Sometimes, when someone seems arrogant or withdrawn, they are in fact shy. Which is why before labelling, it’s worth getting out your shy detector…
I’m writing a book called Shy.
It’s about how being quiet doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
It can, in fact, be very useful.
As the psychologist Dr Emma Svanberg said when I interviewed her:
‘[Shyness] has a good evolutionary basis. We can’t all be explorers, some of us have to make sure the children are safe.’
Imagine if everyone was outgoing and talkative?
The world would be so noisy.
We need a balance.
But shyness isn’t just beneficial for society as a whole, it can bestow the shy person with useful attributes.
It can lead to more empathy.
The list goes on.
But one thing I’ve found most useful about researching this book has been the understanding I’ve gained about people’s ‘bad’ behaviour.
I’ve realised that often we see arrogance, but it’s masking shyness.
And we think someone is being rude by not participating but actually, they feel shy.
Perhaps we wonder if someone who doesn’t converse for long would prefer to be elsewhere.
But they may just be shy.
And so the next time you’re about to make a (negative) snap judgement about someone, I urge you to stop.
Get out your shy detector.
And give some thought to whether that behaviour is in fact just a front.
And there’s a shy person hiding behind it.