About 40 percent of Americans think of themselves as shy, while only 20 percent say they have never suffered from shyness at some point in their lives. Shyness occurs when a person’s apprehensions are so great that they 1his making an expected or desired social response.2of shyness can be as minor as3to make eye contact when speaking to someone,4as major as avoiding conversations whenever possible.
“Shy people tend to be too5with themselves,” said Jonathan Cheek, a psychologist, who is one of those at the forefront of current research on the topic. “6, for a smooth conversation, you need to pay attention to the other person’s cues7he is saying and doing. But the shy person is full of8about how he seems to the other person, and so he often9cues he should pick up. The result is an awkward lag in the conversation. Shy people need to stop focusing on10and switch their attention to the other person.” 11, shy people by and large have12social abilities than they think they do.13Dr. Cheek videotaped shy people talking to14, and then had raters evaluate how socially skilled the people were, he found that, in the15of other people, the shy group had few16problems. But when he asked the shy people themselves17they had done, they were unanimous in saying that they had been social flops.
“Shy people are their own18critics,” Dr. Cheek said.19 he added, shy people feel they are being judged more20 than they actually are, and overestimate how obvious their social anxiety is to others.