Being Shy



Dawn Ashley, via Flickr

Are you ever so worried that you cannot speak or do anything around other people? Liz Waid and Colin Lowther discuss this condition - being shy.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Susan Cain was a shy girl. She felt very uncomfortable in social situations. When she met new people she felt her heart beat faster. Like many shy people, Susan did not want other people looking at her. She liked to be quiet and watch other people.

Voice 2 

But when she grew up Susan chose a surprising job. She became a lawyer. This is usually a job for a bold person who likes to talk in front of people – not a shy person like Susan. But Susan Cain thinks that her shyness made her a better lawyer. She told the news organization NPR:

Voice 3 

“At first I had the idea that I would be disadvantaged. You know, that a powerful lawyer had to be very bold. But I quickly found that that was completely not true. There was a very different group of skills that you could bring with you. These would also make you very powerful. You know, like listening carefully to people and asking questions. And building relationships with people. You are not so comfortable in groups? Fine, you can do it alone with one other person. That can be much better.”

Voice 1 

Susan Cain thinks that being shy can be good! She even wrote a book about being shy. Today’s Spotlight is on being shy.

Voice 2 

The Shyness Institute reports that almost half of all people say that they are shy. Social scientists studied young adults in eight countries across the world. They found differences between the countries. In Japan, 57% of people said that they were shy.  The lowest number of shy people was in Israel - only 31%. In most countries, about 40% of the population said that they were shy.

Voice 1 

There are many levels of shyness. For example, some people are not shy when they are with their friends. But when they are in a new social situation, they become afraid.

Voice 2 

For other people, shyness can be a mental problem. In social situations, they become so worried that they cannot speak or act. This can stop people from performing well at work or in society. Dr. Liza Gold of Georgetown University Medical Centre told the news organization NPR about this serious shyness:

Voice 4 

“It is a somewhat common problem. About 15% of the population have a mental condition of extreme social fear. Some have a disorder that makes them very afraid around other people. This is an extremely painful and limiting condition. It may interfere with how someone can work and produce and live.”

Voice 1 

But why are some people shy? Scientists say that it is because of two things: genetic character and life experience.

Voice 2 

Scientists at Harvard University in the United States did a study of two-month-old babies. They saw that the babies behaved differently from one another. Of every five babies, one was very active. This kind of baby was bold and liked to make noise. And one of every five babies was the opposite. This kind of baby was very quiet and sensitive. They did not like loud noise or bright light. These sensitive babies were likely to be shy as older children.

Voice 1 

Experience also affects shyness. Some people become shy because of what has happened to them. For example, children who are overly criticized by their family can become shy.  The Shyness Institute says that children who are shy usually have parents that have fewer friends and fewer family social activities.

Voice 2 

But children with sensitive characters do not only have negative experiences. Good experiences can help sensitive children become more bold. They can even grow up to be adults who are not very shy.

Voice 1 

Many cultures place a high value on being social. And people who are bold can be more successful socially. Shy people may feel that they are not as good as social people. Shy people may feel that they have a disadvantage in their social life and in their work.

Voice 2 

But shyness can be an advantage. Many shy people have good characters and good skills. Shy people are often very good at listening.  They are good friends because they listen more than they talk. Susan Cain is the shy woman who became a lawyer and writer. She explains how researchers have even seen these good qualities in shy children:

Voice 3 

“Children who are shy also show stronger consciences. They are much less likely to cheat or lie - even when they think they cannot be caught. People form their consciences by being sensitive to disapproval. A sensitive child is forming a strong conscience early on. Studies show that these children are much more likely to show sympathy for others. This continues all the way through life. So when you look at these children when they grow up they have good characteristics like sympathy and honesty.”

Voice 1 

But not all shy people are able to show these good characteristics. Professor Tony Kashdan of George Mason University explains to NPR:

Voice 6 

“Some people with extreme shyness might have these good morals. They may be sympathetic or giving or thankful. But we find that these skills are often unused. The reason is that very shy people are so self-focused. They are very worried about making a mistake. They are so focused on whether someone else can see their fear. This makes it difficult to support other people.”

Voice 2 

A shy person may not have a choice about being shy. She becomes shy because of her genetic character and her experience. But, she can learn to use the good skills that many shy people have. In this way she can do something good with her shy character.

Voice 1 

Do you think there are advantages to being shy? What is your experience with shyness? Share your story on our website, or email us at radio@radioenglish.net.

Voice 2 

The writer and producer of this program was Rena Dam. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Being Shy’.

Voice 1 

You can also find us on Facebook - just search for Spotlight Radio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Question:

Do you ever feel shy? Do you think there are advantages to being shy?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Skender
said on January 23, 2012

Being shy I think is not a good thing. But at the same time I think that everyone can fight that ‘illness’. Some people gave different advices about ‘drugs’ which can recover a sick person. Some years ago one of my clasmates was a good singer and a shy person too. Our teacher encouraged her saying: “You must think that this clas is empty and you are alone”. And teacher’s advice did work. My friend today is a mature singer.
And now about myself. When I was a teen I was a little shy. So I was not comfortable to talk with a girl who is my favorite. I liked her, but I never told her because of my shyness.

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Pajarita
said on January 23, 2012

I think be shy is the worst.  In my live, I have lost many opportunities by my shyness, because I felt fear to express my thoughts, ideas, feelings.  Now I have improved my shyness, but, if I had not been shy, I would have a better life in all areas, personal, professional, sentimental, etc.

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kenhieuloilam
said on February 28, 2013

Skills and knowledges are necessary to work and development. We really need knowledges and skills. There are jobs needing boldness. There are jobs needing gentleness. If our characters are bold we will need to be gentle for some jobs. If our characters are gentle we will need to be bold for some jobs. It is good we can complete our jobs well. Our appearances show our graces. Our appearances show our beauties of souls.

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nature187_vn
said on March 01, 2013

I think shyness is one of characteristic of human,and I am a girl,if we have this characterstic it can really lovely,right.For me,shy people diffirent people make mistake after they feel shy.Shy people these are our charateristics when we be borend we had it.And we dont agree what people make something not good and they feel shy,but if they know fix these mistakes,they still can be forgiven…In general,people need have this characterstic,because it will help us recognizing these mistakes and our conscience will show us control these actions better!

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Rain Bows
said on March 01, 2013

I’m kind of shy the first minutes I meet a person.
“Listen more than you talk” I think this is the password to the success in relationships.
This program was very interesting for me.
Lets not forget about this too, related to the phrase I just pointed out: “We are slaves of what we said and owners of what we quieten”.

Greetings,
Sofía Miketta.
Manta-Ecuador.

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HOLOHALA
said on March 18, 2013

This article is proper to my thinking. I had experienced being shyness people. So, In any case of meeting people, I usually be listening than talking. I think that good for me. I can reconize many things when I listenging,

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phoebe.hp.81@gmail.com
said on November 13, 2013

Hi everybody! I am a shy person. ^ ^ And I think when admiting you are a shy person, you are getting a bold person some days!!!!

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nguyenthuy
said on December 13, 2014

I think being shy is not good at all . You cant make a relationship in a easy way . So , you cant have many friends and sometimes you can miss your opportunities . You can be shy in some special situation but you are always shy its not good . Before i was a shy person , now i am not . I understand that being shy make me more alone .Thanks !

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buisang
said on August 06, 2015

In my opinion, the Shyness is not completly good. when i am shy, i won’t lose some chances. i even can’t make many new friends because of shyness. I don’t have many social activities and the other people will hate my shyness, i think so. So, It is difficult for me to find a job in my future. Now, i am improving my shyness and i will be a bold person, so i can meet and talk to with other people in the public. Improving shyness helps everyone feel active and powerful…

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Sona Va
said on September 14, 2015

I can claim that I am not the kind of shy person. I am very confident and bold.

In our country, people sometimes love the shy girl to discover and think this kind is a good girl.
The girl like me is so open-minded and easy to betray. Lol

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karmajims88@gmail.com
said on September 18, 2015

good one!!!!!

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Dela
said on September 19, 2015

Surely, shy people often regard their shyness as a big disadvantage mainly in their social life and in the work too.
However, in some cases, shyness can even become an advantage. I agree with an opinion mentioned in this article that shy, sensitive people mostly have many excellent skills, therefore they should try to také advantage of their good characters!
I believe the family environment including a way of upbringing influence considerably possible developing of children’s shyness and these factors may affect either well or wrong child’s ability to overcome shyness at least partly at older age during life.
Thanks for interesting topic!

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RaminMM
said on September 20, 2015

All of our character is nature and nurture!
If today we are shy because our nature and nurture direct us to being shy!

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hello567
said on January 21, 2016

I’m not shy by nature. As a small child, I was quite bold and social, but with the course of time I became very shy and the social situation are very often difficult for me. Outside my home I feel generally fear arround another people and for example it is very stressful for me to speak in a group. Very often I feel odd and worse than another people. That make me very unhappy and make my life harder, especially striking up a friendship, working or studying. Therefore I see especially disadventages of being shy. I think my shyness is caused by the childhood experience, especially a few situation of aggression by adults and being criticized by family. In my case it’s rather a social phobia than shyness. I am working now on this problem and hope for change for the better

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Carmen Adriana
said on January 23, 2017

I have never felt shy I think I am extremely sociable and friendly.  One of the reason is because all my family members are like that. We had an active social life since we were kids because my father used to play soccer and we had to spend hours waiting for him to finish playing the match and while he was doing it me and my sister played and met some friends.
Another reason can be because my oldest sister is really closed to me and everything we had to do we did together and obviously because we loved to talk each other Even if we were in an unknown place we could find the way to talk with someone no matter the age it did not take a long time to have new friends first we got closer and closer and then we started talking and finally we were the best friends ever. 

But one of the problem of being sociable is you don’t listen at others in the other hand you need people to listen at you. I would love to be a good listener but I can`t the most time I listen the most I get bored and I cannot pretend to paying attention because my mind blows up and immediately my behavior changed.
The advantages of being shy I have thought there are not any , but when I listened the video I realized there are many such us : good listener , excellent friend and reliable person all of the adjective that one person would love to have.

Avatar Spotlight
Carmen Adriana
said on January 23, 2017

I have never felt shy I think I am extremely sociable and friendly.  One of the reason is because all my family members are like that. We had an active social life since we were kids because my father used to play soccer and we had to spend hours waiting for him to finish playing the match and while he was doing it me and my sister played and met some friends.
Another reason can be because my oldest sister is really closed to me and everything we had to do we did together and obviously because we loved to talk each other Even if we were in an unknown place we could find the way to talk with someone no matter the age it did not take a long time to have new friends first we got closer and closer and then we started talking and finally we were the best friends ever. 

But one of the problem of being sociable is you don’t listen at others in the other hand you need people to listen at you. I would love to be a good listener but I can`t the most time I listen the most I get bored and I cannot pretend to paying attention because my mind blows up and immediately my behavior changed.
The advantages of being shy I have thought there are not any , but when I listened the video I realized there are many such us : good listener , excellent friend and reliable person . all of the adjective that one person would love to have.

Avatar Spotlight
ManMN3003
said on January 28, 2017

this video is talking to myself. I’m a shy person. I’m always afraid whenever I speak to people. But I realize that shyness limits me and prevent me from success. I try my best to improve this mental illness. I want to let people hear my idea and learn from other people. Shyness will keep me away these good stuff, so it’s necessary for me to avoid it as soon as possible.
Thank you Spotlight.