Overcoming shyness

Many of us are shy in certain situations. To be shy can mean being afraid to make mistakes and having a feeling of awkwardness, particularly at social events. Shy people are often quite self-critical and self-conscious and can elevate other peoples abilities and ideas at the expense of their own.

Shyness can range from being a wee bit embarrassed at parties to being permanently shy and feeling like locking one’s self away in a room for long periods. Often admitting shyness is half the battle and learning to live with it becomes relatively easy. With a bit of luck, shyness decreases as people get older and they learn to recognise their particular strengths and individuality.

Patch arrives half way through Tribe IV. He is hesitant and shy early on which makes him seem quite vulnerable to more extroverted characters such as Lex. Patch and Dee slowly develop a relationship. Patch is not confident in relationships and is alarmed that Dee and, at one stage, Siva, are both making eyes at him. Although he seems quite confused, I think he is secretly delighted.

Patch is an extremely intelligent character, as is often the case with shy people. He is quite academic and shows great ability in Science and Medicine. Once the hospital is established, he automatically volunteers himself as ‘Doctor.’ He had already shown his first aid skills in earlier episodes. I detect a growing self-confidence as he establishes himself in this position. Often shy people come out of themselves if they are valued in a particular field.

Shy people tend to be more introverted. They are often happier in small groups than at a huge social gathering They are usually reasonably happy with their own company and the time that they spend alone can certainly pay off in the end. It can mean that they develop to be extremely capable either creatively, scientifically or artistically which sets them up to succeed in a wide variety of occupations.

Surprisingly, many actors are often shy people. They often like a chance to ‘playact’, to lose their own ego temporarily and to take on that of another character. It is sometimes surprising to see otherwise shy people excelling in areas which more extroverted people would never dream of attempting.

Some people who are more extroverted make the mistake of thinking that shy people are a push over. This happens in Tribe IV when Mouse and Sammy try to persuade Patch to let them watch ‘The Game.’ To Mouse and Sammy’s surprise, shyness often makes people even more determined and stubborn.

Patch is overawed by Lex early on and appears diffident around him. Although, Patch is Lex’s intellectual superior, Patch sees Lex as confident and a success. Shy people often compare themselves with other people. They see others are more dynamic or better at something that they believe they are not good at. This constant comparison makes them feel inferior when there is usually no need.

The good news is that often, as shy people get older they are less likely to think that everybody else is better at them. They come to realise that everybody else has hang-ups and insecurities in one form or another. At a party, for instance, there are bound to be lots of other people who are feeling exactly the same as you.

Overcoming shyness

There is probably no quick fix and, in many cases, shy people do not necessarily want to change dramatically. Here are some tips that might make it easier to overcome shyness if you see it as a need.

  • Focus on your positive points.
  • Accept that you are unique and interesting
  • Be a good listener – it will be easier to make friends
  • Look people in the eye when talking to them
  • Use open body language
  • Choose friends with similar interests, it is much easier to talk to these people
  • Smile and be positive when you talk to people
  • When in doubt tell yourself that you have a right to express your opinion
  • Give yourself positive affirmations every day. Every day, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a confident person.
  • I mentioned that some shy people like acting but this is certainly not always the case. When Salene negotiates for the virts to broadcast public service announcements on the City Net, Patch’s name is put forward as a possible presenter. Patch lacks self-confidence in the area of public speaking and immediately shows his aversion to the position. The others realise immediately and suggest that Patch provide technical backup for presenter Dee. This decision utilises Patch’s strengths and is likely to improve his confidence.

    Shy people tend to be choosy about their friends. They have to be careful not to choose acquaintances that are likely to boss them around, although, again it is difficult to generalise – some may not mind this type of personality. Dee and Patch certainly start off with this type of relationship with Dee often telling Patch to “stop bumbling and dithering” and generally being quite bossy.