How Being Shy Could Make Some People Seem Mean at First Glance
Shy people can be introverts or extroverts, but no matter what they are, they tend to be misunderstood as arrogant. They’re especially likely to be judged negatively if they’re also attractive, says Bernie Carducci, a psychologist at Indiana University.
We at Bright Side are taking a look at the reasons why our shyness can make people think we’re aloof and are sharing the stories of people who are in the same boat.
Being bashful can make us appear like snobs.
If we feel shy, we tend not to talk much. But when we’re quiet, it’s hard for people to know what we think. There’s even a phrase: “It’s the quiet ones you have to watch,” as if we’re quiet because we’re hiding something. Some people who are more outgoing have mentioned that they find quiet people intimidating because they think they’re unpredictable.
Being socially anxious can affect our body language as well, which can give off the impression of being stuck up. And it doesn’t help if you have naturally “unfriendly” facial features. It’s even worse if you’re also an introvert, which means you need time to be on your own or you’ll burn out. Choosing not to hang out with others can make you seem standoffish.
Usually, when we do something that people don’t expect or don’t do something that people do expect, they feel the need to make up a reason for it. So when we act differently around them than when we’re with people we’re close to, they might feel as if we think they’re not good enough for us. In our eyes, we’re just being nervous, but in their eyes, we’re being mean for acting like we’re “too good” for them.
It happens to a lot of us.
In high school, a popular girl said to me, “Wow I thought you were cold, but you’re actually really sweet.” I was the most innocent shy dork, I just wore a lot of black eyeshadow. — TheLadyButtPimple/reddit
The first thing a coworker said to me, about 4 months into working together, was, “Why are you so mean?” Like, I don’t even talk, how am I mean? — wish-i-was-a-dalek/reddit
I’m shy and I have a facial tick that makes it look like I’m raising my eyebrows or rolling my eyes at people. I get a lot of: “I thought you were arrogant but then I just realized there’s probably something wrong with you.” — rabbitwarriorreturns/reddit
I get told they thought I hated them. I really have no idea what I do to make them perceive that. I always try my hardest to be welcoming, work on my tone of voice, and ask people questions about themselves. I’m just not a very smiley person, so I guess it probably has to do with that body language. — goldbricker83/reddit
Even celebrities face the same problem.
Zendaya opened up about still trying to overcome her childhood shyness, especially as an actress. Her stylist once mentioned to her that she comes off kind of cold and that people think she’s mean because she doesn’t talk. But the truth is that she was just too nervous.
Rihanna said that the biggest misconception about her is that people don’t know she’s shy. She admitted that she kind of pretends that it’s not happening so people think she’s confident. But actually, she’s so shy that she doesn’t want people to know that she’s shy.
Zayn Malik confessed that he’s not a very outgoing social person. Even though he has a bad boy reputation, he’s really an introvert who battles with anxiety. He doesn’t mind being described as “misunderstood.”
People always tell Bella Hadid that she seems mean or intimidating on social media and that she’s so different than what they expected. She said that she loves engaging with new people and only feels uncomfortable in front of the camera.
But there are ways to avoid being misunderstood.
Since being reserved could make us appear like ice queens and kings, perhaps we could try to sound modest by complimenting other people or steering the conversation to focus on people who like to talk instead. Whenever speaking is hard, you can try to talk with your face and body by smiling, nodding, shrugging, etc. However, if some people still misunderstand you despite all this extra effort, maybe it’s time to move on. Sometimes it’s better to be seen as arrogant than to be someone you’re not.
Have you ever had anyone tell you that you seem cold? What did you do to make others understand you better?
From selling clothes on the streets of Barbados to becoming a nine-time Grammy winner, Rihanna’s life is a testament to resilience and hard work. Born into a modest family, the singer had a challenging upbringing but never let adversity deter her. Her musical talent was discovered at 15, and she quickly rose to global stardom. Now a billionaire focusing on her business ventures and motherhood, Rihanna is planning a musical comeback.