Shy people may or may not be rude, and rude individuals may or may not be shy. One does not preclude the other. To be shy is to be standoffish and to shun the spotlight. Whether or not the shy person would rather be on the stage showing off, or in the audience watching, is for them to know.
Statistics show that a whopping number of us, about sixty percent are shy and don’t mind admitting it. The problem is that universal. What causes it? It has something to do what the psychiatrists call social phobia’, a fear of society.
Not everyone that is shy, it must be understood, is socially out of it. They may have an inherent dread of getting involved and may not exactly have an easy time with strangers, but they weight their dreads against their gains and gradually overcome their fear of entering a room filled with people, speaking to groups, and doing whatever else is necessary for them to get along in life.
Rudeness never enters the picture for most that is shy although their actions may be labeled as that. Not walking right up and introducing yourself to others may appear to them to be snobbish, (rudeness) when, in truth, you are fearful and do not know what to say.
Shyness, when we analyze it, is more akin to selfishness than rudeness. We have such a high opinion of ourselves that we can not stand the thought of other seeing us less than we think ourselves to be. That is somewhat a natural condition when one is young but by adulthood it should have been outgrown.
When one gets older, basic shyness does not vanish, but what does vanish is the fear of letting others see our less than perfect selves. We have learned that we are not perfect, but in spite of that, we are not so bad; and we have no fear of letting others in on that knowledge. We know that they too most likely harbor such fears and will understand.
In other words society as a group grows closer because of this fact. Perfection is a state no group can live comfortably with for long. Knowing all this eases the tension of social interaction and whereas we may prefer our quiet time at home, we are not against going out and taking our place in the world when it is a necessity. To not do this is a mild form of rudeness.
Rude behavior arises from other causes than shyness. Rude persons are disagreeable and have no respect for others. The first rule against rudeness is: respect other people and their rights. And that brings me to other ideas that just popped into my mind: rude individuals may be striking out against others in order to cover up their own inadequate feelings.
Instead of accepting these feelings and accepting them for what they are and dealing with them, a rude person closes that door (a classroom where self-knowledge would let them in on the secret of their inadequacies and how to deal with them) and instead lashes out at others as proof that indeed they are not shy. Indeed they are not, but they are rude and that is far more serious.
Another side to rudeness where shyness may be a close neighbor is in the area of un-refinement. We may simply not know what is expected of us in a society different from our own. We grew up lacking social skills and when we are thrown in with a bunch of people with impeccable manners and who know what to say when and precisely how to say it, we become wilted violets.
What can we do? Well we certainly don’t blame those that have for what we have not, we learn. We ask those who know to show us how to do better. We read up on etiquette books and we go from there. When we make mistakes we learn from them and if we are unknowingly rude to others, we apologize. Gradually we improve. With this kind of attitude we grow in our ability to not only overcome shyness but to lessen any rude tendencies we may be harboring.
Yet shyness can be more than shyness and instead correctly labeled introversion’. Introverts prefer being alone with their own thoughts although they have no problems with social encounters. They more often see these as intrusions into their preferred sedentary lives.
Life offers many contrary situations. The one most illusory is that extroverted people are not shy. There are many people, actors, well known public figures that carry on their duties well when in public but are basically shy when seen and dealt with in small conversational groups and such.
This is possible because they have learned their roles well and are good performers. They only get lost when they have to ad lib in small personal groups. These individuals fit into the same category as the shy person who has not learned how to let go of their perfectionist longings.
Whatever, we are all together in this world and since more of us are shy than not, what do we have to fear? Who said that all we have to fear is fear itself? (Was it Teddy Roosevelt, or was it another fearless soul?) Whomever, most of us will never make a perfect score there, but we can become less shy and can, with the right kind of attitude, overcome whatever it is that cause us to sometimes act rudely.