All my life I have been shy. Also, all my life I've been hearing people say, "She will grow out of it." I'm 20 years old and the shyness is still here. As a kid you can get by being shy but as an adult, shyness can hold you back in many aspects of your life.
DESCRIBING PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR:
After two weeks of recording my behaviors I've come to realize in what situations my shyness comes into play most often. There are very few situations that I feel comfortable with myself, allowing me to speak freely. The only people that I ever feel at ease with are my own family and friends. Even my own family and friends can turn me silent in some situations.
Meeting new people is a very hard task for me. Sometimes it feels almost impossible. My biggest fear of meeting new people is, not knowing what to say. In most cases I would rather avoid a situation than have to deal with the feeling of not knowing what to say. 2/6-2/9 I tried to avoid any situation that I thought I could feel awkward in. Avoidance can be either physical (steering clear of a friend after having an argument, or in my case, steering clear of a friend to avoid the chance of any awkward situation) or conversational (changing the topic, joking, or denying that a problem exists). (Ch.11-Managing Conflict, p.304) Most shy people would rather avoid the short term problem of meeting new people and asking for dates, even when the long term goal of intimate relationships are enticing.
On 1/18 I had a job interview at a new pizza restaurant. My parent's had been hounding me for months to find a job. The new pizza restaurant that was opening, the owner happened to be one of my dad's co-workers, so I decided that even though I hated interviews I would give this one a try. It was 1/18 that the owner had called and asked for me to come in for an interview that same day. From the moment that I hung up the phone after agreeing that I would be there at 2:30 I had the same sick feeling I always got when I was nervous about something. All I could think about was all the other interviews that I had gone on in the past and never got the job, so that had to be how this was going to turn out too, that was my self-fulfilling prophecy. A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when a person's expectations of an event and her or his subsequent behavior based on those expectations make the outcome more likely to occur than would otherwise have been true. (Ch.2 Communication and the Self, p.37)
One of my biggest weaknesses in communication with others is eye contact. Eye contact is a nonverbal way of regulating verbal communication. Nonverbal regulators help control verbal interaction with others. (Ch. 5 Nonverbal Communication, p.119) In almost all situations I have a very hard time looking at people in the eye when I talk or they talk. In all of my two weeks of journaling other than my online situations I had trouble with eye contact.
Computer-mediated communication provides others with another way to react. (Ch.1 Interpersonal Process, p.17) Internet has been proven to be an effective way for quiet communicators to make contact. Chat rooms, instant messaging, e-mail, and computer dating services all provide a low threat way to approach others and get acquainted. (Ch. 7 Emotions, p. 177) The only time that I don't feel a constant nervousness around new people is when I am online. When I was online I was able to get to know Michael and Adam better because I was able to express myself and self- disclose information about myself. Self-disclosing communication is information about yourself that is purposefully communicated to another person. (Ch. 9 Intimacy and Distance in Relationships, p. 240)
What I think that has affected my level of shyness most in my life is my self- concept, which is a set of perceptions that I hold on myself. (Ch. 2 Communication and the Self, p....