Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Being Extremely Shy

I am an extremely shy person, very introverted and have had some bad cases of social anxiety, I have been this way my entire life. I hated public speaking, I use to have panic attacks when I knew something was coming up and I had to get up in front of the class and speak. One incident really stands out in my mind. I was in 7th grade in Chemistry class and they were going down the aisle asking each person to answer a question. I was counting desks in front of me and then counting questions so I knew which one I had to answer and make sure I actually knew the answer, well that kept changing because if the person got it wrong they would ask the next person in the row.. so I kept panicking until I literally made myself go blind. I panicked so much that my body shut down and I lost my vision. So not only am I panicking that I won't be able to answer the question correctly and that I have to speak in front of the entire class I'm now panicking that I can't see anymore. I remember trying to calm myself down by taking deep breaths, and trying to control my anxiety. After a few minutes my vision came back and I did answer the question, right or wrong I don't remember. That's the worst social anxiety that I've ever had.

As I get older I learned better ways of controlling my social anxiety and shyness. But I'm still not comfortable in large crowds, parties or bars. I much rather be with a small group of friends. If you know me you'd say I'm not extremely shy but that's because I know you. If I know you I can have a perfectly good conversation, but in a room on strangers I will not say a word. I don't have a clue why I'm so shy it's not like I can't carry a conversation. If I sounds stupid do I really care what they think of me?

I really admire those people who can go up to anyone and start a conversation.

I know I do a podcast that thousands of people listen too but it's different when you're talking into a microphone in an empty room, then if I was talking to a room with a thousand people staring at me.  But I will say that podcasting has helped me with my social anxiety/shyness along with my blogging, video blogging, daily booth, twitter, facebook and other social media forums.

Social anxiety and Shyness will be something that I will struggle with the rest of my life, it's part of what makes Kenny, Kenny I guess.


  1. Dude, I totally sympathize. I have a similar story to you chemistry anxiety attack, but my story ends with a ride in an ambulance.

    It's ok to be who you are. Shyness is nothing to be ashamed of. Embrace it. Accepting it will give you the courage to face those small steps out of your comfort zone, and avoid the ones that end with you losing your eyesight!


  2. These things get better with training, start small and go from there.
    I know, I suffer from the same thing but after years of training I'm now able to speak in front of 100:rds of ppl.
    However, it never goes away completely

  3. I'm definitely not quite as bad but I have a weird habit of writing down conversations so that I can practice saying them before I actually have to. I know it's a strange quirk and thankfully I usually only do it with phone conversations (especially of i have to leaver a voicemail message) but it's something I do. I can usually have normal conversations with people face to face but if they throw something out there that I'm not expecting there's that awkward pause where i asses the question after getting over being flustered by it (this usually occurs most at work)

    Basically, we all have odd little (or big) things that er do that are quirky and unusual but like you said, it's all part of why makes us the person we are. And i like you just the way you are, anxiety induced blindness and all. :-) <3

  4. I'm very much the same way, Kenny. I love your going-around-the-room-with-questions example because I've found myself in very similar situations from elementary school all the way to graduate school. I've figured out how to adapt but I'm still terrified with those situations.

    It's part of the biology that we're dealt, that social anxiety (darn you, genes! lol). We are who we are, in part, because of those tendencies, but also shaped by how we adapt. And it's not a bad thing in the end, because really, why should we apologize for preferring intimate conversations with people we care about and know well instead of random strangers? :)

    I do end up envying those that are able to just walk up to people and initiate random conversations. I'm not that type of person, but that's why I have friends that are that type and will do that instead, heh.

  5. Social anxiety is no fun at all. I'm 62 and I've had it to one degree or the other all me life. A few close friends are really my limit, just as with you. Hang in there!

  6. Wow, I would never have guessed from how many friends you seem to have and how natural of a speaker you sound at KOTG.

    Not a big fan of speaking in public myself (anything more than 4 people), I'm amazed at people like actors that can talk at a convention for thousands of people and be completely natural and funny.

    I'm totally not like that, and would never try to be either. Does shyness have to be something to struggle against? Personally I've come to accept it, it's not like you need to be Mr. Extrovert to have good social interactions.

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments.. they mean a lot to me. :)

  8. Just read this entry now Kenny and I definitely know how you feel if I am talking to people I know then I generally have no problems talking with them but put me in a large group especially a group of strangers and I will be as quiet as a mouse. I too really admire those that can seem to go up to just about anyone and easily start up a conversation. Half the time I don't even know what to say when I am talking to people I have known for years. But what I try to remember is that when you are shy and you look at other people everyone is going seem so much more outgoing as we judge ourselves much harsher in these situations then we judge others. You do an amazing job with the podcast and from the stories I've heard about the conventions you've been to shy or not you always come across as an extremely friendly person that doesn't let it stop you from having fun.