In social psychology, shyness (also called diffidence) is the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness experienced when a person is in proximityto, approaching, or being approached by other people, especially in new situations or with unfamiliar people. Shyness may come from genetic traits, the environment in which a person is raised and personal experiences. There are many degrees of shyness. Stronger forms are usually referred to as social anxietyor social phobia. Shyness may merely be a personality trait or can occur at certain stages of development in children. The primary defining characteristic of shyness is a largely ego-driven fear of what other people will think of a person’s behavior, which results in the person becoming scared of doing or saying what he or she wants to, out of fear of negative reactions, criticism, or rejection, and simply opting to avoid social situations instead. Shyness also has strong cultural aspects.
Shyness is most likely to occur during unfamiliar situations, though in severe cases it may hinder an individual in his or her most familiar situations and relationships as well. Shy people avoid the objects of their apprehension in order to keep from feeling uncomfortable and inept; thus, the situations remain unfamiliar and the shyness perpetuates itself. Shyness may fade with time; e.g., a child who is shy towards strangers may eventually lose this trait when olderand become more socially adept. This often occurs by adolescence or young adulthood (generally around the age of 13). In some cases, though, it may become an integrated, lifelong character trait. Humans experience shyness to different degrees and in different areas. For example, an actor may be loud and bold on stage, but shy in an interview. In addition, shyness may manifest when one is in the company of certain people and completely disappear when with others— one may be outgoing with friends and family, but experience love-shyness toward potential partners, even if strangers are generally not an obstacle.
- ^Chris Nosal. “How To Make Friends If You’re Shy”. http://popularitysecrets.com/articles/make-friends-social-anxiety-shy.htm. Retrieved 2012-09-24.