When someone is quiet, it's easy to assume they are shy. But being quiet is different from being shy.
I feel this post needs a disclaimer of some sort.*
Shyness often stems from fear. Shy people may have a desire to interact, but may be too afraid of the result. They might worry about what people will think, and figure it is easier to not say anything than to say something and be judged by others.
“Better to be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
The trouble comes when a person wants to contribute, and is being held back by their own fears. As a result, the shyness can eat at the person, until they have convinced themselves that they can't make a valuable contribution at all.
When Do Shy People Not Feel Shy?
Is there a situation where a shy person doesn't feel shy? An artist may feel shy around a group of people, for example, but what if that group of people is admiring her painting? What if that group doesn't know the artist is among them? In this situation, the artist could feel quiet without feeling shy. Her art has contributed to the world, and (hopefully) her self-esteem increases. As long as the group doesn't find out and draw attention to the artist, she can be quiet without being shy.
(Just one example... of course some artists might still feel shy because they are self-conscious about their art and find it uncomfortable to hear such praise about it.)
A quiet person who is not shy learns a lot about the world by being quiet. They do not feel a need to contribute to the conversation in the same way a shy person does. They are simply listening and observing. Their quiet stems, not from fear, but from curiosity.
“There was an old owl who lived in an oak,
If a shy person and a quiet person are in the same social situation, the difference is that the quiet person would likely notice the shy person, but the shy person might be too consumed with self-doubt and worry to notice the quiet person.
I'm not a doctor or expert in mental health. I'm just a person who has experienced both shyness and quietness. Please do not take any of my opinions as medical advice.
This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Each day in April (except Sundays) bloggers post a new post relating to a letter of the alphabet. You are on Letter Q in my 2021 collection.
About the Title Image
Though the title image is linked to my blog, it was created, like many of the images in my blog, with Canva.com. In other words, I don't know any of the people pictured in that image. But I know the Q badge is copied from the A to Z Blogging Challenge website.
Have you ever felt shy? Have you ever been quiet and people thought you were shy? BTW, I couldn't find who originally said either of my quotes, but if you know, let me know in the comments!
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)