Dear V: Shed the shyness as a defense mechanism

Dear V,

I’m really excited about the new school year starting. I’m even more excited because I met a guy I like at the end of last semester and now I finally get to see him again. I haven’t met that many decent guys recently, so it is very rare that I did find someone that catches my eye. The problem is that I don’t know if I catch his eye too. I’m not very experienced in the whole romance department. In fact, I get extremely shy when it comes to guys, especially ones I’m interested in. What should I do?

-Shy Girl


Dear Shy Girl,

It’s time for school again and even after 12+ years, that feeling of excitement of an upcoming year never gets old. And do you know why? It’s the very reason you’re describing: the hope of what could be. We are who we are, but in the choices we make, we narrate the story of our college experience. Therein lays the beauty of ‘Back to School.’

You know you are shy, but what you don’t know is that it doesn’t really matter. Sure, being shy makes it just a little bit harder for us to open up the way we know we should, but it’s no excuse to miss out on good opportunities. Trust me, I know what it’s like to be the ‘shy girl,’ but I also know what it’s like to overcome that and just be myself without the burden of the shy stigma.

Think about: being shy is a defense mechanism for what? Keeping yourself from feeling uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations with unfamiliar people? You may avoid that uncomfortable feeling for the moment, but you will remain unfamiliar with the person and thereby perpetuate the shyness. Next time you are around a guy, even one who interests you, try to get to know him by letting him know how awesome you are. You know you’re fun to be with, why not let him see that for himself? This way, you will be able to gain confidence and realize how easy and how great it is to meet new people.

The worst thing you can try to do is change yourself in the vision of what you believe to be what someone else wants. Really, who wants to put on a charade 24/7 that will inevitably end badly precisely because this is real life and a charade is not? Exactly. You know who you are and you know what you need to do to be loved for being yourself.