Why are we so shy? Why don’t we just start a conversation with someone? Why can’t we look someone in their eyes when they are talking to us? Are we so different from the popular people?
Many of these questions are playing in a lot of peoples minds, over-and-over again. So much that they would lock them self in their house and shut off every social contact. I never locked myself up but I have had many years that I didn’t dare to start a conversation with anyone except with my family.
When I was a kid, I was the quiet one. I was the invisible little boy in the corner. I was always the one who nobody noticed until everybody left. I don’t really know why it was like that. The only friends I had at that time where my closest neighbour’s kids. If there was a fair or anything else happening in town I just followed my friends and looked at what they did. If someone would say something to me, anyone else than my friends, I looked away and would run or hide in a corner.
Even when I was a teenager I still was the shy one. There once was a girl who did notice me and wanted to have contact. With the help of my friends they started the contact because of course, I didn’t even notice the girl and was too scared of starting a conversation, and after a while, she was “one of the group”. So, once she was in our group I started to talk when anyone asked me something but that was it. Too scared of saying or doing anything wrong.
The girl liked me as a shy boy. She liked me the way I was and who I was. She didn’t like boys who always wanted to be the toughest and strongest or the biggest playboy. She liked me. It took me quite a time before I realized that she was interested in me. And there was that feeling again. I didn’t know what to do or say. Started blushing and lost all confidence. My friends told me to just relax and said nothing changed so I could still talk as I always did before. For a while, the blushing continued and I was more silent again.
At a sudden time, we were playing a game and me and the girl hid behind a wall. She tried to kiss me in the hope that this would break the ice between us again. I panicked and ran away as fast as I could. That was also the end of the “relationship” between me and the girl…
This continued for a few years. I met other friends on the way but I stayed the shy one. But I wanted to lose that feeling and wanted to change. It took a lot of gut to step up but I didn’t want to be that man again. I needed to be myself instead of that little invisible boy. I had a long conversation with myself and I said “No More!”. I started with little things but I kept doing this. I looked at people in their eyes and smiled. Not much but just a little smile. Strangely people smiled back to me. After this I started to say “Hi” to random people and what do you think? They also said “Hi” to me! Why didn’t I do this before?
Later on, I started to go ice-skating with some friends. The place to be for teenagers to attract people from the opposite sex. I wasn’t the smooth talker like many other boys so I needed to find another way to make contact. Instead of breaking my head and searching for a pickup line I just started skating towards a girl who got my interest. As I didn’t have enough experience in ice-skating I couldn’t stop so I shouted (at the last moment) that I couldn’t stop. And by that time I landed in the girl her arms. Of course, this didn’t always give the result I wished for but I had a lot of fun and felt that I did not need to be shy!
From that moment on I tried to be that boy every day. I stepped up and got out of the shadow. I became a young man who laughed and talked to strangers. Even now I still walk by and smile at strangers. It does strange things to the people. It reminds me of a quote: Smile, it confuses people…. You should try it!
(Photo by Katie Chase on Unsplash)