I am twenty four years and I can't remember a time I wasn't shy. Over the last year it has lessened and I do feel more confident in certain situations. If you know me you would find it hard to believe I'm shy, if I am comfortable around someone and can talk to them with ease it would change if a new person enters the conversation I will shut down and hardly speak. I do think I have gotten better at speaking to people one on one but in a group I avoid eye contact and stay quiet.
Shyness for a lot of people unless you have dealt with it can be really hard to understand trust me I can't even comprehend how people can start talking to someone they've just met and act like they have known them for years.
People will call you an introvert, for me I think an introvert and being shy are different traits, an introvert will avoid social situations while a shy person will fear them, it's almost like a phobia. I dread talking to new people I don't know, and when someone speaks to me I panic, I stutter, I muddled words up etc.
People will assume you are a bitch, ignorant or rude (or all three.) When you are shy it is so hard to make conversation, what do you even talk about? When you are quiet people assume there is something wrong or you are being stuck up. Sometimes I'll be listening to a conversation and want to jump in and be afraid too, other times I'll wait for a moment that never comes. Even when people know I am shy and struggle to make conversation I am still labelled as this even if no attempts are made to talk to me either, it is always easy to pin it on the shy one. If anything I feel I should be appreciated for my listening skills and sometimes I find it nice not to feel the need to talk.
People will make jokes, I have no idea why but people seem to find it hilarious making comments such as 'Hannah is a right chatter box, you can never shut her up' it really isn't appreciated, it just makes you crawl back into your shell and makes you not want to speak at all, and even when you do find the confidence to say something you'll be met with 'she just spoke' etc.
You feel bad for being shy, or at least I have. When someone who I don't know gets stuck with me at work for example, in my head I'm saying 'I'm sorry you are stuck with me' or hoping someone else will come along so it is less awkward. I've been to blogging events to and when I'm being quiet I sit thinking to myself I hope they don't mind or think I'm being odd.
I've always been told you will outgrow your shyness, I don't think I ever will and shyness is a part of me. Shyness doesn't control my life and things that seems so little to others such as saying 'Hi' etc. to someone new are big things to me, it is small steps in improving my confidence in talking to people. I won't ever me that bubbly girl, I like being quiet, I'm someone who likes to get to know someone before I open myself up and those who make the time will know I am a fun, caring and friendly person.