The Quiet Kind of Shy

Did you know that anxiety and fear can manifest all kinds of different ways?

For a lot of people, they recognize both as submissive actions.
A shy person is quiet.
A socially anxious person withdraws from social situations.
An un-socialized dog cowers…. but…

If you corner a scared animal it becomes very dangerous. If you’ve ever watched an animal rescue show, you’ll know this. There’s a reason they take so many precautions when they rescue animals. There’s a reason that they approach scared dogs so slowly on Pitbulls & Parolees. Cornered animals lash out with wanton abandon in the hopes of doing any amount of damage that will let them escape. They don’t plan. They don’t concern themselves with potential harm. They just blindly attack and hope for the best, even if that means just being able to crawl off and slowly die in peace from their injuries.

I am not the quiet kind of shy. I’m not the socially anxious person that withdraws from social situations. No, my anxiety manifests in an attack. Instead of clamming up, I have a tendency to say everything that enters my head. Instead of withdrawing, I throw myself into the center of the conversation and assert myself. I hear it’s very off-putting. I come off as very narcissistic, a little pretentious, and a lot condescending. As a result, I’m the friend that people warn new people about.

The thing about being the know-it-all with an aggressive personality is that people don’t really tend to care what you have to say. They become accustomed to you as background noise, and they learn to talk over you because you’re talking ALL THE TIME. It’s a logical progression. The problem is, that I’m not talking out of my ass because I’m actually narcissistic or even actually have an aggressive personality. I’m talking all the time because I never manage to actually get comfortable with people. By the time I get to a point where I don’t ramble off everything I know in a whole conversation, they’ve learned to talk over me. When they talk over me, I interpret that as them being bored or angry with me, and then I start rambling because I become very uncomfortable.  The cycle continues. Forever.

It happens all the time. It’s why I’m not great with friends and social interactions… and I can often see people becoming visibly bored of listening to me… at which point I do the most awkward thing I can think of: cut the conversation off wherever it is with some excuse to run away and find a place to hide. So on top of having an aggressive know-it-all personality, I come off as very rude when I suddenly run away from you.
If you throw alcohol into this mix, I end up screaming at people instead of running away from them… especially if they’re doing that thing where they’re crying about something irrationally and won’t just listen to and accept the reassurance that I’m offering them. I get really frustrated with unchecked emotions in a social setting…

Being this person is shitty. No one really likes aggressive people. No one really likes people that talk all the time. No one likes a know-it-all.

After yesterday I’ve decided to actively try to stop talking. What was so terrible about yesterday? After a number of people were visibly bored by me, I went to dinner with my mom. Of all the people in the world, my mom is the least able to hide her emotions. She’s also the person I crave approval from the most, since she’s the only family or consistent social interaction I have. I pretty much just ended up annoying her with small talk. She all but ran away from me when we got home. She does that to a coworker we have that talks to fill the void. So… that hurt….

The problem with my shutting up is that if I am the quiet kind of shy, I am invisible. Some quiet people are quite noticeable. They’re visually interesting, or they really open to people after they get to know them, so then people want to tell new people about all these interesting things this quiet person thinks, says, or does. I don’t have friends to do that. If I clam up around my friends, who I am socially awkward with, they don’t even really notice I’m there. With strangers, I can be in the center of a room and if I don’t make an effort to talk to someone no one even sees me. It’s like being invisible, but without all the perks of ACTUALLY being invisible. It’s more like being furniture… just in the way, and if it moves it’s a little jarring…

Obviously, the logical answer to this is to just mellow out the know-it-all. Like, it’s a gift that I can just talk to strangers with this fake confidence… I just need to be less aggressive about it. But I don’t know how to DO that…

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