I can be quite shy.
There. I said it.
As a child, I’d hide behind my parents’ legs, recoiling in horror at the sight of strangers, and even some of my more distant family members.
But you’re supposed to ‘grow out’ of shyness, aren’t you?
When you’re an adult, you’re supposed to be over it.
With adulthood comes confidence. And with confidence comes the ability to be more sociable with ease.
What if it’s not that easy though? What if this interconnected world, where we’re online 24/7, causes more anxiety in you than others? What if you’re like me and you’re so introverted that social media leaves you feeling drained, depleted, and stressed out in general?
I love Instagram. (On the whole. As long as we don’t talk about the algorithm….)
But it does make me feel overwhelmed sometimes. If you follow me, you’ll notice that I sometimes disappear for a day or two, and sometimes that’s snowballed into weeks, or months away from the app, because it gets harder to face it the longer you’ve been away.
I struggle and panic over what to say when replying to comments. I’ll even mull over replies out loud for minutes before I type them sometimes, for fear of saying the wrong thing and looking like an idiot. Or I’ll even discuss what to say with the person I’m with at the time.
‘”Thanks, haha!” Does that sound alright? Should I put the crying laughing emoji, or is that overkill? Maybe just the simple smiley face, that’s a bit more humble, isn’t it? Am I overthinking this?’
I stress out over captions and whether whatever I choose to say will make me look stupid, or dull, or both. (If I’m really struggling, I’ll just opt for an emoji or two.) I daren’t even check my DMs for large chunks of time, because it’s just more interaction to stress over. (So, I’m sorry if you’re waiting for a reply from me, I’m just an idiot!)
I flap over numbers and whether I put enough personal ‘content’ out there for my Instagram followers to even know or care who I am. Or whether my shyness leads them to think I’m enigmatic (and not in a good way) or even worse: disinterested in them, cold, rude, self-serving, and standoffish.
Because I’m quite a nice person, honestly. It’s just hard to get to know me. And even harder to do so online. We all depict ourselves in a certain way. Especially on Instagram. A polished, edited version of ourselves and our lives that paint us in the best possible light.
When you’re shy, it’s hard to let your kindness show through. It’s hard to let any part of your personality shine through because you just seem… inactive and less a part of the community than others.
It’s hard for A.) anyone to remember you and B.) for you to stand out in any way whatsoever (unless it’s for the misconception that you’re rude and selfish.)
Instead of letting this just be one long ramble, I’d like to offer at least the tiniest nugget of advice for if you’re struggling with shyness and the demands of social media too, even though I haven’t cracked the Insta-code myself yet!
Just take the photos you want to take. Share what you’re comfortable sharing. If you want to be part of the community on there, try it little by little. Be sincere, and don’t spam people with emoji-laden comments; choose to make a heartfelt comment instead. Show your human side. And don’t put too much pressure on yourself to ‘fit in’ and end up beating yourself up because you feel like an outsider. You’ve earned your place there too, so don’t let your shyness or anxieties put you off.
Do you have any tips?