The Shy Guy

First of all, I'm trying to avoid the words introvert and social anxiety here since I feel like they have been overused and lost their true meaning (not saying that everyone's lying about being introverted or having anxiety, I'm in no position to judge).

Right, so I've always been shy. Everyone said so. My mom, my kindergartners, myself. Do you remember as a kid when your mom used to say: "What do you say?" (trying to get you to say 'Thank you'), whenever someone gave you something? My answer'd be so very quiet that you couldn't possibly hear it. Bees buzz louder. I kept hidden behind my mom and never ever had I dared to look anyone in the eye. I still don't really look into other people's faces when talking to them. That's why I'm so awfully bad at remembering faces. I couldn't even describe my friends' faces to anyone. Although I've known most of my friends for at least nine years now.
Somehow I still managed to obtain a rather large group of friends. Not that I've ever started a conversation with anyone.

Whenever I spend a lot of time online (especially YouTube) I feel like everyone's like that. Cause every one on YouTube seems to be equally as shy and introverted (there, I said it) as me. Makes me feel less awkward really.
But every now and then I'm reminded of just how awkwardly shy I can be. Every time I interact with people irl to be exact. Cause most of my friends don't even seem to know that there's such a thing as social anxiety (said that too now... oh well) - I don't blame 'em though. Some of them are more open towards people than others but all in all they don't seem to ever not do something because they're too scared of having to interact with people.
So, whenever I don't feel like going to a party because I know there'll be lots of people I don't know I don't just tell my friends that. Rather I say stuff like: "I have to be up early the next morning" or "I have no way of coming home afterwards" (which is a real struggle sometimes, cause cabs ain't safe for weak females either). I'm pretty sure they don't always believe those lies (especially now cause some of them are reading these posts lol) but they never question them either. Which in return makes me feel like they feel like I don't wanna hang out with them. Which is not the case at all. My friends aren't the problem, everyone else is (including myself I guess).
Sometimes it can be really frustrating worrying about your friends thinking you don't like 'em just because you're too shy to talk to folks. But of course I wouldn't talk to them about that either, 'coz I don't like talking about feelings and shit. I often think about talking about my emotions but when it comes to saying it out loud some voice inside my head goes: "Mhh, better not", as if it could hurt me in some way. If I should ever accidentally find myself in a relationship I sure won't be the first to say those three magical words.

Me being shy gets in the way of lots of things even as small as making a phone call to get a doctor's appointment. If there's an option to solve a problem with my phone company through mail I'll do it. I'll even fill out those stupid forms to avoid actually having to talk to someone. Whenever I do manage to make a call I feel immensely proud of myself afterwards. How stupid is that?
I also waited months to get my nose pierced not so much because I was scared of the actual process but more because I didn't want to go there on my own having to talk to the piercer. Being with a friend always makes me way more confident. Especially shy friends, funnily enough. Cause then I feel like I have to save the day by asking for directions or some nonsense like that.

A few months back I was invited to my friend's birthday party. Apart from said friend and one other person I didn't really know anyone there. There were a few people I knew but never talked to before, the rest were complete strangers. Unfortunately, my two friends knew everyone (duh) and so they were always off talking to other people (duh, that's what you're supposed to do at a party). In the beginning I tried to stick to the people I've at least seen before but they seemed to feel like they were the unfortunate ones that had to talk to the outsider no one else knew. Nevermind, I thought, let's just make some new friends. Well, the others weren't too keen on talking to me either, probably because I acted like the whole concept of talking to people was completely new to me. And it kinda was, because like I said, I don't just start a conversation with strangers. That's some self-defense mode right there!
Anyways, I eventually sat in some corner, pulled my phone out and pretended to be very busy texting all my many friends that really exist and just happened to be somewhere else at that moment. Another guy was sitting nearby doing the exact same thing and we looked at each other and shared a little moment between shy people but of course we didn't start talking cause we were too frickin' shy! Goddamnit.

Similiar thing happened to me in Chile (I know what you're thinking: "Oh gosh, not that again! We get it now, you were on a life-changing journey... blah blah blah..." You're absolutely right but I don't give a fuck!) I can't generalize it of course, but the Chileans I met seemed to be quite outgoing. By which I mean they don't have any trouble talking to strangers and making new friends. I mean, they greet each other with kisses on the cheek, you can't be shy growing up like that. So, whenever I'd meet new people there they seemed to be a bit fascinated by how little I talked. Sure, there was also the factor that I don't speak Spanish but I could've talked to them in English. It's just that most of the time I decided not to. Nonetheless - outgoing as they are - they asked me lots of questions and I was eventually able to have a proper conversation going on.

This year I had to make lots of difficult decisions. I used to say that I wanted to take a gap year to travel the world and work. At one point I even wanted to be an au-pair. But when it came to actually planning and executing those things I panicked. Working meant going to places asking for a job and enduring job interviews and then socializing with co-workers and clients... no way I'd do any of that. But: no work, no money, no travels. Or at least not as many. Becoming an au-pair is even worse. Travelling halfway across the world to move in with a family you don't know for six months or so? Hell no. No, thanks. Not for me.
So, starting studies it was. But that's not that easy either. Universities were never an option. Too many people and most put you through interviews as well. Hochschule then. Where though? Berlin sounds nice, sure, but apart from being super expensive that means moving to another city where I know absolutely no one. I'd rather not then. I applied for one near my hometown and the instituion is actually my first choice cause it just got renovated and looks frickin' cool and everyone seems nice there and it's very small which means less people thinking I must have crawled out of a cave the other day and never seen humans before.
Right now I'm thinking about doing some voluntary work abroad but again that means flying to another (not so safe) country and living with complete strangers (+ them having a whole other cultural background than me). I really wanna do it but I'm also really scared but I also don't want my shyness to be in the way of some amazing things I could be doing.

Yeah, those are just some of the thoughts wandering around inside my head right now.

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