friends were comfortable doing things for themselves like going to the store and buying something and something that simple scared the crap out of me. It was horrible. <br />
I've also become a very bitter person in the past few years and I think it has a lot to do with how shy I am. It's like I'm mad at everyone who's capable of having fun and keeping a conversation and meeting new people. I feel like I'm going to end up being that b*tchy highschool teacher everyone hates. I think I already am her and I hate myself because of it, I don't enjoy who I am and I feel like I can't do a thing about it. Like the orginal poster said, " I'm aching to find the 'one thing' to overcome that will set a domino effect " I can't wait for that either. <br />
And for being so shy I'm proud that you actually got up to dance to try it out, even if you felt stupid you still tried. I'm 18 and have never ever danced. I was forced to a dance in grade 7 and I didn't do anything but talk to the only 2 people I was comfortable with and I was also forced to my grade 8 graduation dance by my one friend. Never danced for a second. And I didn't go to my prom because I was too scared my boyfriend (of 2 years!) was going to ask me to dance. I don't think it will ever happen.<br />
I don't have any friends besides my boyfriend and occassionally my friend I've known for many years that's drifting apart because she's the complete opposite of me.<br />
I hope you, everyone that read and will read this will get over being shy. I know I'm one to talk but I try everyday to take my own advice and you all should too. You only live one short life. Don't regret any of it and have as much fun as you can.

hey i was shy at school and thought i had overcome this. Since taking my son to school i find my shyness has come back. I think it may be 'playground moms' or maybe its just all in my head?

Another shy person here. I get shy over everything, talking to co workers, bosses, strangers and yes I do feel it has affected my life.<br />
I am lucky in some way as people always say that I am very likeable and sweet. So I may be shy but at least I have that.<br />
You must try and focus on your good points, it will pull you through the dark thoughts.<br />
Best wishes x

Well i was shy too in fact extremly shy so that i couldent talk to anyone without scratching my head or biting my fingers i was so depresed all the time.First it was becouse i had acne and i was affread eaven to go out of the house but still after the acne was gone i was still shy becouse i had no condifent but all this changed after i propsed to my girerfnld and she sad yes from that moment my confident started to grow and i have a crazy yet a beautiful GF she is full of life she makes me do things i never imagined i would have done, around here im so free so happy i dont care who watches me or what the are saying its becouse they are jelous and they like to rouine someones life but dont give them that plasure dude go out find yourself a good girl and i swear you overcome the shynes . Belive me i want to help you so bad becouse i know i was there where you are right now , good luck dont live with regrat plzz live for yourself ignore the haters dont stay with broken people find some crazy frends who live life like there was no tomorrow it isnt hard to do .

I totally know how you feel. I have been shy my whole life and I just hate it. I'm 18 years old and I moved to the U.S. from Canada so I'm not sure if that may have had something to do with it. I just don't want to feel like I do now. I wish I knew how to make a new start too but its just so hard when you're used to being that way for such a long time. I just want to be able to stop being shy and I hope you find a way too. You deserve to have people see the real you :] If you find a way to end the shyness please let me know lol. I also posted a story about my shyness so please feel free to read it. Goodluck in finding a way out of shyness. I know we can all find a way to be more confident within ourselves :)

Hi, <br />
<br />
I totally know what it is to be shy, I struggled with it for years. I just wanted to let people know that there is a lot of hope. My own shyness has improved dramatically. For me it took going to support groups for social anxiety plus working the 12 Steps of Social Anxiety Anonymous-- http://healsocialanxiety.com/SPAOnlineLibrary.html<br />
<br />
That plus attending the support groups really helped me. I was very nervous but it was OK because everyone there was a shy / socially anxious person too. The groups are free by the way (they are a nonprofit).

hey hon<br />
i'm 46, and i've always been shy.<br />
<br />
it takes me awhile to feel comfortable with people. . . . and once i do i'm not shy at all. so over the years my circle has broadened a bit. but new people, new situations like new tasks (typical tasks at dmv or dept of social security, etc.) still make me want to hide. <br />
<br />
i have been called a snob too : (<br />
<br />
i'm even shy here on ep lol. <br />
<br />
i just wanted you to know you are not alone honey. <br />
i'm here if you want to talk

I was that way all the way through school and i was picked on my life from my brother. Some times i,m not very out going but i am afraid that people will turn me down or say that i,m crazzy. i act that way think that i so people will leave me alone. once in a while people will ask me about my self and then they find out that i,m not as crazzy as they thought. i like to talk to all kinds of people just to find out how they react to me . most the time i hide behind a microphone or the computer and talk to people. i do,nt like to get into situations were i have to do a lot of things for people then they find out that i,m not suppose to do things like that.. I was in school one day and a few of the bigger guys in gym class were picking on me and i sat down on a leg press and one of the guys said he cant lift his own weight and i bet him i could lift the hole stack and i did that then they kind left me alone for a while. When i did that stunt i ended up ripping some muscles in mu back and i was told not to do that again and the muscles never relay healed after that. you need to drop that wall and stick you head out the door some time and let some one get a little close and find that they might care a hole lot more than you think. just what you have wrote on here i think you are very wonderful in side and you are beautiful on the out side all so. I took this step out of my shell and found out that some of the world is just as crazzy as i am and can be very funny at times. you might find it very interesting and you might find a few friends in that crowd. let me know what you think some time in the future. FROM CRAZZYJOHNBLUE1 I HOPE YOU CAN HAVE SOME FUN WITH YOUR FRIENDS HERE .

I am a shy person as well, it has very much ruined my life. Although I am only 19, I see no way out of this bottomless pit. Shyness has defined who I am to others, so much so that I feel lethargic at the thought of even socializing with others. My most current example is one of my friends had tagged me as the quiet one on one of those facebook things.<br />
<br />
Its strange, I have been shy my whole life. I never really took notice until about the 9th grade. New people, new school, unlike my buddies I never dated or went out much. Ironically enough all of my school chums were enthusiastically outgoing to the point where I cannot even keep up on a social level. Its weird how a shy person like me could have so many friends with all the internet research I've done, saying that shy people are loners.<br />
<br />
I am now in college, I am still very much a shy loner type. I get along with my classmates and ****, just not really one of the crowd. I have made many friends, mostly through my roommates. Dating is still a distant dream, I don't talk to girls, **** I don't even talk to my male buddies that much. I've kind of let it take a back seat to my studies, but even then there is no escape.<br />
<br />
I feel I am hopeless, I want to become a police officer, I recently took all the testing and passed everything except the situational part of it (The part where they gauge your social skills in response to a certain situation (****)). I'm not like those hopeless shy guys, well not yet anyways, I do have a few girl friends, but thats all they are...friends. A guy like me never truly has a "group", I see myself as a drifter in the social world, travelling from group to group until everyone eventually pairs off and leaves me to wallow in my own shy misery.

I am a shy person as well, it has very much ruined my life. Although I am only 19, I see no way out of this bottomless pit. Shyness has defined who I am to others, so much so that I feel lethargic at the thought of even socializing with others. My most current example is one of my friends had tagged me as the quiet one on one of those facebook things.<br />
<br />
Its strange, I have been shy my whole life. I never really took notice until about the 9th grade. New people, new school, unlike my buddies I never dated or went out much. Ironically enough all of my school chums were enthusiastically outgoing to the point where I cannot even keep up on a social level. Its weird how a shy person like me could have so many friends with all the internet research I've done, saying that shy people are loners.<br />
<br />
I am now in college, I am still very much a shy loner type. I get along with my classmates and ****, just not really one of the crowd. I have made many friends, mostly through my roommates. Dating is still a distant dream, I don't talk to girls, **** I don't even talk to my male buddies that much. I've kind of let it take a back seat to my studies, but even then there is no escape.<br />
<br />
I feel I am hopeless, I want to become a police officer, I recently took all the testing and passed everything except the situational part of it (The part where they gauge your social skills in response to a certain situation (****)). I'm not like those hopeless shy guys, well not yet anyways, I do have a few girl friends, but thats all they are...friends. A guy like me never truly has a "group", I see myself as a drifter in the social world, travelling from group to group until everyone eventually pairs off and leaves me to wallow in my own shy misery.

Its funny sometimes you read someone else's story and say to yourself..... sh*t. Thats my life too. Thats just the way i feel too... i have been shy all my life and yes i too feel i have missed on " having a good time" in my life due to my shyness. i love music and there are times when i am listening to a great dance number and i play a scene in my head where i see myself dancing to the song... but i have never found courage to dance in public... or be more talkative and outgoing... i remember times in school when the teacher used to ask questions and there were times when i knew the answer but would refrain from answering...i feel my shyness is genetic cause i am like my dad in so many ways... he is shy and quiet too... so i dont know how to break free from shyness... it was nice reading your experience and i feel good about writing about my experience too...

Wow, it's like I wrote it myslef. Im shy too, low self esteem. I can't stand it. Terrifying at times. Still searching for my answers. I do find a hobby helps with the self esteem though. Something that you know your good with and enjoy. It does suck when others misunderstand us. That will never change though. Bottom line is that we all simply trying to survive.

You are not the only person who feels this way. I have been shy all my life and I sometimes get so angry and frustrated with myself, ruminating over all the things I have missed out on I end up hating myself. Which makes things worse because my self esteem suffers and then I feel more self conscious around people. At work people have said awful things about me and sometimes I dont know how I have walked into the office knowing this. Colleagues openly joke about me which makes me defensive and abrupt with them, which then makes things worse because that makes them dislike me.<br />
<br />
I am like you in that I never speak up or join in conversations and when I do my voice is so quiet people barely hear me. I feel so lonely and frustrated and like you I sometimes do not know who I am. I sometimes try to act more outgoing to make people accept me but I know I am not being me. <br />
<br />
I agree that you might be suffering from depression, it did affect me severely and like you I stopped caring about myself and looking after myself, I did not see the point. I think it was caused by the shyness, it has made me so isolated and I know I appear odd to many people who do not know how to interpret my behaviour.<br />
<br />
I feel life is passing me by and I am missing out on so much. I have tried all kinds of therapy but nothing has really helped me. I am now trying CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) I dont know how much it has helped me with the shyness, but it has helped me with the depression. I really think it might help you to find a CBT therapist and talk to them about your fears. <br />
<br />
It is a shame because somebody so obviously articulate and sensitive as you must have so much to offer.

Well i'm not sht but have never thought that being shy was a problem, unless in your case it starts to define your life. I share many of your feelings but i was diagnosed with clinical depression and i am actually wondering if i am a bit agoraphobic as well. Is it possible that your *shyness* might actually be a chemical imbalance in your brain? Have you ever sought out professional help? Even if it is nothing but shyness maybe a professional can help you find ways to get around it so you can start enjoying life again as opossed to watching life go by. I personally dislike *labels* but if your shyness is actually something else than there is REAL HELP out there and even if it is simply shyness there is also help out there. I'm thrilled you are reaching ou on EP, it is a great resourse of VERY supportive people. Do you have a close friend that you could tell about this, or even get them to read your story, if you have a really supportive friends or even friend you might be amazed at how they could help you. I have two very close friends who know almost EVERYTHING in my life, and they simply will NOT allow me to suffer in silence. When i do not have my kids with me they INSIST that i stay with them, so they know they can get me out and do somethings, while also knowing that it truly scares the SH*T out of me. Since they also know everything, even if we have only been out for 15 minutes, if i say i need to go back, they don't judge me or twell me in a while, they respect that i have done my best and without being upset with me in ANY way, they take me back. They are truly a God Send. Hopefully some of this might help, GOOD LUCK!! and welcome to EP!!