The Difference between being Shy and being Rude

To mention the terms shyness and rudeness in the same breath or consider that one could be mistaken for the other, is to totally misunderstand human natures. There is a considerable distinction between the two human states. However, it seems that in the world we live in today, many people confuse the two traits. It is strange that primarily the perception is that shy people are rude, yet it is rarely held that rude people are shy.

Whilst there are similarities between shyness and rudeness in terms of their external manifestations, if you closely compare a shy and a rude person you will notice subtle difference in the way they act. For a shy person tends to be basically timid in character and this shows in their body language, which will give the appearance of being slightly fearful of the people they come into contact with. A rude person on the other hand, tends to be much more sure of themselves, and will therefore hold a stance that is far more erect and challenging. The shy person’s body language shows little strength, being more inclined to submissiveness, whilst on the other hand the body language of a rude person is quite secure, but closed in nature to deter others from connecting with them.

The same is true with eye contact and conversation. In regards to eye contact the shy person will look downward as they look away in an embarrassed manner. However, a rude person will not be afraid of eye contact, albeit brief, but there will be coldness in their eyes, a lack of emotion towards the person they are glancing at. Similarly, if you persist gently in conversation with a shy person, they will tend to come out of their shell a little, although it may be a difficult process for them. However, in the main they will exhibit a friendly attitude towards the speaker. The rude person will be more abrasive in their conversational manner and if one continues to talk to them, these people’s tone of voice will make it quite plain that they are not interested in conversation, at least with you.

Conversation, or rather the lack of it, is one major area where shyness gets mistaken for someone being rude. This occurs just because a shy person finds it hard to start or even continue a conversation unless they know someone really well. The lack of talking from a shy person is again born out of timidity. Their belief is that what they have to say, even in the simplest context, is not of as much value as the person who is not shy. However a rude person is not timid in their approach to conversation and they are sure of themselves in this respect. Whilst rudeness can be displayed in lack of conversation the few words that this person does utter may be abrupt and intended to be unwelcoming towards continuing a conversation with them and this is likely to be a deliberate stance.

In the main shy people tend to be introverts, whereas to a great extent rude people are the opposite, namely extroverts. Therefore a shy person, although they need encouragement in many areas, will react in a positive, although reserved manner, whereas a rude person is sure of themselves and will be dismissive of those they do not want to know.