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I knew my daughter was going to be shy almost as soon as she was born. She cried whenever anyone that wasn’t me or my husband picked her up, and her happy gurgles ceased as soon as a new person entered the room.
As she grew, I noticed other tell-tale signs. She wasn’t comfortable meeting new people, and would often hide behind me during social situations. She never smiled at people she didn’t know.
I recognized my daughter’s shyness because I’m a shy person myself. I was pretty much the same way when I was a little girl. Even after having 2 boisterous boys, it didn’t surprise me at all that my daughter turned out to be shy. Like mother, like daughter.
When I was growing up, I had trouble handling social situations. I hardly spoke to anyone at school, and it was difficult for me to make new friends. I was always much more comfortable doing things on my own.
Often, people don’t realize how stressing social situations can be for a shy person. Once, a classmate handed me a birthday invitation. I thought that if I showed it to my parents, they would insist on making me go to the party, so I hid the invitation in my backpack until the date passed.
If she’d rather sit in her room and read a book instead of going to a party, I’m not going to worry.
When I was a little girl, I would much rather sit in my room reading a book than go to a party with other kids. That’s how shy I was.
Of course, even though she’s shy, my daughter is different from me. She likes to be around other children and smiles at them, although it takes her awhile before she feels comfortable enough to talk to them. But adults are another story. It took her almost 2 months before she was comfortable enough to talk to her her teacher.
Several well-intentioned people have offered their advice, but I’m not worried about my daughter at all. I know she’ll be fine. I know I turned out just fine.
I was once the little girl that was afraid to talk to other people, but I grew up to become an English-language teacher to high-school and college students. I’ve also given lectures for adult students and peers, and I’ve even performed onstage.
However, the social awkwardness is still there. I don’t have many friends, and navigating the waters of social interaction is still difficult for me. I’m aware that people sometimes interpret my shyness as hostility, but it’s not easy for me to appear open and friendly. Let’s just say I’m a firm believer in second impressions.
I know perhaps my daughter might have the same problems, or perhaps she’ll acquire social confidence early on. I know there’s plenty I can do in this respect, so I’m determined to raise her to be a confident woman.
Often, people don’t realize how stressing social situations can be for a shy person.
My parents didn’t treat my shyness as a problem. When I was growing up, they got repeated requests from my teachers to seek therapy for my extreme shyness, but my parents flatly refused. They were sure I would grow out of my shell sooner or later.
Their confidence in me made me more confident in turn. I slowly grew out of my shell, or at least I learned enough social skills to function normally. Being shy certainly hasn’t kept me from having a career or a happy marriage. Shyness hasn’t been detrimental to my life at all.
I would even say that being shy and introverted has helped me stand out. My social awkwardness has kept me from having urge to belong to a group and has brought out my other qualities. My insistence on always doing my own thing instead of following the crowd has attracted quite a few followers. Being shy isn’t bad at all.
I’m sure my daughter will eventually find her place in the world. If she’s shy and introverted, I’m not going to try to change her. If she’d rather sit in her room and read a book instead of going to a party, I’m not going to worry. I completely understand.
I always tell my daughter she’s smart, strong, and beautiful. Even though she’s just starting school, I can already see she’d rather do her own thing instead of following other kids. She might be a little socially awkward, but I’m sure there are great things in store for her. I’m very proud of who she’s starting to become.
My daughter is shy, and I think that’s amazing.
Fabiola Rodriguez, WAHM of three, blogger, freelance writer, ESL teacher, and translator, on a health and fitness journey, living in Mexico and hoping to inspire change in others. For more of her writing, check out her Medium page and personal blog.