The Difference between being Shy and being Rude

People have mistaken me for being rude on so many occasions when in fact its not rudeness but shyness. As a psychology student I have partaken in many personality tests and questionnaires and all have clearly shown that I am a complete introvert! My lack of a social life can attest to this! Its not that I’m antisocial but when I’m in the company of a group of people I find myself looking at the clock waiting for the “right” time to make my escape. Its not that I have anywhere special to go or anything urgent to attend to its just that I feel my energy being drained when I’m surrounded by people. I’ve always been shy as a child and I still have a quiet spoken voice even now, except for when I’m yelling at the kids or the cat! I like to listen when others speak and I don’t very much like to talk about myself to others. I am amazed though how people, who are confident and aren’t shy, can make the most boring topic sound like its the most important thing you’ll ever hear in your life! Being shy has taught me to listen well, and when you listen and don’t talk as much as others do, you get to learn a lot about others. I lack the confidence to think that what I’ve got to say would be as important or interesting as what other people have to say, and so most of my conversation consists of world affairs and news stories rather than personal stories about myself. I’m not sure if this is a common trait among shy people but its how I’ve always been. I can talk and talk about the plight of the homeless, or the state of the world today, but ask me anything personal and I’ll clam up! People have mistaken me for being rude because they don’t believe a person who goes up on stage and sings Karaoke can be shy. What they don’t realise is that it’s because I know I’m shy, that I force myself to do things to stop myself from being shy. My hands may shake when I’m holding the microphone but I still make myself do it to bring myself out of my shell. What helped bring me out of my shell, and to stop from being so self concious, was when my children were babies and they needed to be comforted, there were many times in public that I had to do all sorts of silly voices and faces to get them to stop crying. Having children and having to entertain them constantly is a great way to stop yourself from being shy and self concious. I still enjoy my alone time so much, and I prefer to be at home more than anywhere else in the world, but I do try to make an effort to be polite and social when I am in the company of people because I can see how people would mistake shyness for rudeness. It’s not always as it seems though so don’t be so quick to judge until you speak to the person one on one.