Monday, September 08, 2003

The shy ones

I read this journal entry at about "how a woman can tell when a man is staring at her chest" (via makeoutcity). It made me think about how funny it is that guys who are simply too shy to look women (or anyone) in the eye when talking to them would probably give the impression of ogling, whether they actually were or not. And that reminded me of how shyness can be misinterpreted as other things.

For instance, a while ago several women I know told me about a certain man they had just met, and they described him as "creepy," "strange," etc. Some of them seemed extremely anxious about him to the point of being scared and saying that they "wondered if they should call the cops" or something like that. They also said that he wouldn't give them a straight answer about anything.

I went and met this guy and observed his behavior. I quickly concluded that he was just very shy. He stared at the floor instead of making eye contact. He glanced around. He did answer questions awkwardly, but I think he was flustered about being around so many people he didn't know. Nothing about this guy seemed the least bit threatening, except maybe that he was of above-average height.

I think that shy people must have a hard time, because not only are they shy, but other people aren't good at recognizing shyness, and can interpret it as being all sorts of even less desirable things. Shyness can come across as being unfriendly, aloof, stuck-up, creepy, insincere, etc.

Actually, I tend to have the opposite bias. I am automatically suspicious of people who are too "smooth" because I figure that they must be manipulative. This is also not necessarily true though. Just another distortion for the collection.

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