Thursday, June 21, 2012


Today I had to do a thing.

I had to put on a suit (extremely rare), go to a big, nice office building (even rarer), and talk to a load of people about the charity I work for (thankfully just as rare as the others).

The office I had to go to was that of a big law firm. Me and representatives from eight other charities stood in front of our carefully prepared stands twiddling our thumbs until one of them decided to grace us with their presence for a brief chat.

You know some people really look like they know what they're doing? Really confident in themselves, comfortable, at ease, ready for any question which may be thrown their way? EVERYONE who worked for this firm looked like that.

I do not look like that. I look awkward. I look like I'd rather people didn't talk to me. Partly that is because I would rather people didn't talk to me. Because then I wouldn't have to talk back.

All this is because I'm shy.

Around new people, in situations unfamiliar to me, I am properly, debilitatingly shy.

The thought of having to talk to all these people made my insides go a bit funny and squirmy. Made me sweat from pores I didn't know I had. When one person was talking to me I could feel a bead of sweat running down my cheek. I don't think he noticed, but I expect he did notice how moist my hand was when he shook it. He would have been entirely justified in thinking I had cunningly switched my hand for a freshly caught haddock when he wasn't looking.

I also trip over my words. When I can remember them at all.

Hyper confident solicitor type with perfect hair and immaculate clothing: "Tell me a bit about [charity I work for]"

Me: "Well, erm, yes, we do lots of, erm, stuff. Really good stuff. And then there's some things we do too. Yeeeeeaaaaaah. Would you like a leaflet?"

*hands solicitor leaflet soggy with perspiration*

Oh yes. Love talking to new people. That's me.

So, if I could name one characteristic of my personality which I really, truly hope The Creature doesn't inherit it would be shyness. Yes. There are other traits I'd prefer him not to get, but that's the real deal breaker.

I want my son to be sufficiently confident and outgoing that attending networking events feels like a nice way to spend a couple of hours, rather than a form of torture. To be able to approach a girl he likes and let them know that he does. To not have to spend ages formulating the words he intends to say to new people, only to fluff them up on delivery or be shot down with a quick witted come back.

For anyone who has met me and is thinking "he didn't seem shy", try to recall the first time we met. Was I quiet until I'd had a few drinks? Or did I look like I was choosing my words extremely carefully? Because I assure you, on the inside, I was nervous.

What are the foibles and character traits you don't want to have passed onto your offspring? Or would you be happy if they turned out just like you? How do I stop Cam from inheriting the curse of shy?

Fill my box with comments and I'll get back to you once I've had a drink ;-)

Thanks for reading.


  1. Bless you, my friend. We're all a little bit shy it's just that some people mask it better than others. I've had real issues with my confidence in the past which has made me very indecisive at times but I always try and be worry free / decisive in front of our 5 year old so it doesn't rub off on her.

    I'm reading a great book by Susan Jeffers at the moment called 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' which teaches you to adopt a 'I can handle it' attitude to everything. It's really helping at the mo, highly recommend it. Like I said, everyone gets nervous at some point it's just that some people need more encouragement that others.

    1. Cheers buddy, I'm not sure if I agree about it affecting everyone, some people just seem so comfortable whatever the situation!

      May well check out the book :-)

  2. I'm very similar. I tend to mask my shyness with humour which sometimes makes me look an idiot.

    I think recognising a trait and not wanting to pass it on is most of the battle won.

    Bug's much more comfortable in groups than I am, although she's still wary of strangers and I'm pretty good with that.

    1. I'm okay with groups I know, and can generally cope with individuals I don't, it's when the two mix I'm in trouble!

      Thanks for reading :-)

  3. OMG, I wouldn't want my son to be like me. I wonder if sometimes I need therapy!!

    He already shows my trait of being an observer although he is not shy of approaching others to play either. Shy? I mask mine by asking about the other person. Takes the attention away from myself and normally people are quite happy to talk about themselves :)

    None of us are perfect - we can only work to not pass our weaknesses on.

    1. You come across as very sane on your blog and Twitter, so you're obviously doing something right ;-)

  4. Do you feel that your shyness has been exacerbated by your new role as dad as well? Maybe it depends on how much paternity leave you had?

    I find that the arrival of a baby can so upend the usual mindset that new parents struggle to get back into the spirit of the workplace upon their return.

    1. I can't say I've noticed it being worse, but it was pretty bad anyway! Only had two weeks off though, so no major gap.

      That said, I know what you mean about not getting back into the work mindset.

  5. Awkwardness summed up so eloquently!

    I fear my eldest may be shy. It popped out of nowhere (or should I say it diffidently crept). I wasn't expecting it, because I am not, his dad isn't.

    I think it is because I am lazy at socialising and maybe we don't model good social skills enough. He is great with adults, not so much with his peers. And now at 4,there's the risk of creating more damage with good intentions. I guess I'll just let him get on with it and help if he needs me.

  6. I think shyness is kinda sexy in a fit bloke. I like lanky, geeky types too (I married one). Just saying. Of course I would never say this to your face, on account of me being a bit shy sometimes.

  7. Charlotte (charlie1510)June 22, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    I totally get this! I'm shy but try to cover it up so people just think I'm rude! I'd love my daughter to inherit her Daddy's personality. He's a total extrovert; will talk to anyone and get involved in anything.

  8. I have performed a lot on stage over the years and now work in a job where I constantly meet new people and have to instruct them sometimes 1 on 1, sometimes in groups, by that account you would probably consider me a confident person.
    But I also find it difficult meeting new people and would consider myself shy in that aspect - blushing, tripping over words, sweating, forgetful, clumsy, stomach flipping out - so it's hard to say if I am shy or not, I'm probably just confused!
    I remember the first time had to speak to you I had to ask for a file from 'Lewis, guy in the corner',
    'The quiet guy, wearing....?',
    'yeah him',
    The fact that you were so quiet yourself actually made you very intimidating! I'd would have never known you were shy - just quiet....and scary! : )