A question about shyness

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iDweeb's picture
Last seen: 8 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 14:45
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A question about shyness

Hi, everyone!


MODS please understand there are likely quite a few other 'fritter critters that this applies to, and that's why I am posting it instead of going IRC. There is nothing here that deals with a particular instance or person I am trying to single out or even name but just general thoughts and repeated occurances from my experience. I'm citing the post on Asperger Syndrome as a precident for this type of discussion.

I'm an introverted sort of guy. Have pretty much always been a bit shy and it takes more effort to approach people than a lot of other guys I know. That said, I am pretty darn secure with who I am, and I am happy to be who I am overall. I seem to leave a trail of friends wherever I go-- When I would work somewhere, or when I have a place that I visit a lot l have been told that they remember who I am because I am generally positive, happy and treated them kindly. I make it a point to spend time with friends I already know about once a week and have a coffee place I hang at to see new people and plan out my projects at least 2 or 3 nights a week.

I just graduated with an associate's degree last year on top of a seperate bachelor's the year before so I've only had time for a few girlfriends over the years between the time I was in high school and college. I care about myself too much to settle for someone (with serious personal issues, a controling or obnoxious personality, self-centeredness etc) because I have high standards.

More and more I've been finding myself talking to some pretty ladies and conversing a bit. I've finally been freed up enough to do it after graduating. If It looks like I am getting a warm reception I invite them to have coffee or lunch etc with me, at any rate somewhere public and low pressure. Often we would get to the point of exchanging numbers so we know how to reach eachother.

Maybe the next day or a day after, at the latest I'd try to reach her by phone. I might try calling two or three different times of the day to see when she was home or available. I don't want to call more than that because it might be a little scarry for her to see a phone number pop up on caller id a half million times. I've been consistently getting voicemail, turned off phones, and ringing... and NO responses. ZILCH. It is as if these ladies fall off the face of the earth. Even given a call a day for another two or three days.

I'm having trouble figuring weather it has to do with flaky ladies, or if I could be missing some kind of social cue or something and I am being blown off because of it(which does not make sense if they've already given me their number etc. If I were them I wouldn't give my number to someone I though was a creep!)

-or- could it be something else?

perhaps how they percieve shy guys in general?

the only other wildcard I can think of here is that I have ADHD and may seem distracted sometimes.

lt kinda hurts to see it happen so much Sad

Anyone have any ideas?


ex-parrot's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 01:35
Posts: 6844
You may do better discussing

You may do better discussing this on IRC... I sympathise with your plight but this kind of discussion often doesn't go down so well on Remember Outdoors...

so much so in fact that the forum description was recently updated to include:

To discuss religion, partisan opinions, or personal issues, please use IRC.

Not saying you were necessarily wrong in posting here, I am a "junior" moderator after all... but it may not be met with overly useful replies....

BDub's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 703
Let's leave it open for now.

Let's leave it open for now. Juvenile responses will cause it to get locked immediately and without a lot of us trying to justify it.

I sympathize. Bit of an introvert myself.

astro_rob's picture
Last seen: 9 years 1 month ago
Joined: Mar 19 2005 - 12:28
Posts: 320
Is This Such A Bad Thing (for now)?

When I was in high school, I was at first pretty shy. Then, around age 16, the pendulum swung far to the other direction; I became pretty extroverted. Dated like mad, even formed a band, lived the life of an artist... you get the picture. This lasted into my second, and I might admit drunken, year in college. I put the brakes on myself and tried to rein myself in. Ended up married and pretty darned depressed within a matter of months.
Being shy in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The fact that you say that you live by fairly high moral standards says volumes about your character, and trust me, sooner or later, some lucky lady is going to notice that. Moral fiber is a commodity this day and age; means that you're not just safe, you're a catch. Many young women just aren't ready to settle down, but when they get there, you're the sort of person they want. Again, trust me here, this is painful experience talking.
So, have patience, young man. You might meet that girl tomorrow... or maybe you already have. Just wait.
(personally, if I were given the cup of youth, I wouldn't just sip, I'd guzzle...)


iDweeb's picture
Last seen: 8 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 14:45
Posts: 103
I think...

Hi. I think this forum's replies have already been of some use. Given me a bit of insight. I though I'd share my story because "geek" culture has its share of introverts who may be dealing with similar frustrations. coming across a thread like this might give someone who is really down on themselves a bit of perspective on their own situation.

Personally, my faith has helped me a lot, and I have a great family and a few good friends. Shyness can be devistating if you let it, particularly in people who don't have those sorts of connections.

It is those types who I really feel for.

catmistake's picture
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 1100
brace yourself for a little sexism...

regardless of fact... this is going to sound sexist.

Women, girls esp., generally speaking, have lower self-esteem than us. This is likely a product of our sexist society. I'm not completely sure, but the situation you describe sounds like a power stuggle.

This could be a huge post, but I'll just drop my advice and leave it at that. (for next time) If you get a number, but you know you'll probably run into her again, don't call... just tuck it away. If you must call, call once (and ONLY once), leave a short, cheery message... and never call again. If you don't hear back, just forget about it. In fact... just forget about it as soon as the phone hits the cradle.

The more you call, the more she leverages you as some 'thing' to prop up her esteem. If it goes beyond this, then you become a topic of conversation for her. Don't let it happen. If you focus on one girl before any meaningful reciprocation, you will let yourself be set up for humiliation and disappointment.

Then again... its sometimes true that she just likes being chased... and you have to give chase to achieve any satisfaction. But how to know? Unless you are head over heals, let it go. Only love is worth the possible jail time you risk by pouring it on.

One more thing. Girls think they are being less cruel when they lie. They don't want to be the cause of your disappointment, they don't want to hurt your feelings... so they just lie instead.

Chances are you'll have better success forgetting about phone calls. They'd come naturally after actually getting to know someone, setting up a familiarity, a repore, a trust, prior to (or forgoing completely) cornering her into uncomfortable phone conversations with a stranger.

Oh, yeah... for what ever reason, the majority seem to prefer the non-shy, attention grabbing twit. I think its an evolutionary thing (just as, all things being equal, she will prefer the 6'2" guy to the 5'9" guy). Shyness is a choice, not a condition. (I used to have severe physical reactions to suddenly becoming the center of attention, as on stage, or what have you... I'd shake, freeze... crazy things... but ANYONE can get used to being outgoing... I never used to be able to even TALK to girls... now, I know I don't have to... talk if it presents itself, otherwise... the trick is to be observed and be chill about it. Create an atmosphere around yourself that is not uncomfortable to be it... nervousness is contageous, so nip it in the bud)

Reverend Darkness's picture
Last seen: 8 years 6 months ago
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We're just animals with thumbs...

If you think about it, in the animal kingdom, the female of the species is going to be more attracted to the male with the brightest colours, the prettiest song, the loudest roar, etc. This is why the female of our species ends up going for the jerks.

Shyness is nothing more than an extension of an animal instinct. You are in a situation or environment where you are not comfortable, so you will be wary of your surroundings, try to call little attention to yourself, and observe as much as possible... all in an attempt to protect yourself. This is all fine and good, except when it comes to mating.

Now, when I say "mating", I'm not talking about just sex, here. I'm talking about pairing up, dating, hanging out, whatever it's called. Sure, sex can be part of that, but it's the initial pairing (or tripling, if yer lucky Wink ) that is important.

Females or our species (generally speaking) want to be impressed. They want to be persued. They want to be in control of the mating. And there is only one way to let them know that you want to impress them, to pursue them, to let them be in control: You have to take a chance. Put yourself out there. You have to put all your emotions on the line and risk getting your heart ripped from your chest, chewed up, spit out, and ground into the dirt.

... cuz that's what will happen...

... and it's worth every instance of pain that you will feel...

Had I not gone through the hundreds of rejections and failed attempts at pitching woo, I wouldn't have found the few good relationships I've had. I pursued my wife for five full months before she would even agree to a date.

Essentially, you aren't doing anything wrong. Give them a call every once in a while to show them that you are still interested. The ones that express interest, pursue. If they are not interested in you, the nice ones will actually tell you so. The others... well... they ain't worth your time...

*** The above is generalized theory based upon my own practical, applied experience. These statements and scenarios may or may not apply to you, the reader.

Jon's picture
Last seen: 12 years 10 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
Here's my bit of advice: Thi

Here's my bit of advice: Think long and hard about what "signals" there might be. I know now, when I think back over they years, that I've had many girls/women pitch me now-painfully-obvious signals of interest and attraction. At the time I either missed them or misinterperted them. I'm not diagnosed, but some of the issue people with AS have seem to have applied to me during those formative years. It didn't help being shy, because I wouldn't ask the lady what she meant by what ever it was she signalled with.

One painfully obvious signal: We were working, waiting around and talking in a small group of three, me and two ladies. In the middle of the conversation, one takes my arm and tries to get me to dance. I don't dance well, or ever, except for silly dances for my kids and wife. I was too concerned about the dancing to notice the kind of interest and attention she was showing me. That's the kind of stuff a guy might do to impress a lady, but I couldn't read the signal going the other way. My shynesss got in the way, and embarassment took over from the regular instincts of the male species.

in your condition with ADHD, you might overly focus on the wrong things, and also be distracted and/or ignore signals coming from others. in focusing on one particular woman of the moment, you might be missing the other woman trying to ply you with "hey what about me?!?" signals at the same time.

gobabushka's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
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Just thought I would add my two cents...

It sounds like you and me are in the same boat. We both have adhd, and we both have had our share of girl troubles. The trick is to not let it get you down.

Being shy in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The fact that you say that you live by fairly high moral standards says volumes about your character, and trust me, sooner or later, some lucky lady is going to notice that. Moral fiber is a commodity this day and age; means that you're not just safe, you're a catch. Many young women just aren't ready to settle down, but when they get there, you're the sort of person they want. Again, trust me here, this is painful experience talking.

I would have to agree with astro_rob, one day you will find someone who will love you for who YOU are. There are some girls out there who want someone who is nice and are looking for person like you. Right now in your age group, girls are still trying to find themselves, and are still attracted to jerks.

You still have your whole life ahead of you, and you will find somebody. If you let them get you down, it will hurt a whole lot more. Don't even worry about the ones that are not interested, there are a lot more fish in the sea. Forget the ones that don't call back. It's hard, very hard, but use the experience from that to improve your search for "the one".

iDweeb's picture
Last seen: 8 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 14:45
Posts: 103
thanks :)

Thanks for the encouragement, gobabushka. Everyone else too. It has been illuminating to hear from some of your experience.

For sure I'm not willing to hurry just for the sake of having somebody on my arm... lots of people get into REALLY unhealthy/ ugly/ and or dangerous relationships because of their desire to feel wanted and they settle for the first one who comes along. Seen it happen too many times in other people.

I have a longing for someone to be in my life, but someone who appreciates me for who I am who I can appreciate and love in return. That's something worth all of the frustration,and being treated like crap I thinkin the meantime. Guess ya don't really appreciate love until you've been burned or rejected.

Don't let it get you down either gobabushka.

Having ADHD must throw off my perceptions, I think. I dunno, still I am a fairly perceptive kind of guy. Pick up on stuff some of my other friends don't get when they observe others. It's really wierd, I can empathize with others pretty well...kind of anticipate what they're feeling. You know, when someone says they're "ok" but you know they're not by reading the body language. haven't mastered it 100% yet but I can still tell.

In fact I took the tickle.com emotional IQ test about a month ago and I got like a 135. It deals with those kinds of cues.

BTW, does "gobabushka" have anything to do with those babushka things that little old Polish bushias wear? I'm from a Polish family Smile

iDweeb's picture
Last seen: 8 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 14:45
Posts: 103
Thanks, Jon!

gosh, I don't know if I would miss something quite that pronounced. not in the past 5 years anyways. I've found that the more I'm out and about, the more I can observe how people react and pick up on.

But there was the time once that there was this one girl I knew when I used to be a bagger at a grocery store...really kind too. One day she came up behind me, did that flirty "finger across the back" thing, and went on. Shortly after she went out with another guy and they've been going steady since -D'oh!

you're probrably right that I still need some work.


iantm's picture
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
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Weird how life goes

In high school, I was an exceptionally shy reclusive person. Very few people I went to school ever got to know me, or terribly much about me. In those days, I was on 1000 mg daily of depakote for petit mal seizures, and trying to make up for lost time. Due to the undiagnosed condition, I'd managed to flunk out my freshman year of high school. Fortunately, after that disastrous year, my family relocated to Florida (this was a double edged sword) where I could start over. Knowing that I was one year behind the curve didn't please me at all, and then I discovered night school and the summer school program. So, I did that. Two classes a night for three-four nights a week on top of a regular school day, and then summer school to catch up. Fortunately, my efforts paid off, and I was able to graduate on my original scheduled date in 2000. I had a laptop to do my work on (a PowerBook 180 came in really handy in those days) that my parents bought me, wore sunglasses to cope with the bright light (I've since moved to Pittsburgh, PA to escape that), and often wore a suit. At the time, I was self concious, and was convinced that a suit hid my weight.

I hit college, and worked a part time job, then got my driver's license after a year of remission from the seizures without the depakote. Life was good. Then something happened, I don't really remember what, but I ended up living in my sister's house and ended up working full time.

Once in the rat race, went into workaholic mode. I did overtime whenever possible, and managed to do fairly well for myself within the AOL call center, even getting promoted to broadband. All while ignoring the nagging little issue of women and a social life. Then I was the victim of a drunk driver (there's a thread on this somewhere, don't feel like pulling it up atm). I spent six months without being able to drive, but was able to work. As soon as I got my driver's license back (seizures came back from a head injury), I got myself a car (the old one was crunched up), an apartment, and started living the high life.

See, in my apartment, I had managed to get dial up for cheap (worked for aol still), and armed with my bondi iMac, I started cruising the aol local chat rooms for local women. Then I came into an insurance settlement from the accident, (did some stupid things with the money) got a 12" pbg4, a newer car, and a penchant for wilder living. Needless to say, I ended up getting together with many women I met via aol/aol chatrooms within days, if not the first day that online contact was made.

Things eventually crashed when the money ran out and a big depression hit.Within a year, I moved to Pittsburgh to start a new life. I met the woman of my dreams by chance through a friend of a friend. We're getting married this October. It's weird how life is.

iDweeb's picture
Last seen: 8 years 4 months ago
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Re: brace yourself for a little sexism...

Shyness is a choice, not a condition)

Note- In this post I use caps for emphasis, not to yell at you, catmistake. Smile

I appreciate the bit about setting up an atmosphere about yourself that is comfortable to be in, I think that is GREAT advice. It revolves around ACTION and modifying behaviors, which is cool.

But I really disagree with you about shyness being a CHOICE. Let me explain:

By my nature I have a certain disposition, as do a lot of people. Something about me on a deep emotional /psychological level just prefers to focus more inward in some ways than in some other people. We are called Introverts. We make great philosophers, planners, and "idea guys".

I find this to be true because I tend to think quite a bit...so do a lot of computer programmers and web guys and creative sorts. From personal experience, I seem to think about ideas, about problem solving, etc... about other people, but from a distance....all stuff that focuses inward, pretty cerebral stuff.. scarry sometimes. This isn't all of who I am but it seems to be more than 50% of how I respond to the outside world. Perhaps around 65 %. The dominant factor for sure. I would call this being an Introvert.

Now being INTROVERTED and SHY are not the same, but people who are introverted are prone to BE shy. Shys like Introverts at large concentrate inwards, but we also have an automatic gut reaction of fearing being rejected... illogical as it indeed is, the emotional reaction still occurs.

This much I can't change. Part of it could be a chemical imbalence or something. What I can do is based on doing things like become more comfortable around others by being around them, and forcing myself out of my comfort zone just a little further and talking and socializing each time I'm out. I've had some success with this as far as casual aquaintances go. Still looking for more close friends I can relate to who share my general sort of values or something else I can relate to like disposition, etc. Point is I would categorize this under changing my behavior, not my emotional or psychological essence or"self", which I accept these automatic gut reactions as.

On the flip side of things here there are people who focus predominately on the outside... their appearance, how they are percieved by the world, and being the center of attention and being surrounded by large amounts of friends. Power and prestige, perhaps in some cases.I'm not saying it is wrong, they're just set up differently. I would categorize them as Extroverts. Outgoing guys DO tend to get the first crack at the ladies because they are the ones who stand out at first. They also tend to be more successful in terms of dollars and cents and make good leaders--Bill Gates excluded. because of the sheer energy they radiate and from their confidence (remember Ronald Regan or John F. Kennedy, anyone?)

About the evolution thing, I'm not a believer in Darwinian Macroevolution, but I do agree with you that it is true that certain traits get passed on. You could describe this as the type of evolution that occurs between generations. Among them Introversion and Extroversion, which I believe have their place in society. Coupling "Idea guys" with "charismatic leaders" get society someplace.

oops, ADHD's acting up, sorry.......

Back to what I was saying:

In my particular case, I am Introverted. Can't change it. Tried. Didn't work. I am shy... tried to change that too. same result so far, but I think some of that is a learned response based on painful experiences growing up with rejection. Not a concious choice that I make, like "I'm waking up today and I'm going to be outgoing". Nope.

The emotional response of "oh my god, I'm really uncomfortable.... what if something goes wrong....?" still comes weather I want it to or not.

I think your situation with being "outgoing" as you were describing, might be the result of you becoming more comfortable around others, and shedding your fear, and not neccisarily a shift in anything else.

I think it is a bit harsh or perhaps just misguided to say "just get over it" and BE outgoing. Kinda like telling a car to fly, really. I can try to compensate for and be aware of emotional reactions (shyness) but I can't stop feelings to come if they come on their own because they are on a more profound level(introversion).

What I will agree with you on is the fact that it is in the hands of every SHY out here to MANAGE their fear and be aware of it, and not to let it get the best of them.Will take your advice about setting up a welcoming environment.

Thanks catmistake for your view.

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