The Difference between being Shy and being Rude

People who are shy are often mistaken for being rude. However, people who are rude are rarely regarded as being shy. This is because shy people are not usually terribly forthcoming and their apparent lack of enthusiasm or interest can be mistakenly perceived as being hostile. People who are genuinely rude tend to be actively so either verbally or physically. In this way their behavior directly involves a deliberate attempt to offend or a non-caring and often selfish attitude.

When I was younger I used to be regularly described as being shy. It didn’t bother me too much until I heard someone say that shy people are this way because they concentrate on their own actions too much rather than being as interested in other people as they are in themselves! I was mortified to think that I was self obsessed and set about making an effort to be more friendly.

For some other people who are shy becoming more friendly may feel like a painful impossibility as their level of shyness may be much higher than mine was.

The word ‘friendly’ here is of great importance because it is others interpretation of how friendly another person is, or not, which can lead them to accidentally judge a shy person as being rude.

Rudeness itself, unlike shyness, is active not passive and generally involves an intention to be disruptive or non-cooperative.

Shyness involves the shy person scrutinizing their every move in an attempt to be seen in a good light, or not to be seen at all, whilst rudeness tends to come from people who have little regard for others and a lack of care as to how they come across socially.

Whilst some people who are rude may be so through a lack of social awareness and interpersonal skills, for most others the act of being rude is within their own control. They can choose to continue to be rude or to change their behavior.

For many people who are shy their shyness can be a real problem and may not seem to be under their own control. They may wish to change but feel unable to do so without some outside help to increase their self esteem and so shift their attention away from ‘trying’ to be a certain way to just ‘being’ themselves without effort.