I once showed up to a party alone, before any of my friends arrived.Instead of mingling, I hid in the bathroom to kill time and avoid talking to strangers. For a shy person, social interaction can be a stomach-churning, anxiety-filled experience. But with some work, I was able to get it under control and become comfortable with talking to people.
My friends and family probably wouldn't describe me as shy.
But for me, being shy has always been about struggling to connect with people I know.
I fear the unfamiliarity of a stranger—how they might judge or reject me.
Maybe there's nothing inherently wrong with being timid, but when I started noticing how it affected my everyday life, I wanted to get it under control.
It wasn't a single, enlightening experience that woke me up and made me decide to shed my shyness for good. The more problems it causes, the more I learn to get over it.
For example: at one of my first jobs, I ran into a small accounting issue for the company. Rather than bring it to my boss's attention and ask what I should do, I decided to deal with it and figure it out myself.
I wasn't afraid of the work or of making mistakes—I was afraid of (which was particularly crazy because he was a great, easygoing boss).
But I was shy, so I said nothing, and the small accounting issue turned into a huge problem that took days to repair.
Had I spoken up to begin with, I might've been a little embarrassed.