A recent conversation with a co-worker got me to thinking about what makes me, me, and the struggles I’ve encountered due to my shyness.
Believe it or not, I’m not the most outgoing person in the world. I’m sure to anyone reading it seems like I’m super energetic and bubbly, and sure, I can be, once I get to know you, but when it comes to being around large groups of people, especially those I don’t know, you’ll likely find me in more of an observer mode until I’m comfortable – which tends to take a while.
When I was in high school, I had someone who is now a good friend of mine, tell me that there was a perception that I was a bitch because I was quiet and didn’t join in on all the activities that the popular kids did. She mentioned that, “pretty girls can’t be quiet and reserved or they come off a stuck up.”
At the time I thought: “she thinks I’m pretty, how nice!” but as a more mature adult I really do see her point.
It’s easy to be outgoing at a dropzone. For one, you’ve got all this adrenaline flowing through you that keeps a perma-smile on your face and it doesn’t hurt that you’re surrounded by people who totally get you. It’s the easiest environment to be your crazy, quirky self and have confidence that everyone will embrace you for you. After all, you’re a skydiver too!
When I’m not at the dropzone though, I’m usually working in one form or another – whether it’s my day job, that I love and that I work hard at to succeed, or planning the next Jump for Diabetes event, which I always aim to be bigger and better than the last. Of course, it’s more than just the event, it’s running a non-profit, which comes with a whole host of other duties. I cherish this non-profit life, as it exposes me to more people in the skydiving industry and in the diabetes world than I ever imagined. I get to travel, meet new people, share experiences and raise funds for a cause that’s close to my heart. And in a world that at times seems to be falling apart economically, it’s refreshing to come face-to-face with some of the most generous members of our society, despite the hard times.
Of course, then I have those days where I’m not doing any of those things and I wonder why I don’t know many people in my new city. Wake up silly, it’s because you have to try!
Aside from the fact that I’m crazy busy, my shyness keeps me from going out and meeting other like-minded people. Unless I’m invited out by someone who is already a friend, to have that little bit of confidence that I’ll have someone to talk to, I typically don’t venture out of my comfort zone alone. Sure, I’d love nothing more than to introduce myself to that girl on the mat next to me at yoga class, hit it off, invite her to Starbucks for a Chai latte after class and become best buddies, but you have to have the cajones to make that introduction first!
You’d think with all the aspects of my life that require meeting new people and making positive connections to succeed that I’d be able to advocate for myself on an individual basis and make those connections on a personal level too – but, it’s just not as easy as it sounds.
Anyone out there experienced this type of shyness in their 20s? Any recommendations to overcome this are appreciated.
Love and blue skies!