Do people always tell you to smile more, talk more, or be more sociable? The world seems to favor outgoing personalities and label shyness as a weakness but being shy is a personal strength too. And you’re not alone. Being shy is more common than you think. Between 40-60% of adults report feeling shy. While you might focus on the downsides of shyness like the impending doom of mingling with strangers or the horror of playing icebreaker games there are plenty of positive aspects to it as well. Let’s look at 10 wondrous benefits that can make your shyness a powerful tool for success!
#1 Your Modesty Is Very Appealing
Outgoing people love to be the center of attention but if you’re shy, you’re less likely to create conflict or engage in drama. Instead, your shyness makes you a great listener. Quiet contemplation is an excellent trait when holding meaningful conversations. The conversations that shy people engage in tend to be of greater quality than those that more outgoing people have. Instead of spontaneously chatting about the weather or what not, shy people are more likely to ponder for a long time before approaching someone. Even though you might struggle to find an opening to chat among the chatty, when you do have something to say, you appear modest, empathetic, and approachable.
#2 You Cultivate Long Meaningful Friendships
Because you have more meaningful social experiences, you also cultivate more meaningful bonds. Instead of having many superficial connections, shy people are more likely to have fewer, but deeper friendships. It’s easier for you to spend quality time with others in more intimate settings. Plus, your reserved nature and active listening skills help you build ‘strong bonds of trust’ with your friends. Especially since it can be difficult for you to forge new friendships, the ones you have will last for a long time – even a lifetime.
#3 You’re Able To Make Better Decisions
Another trait that goes hand in hand with shyness is thoughtfulness. Often, outgoing people who love being the center of attention are also impulsive. Instead of making rash decisions, you look before you leap. This caution enables you to make well-reasoned decisions and avoid regrets – as long as you make a conscious effort to avoid overthinking – and creating anxieties about problems that aren’t even problems yet. If you can overcome your fears, your instinctual cautiousness will help you analyze a situation, consider every variable, and help you confidently take decisive actions.
#4 Shyness Is Linked To Creativity
Shy people are less likely to engage with the external world – and are more likely to turn inward. By concentrating on your own life, you likely cultivate a rich imagination. With all the thoughts buzzing around in your mind, you need a way to materialize your emotions. That expression comes through creativity. As you develop your creative skills, you may notice that you prefer tasks that require intense inner focus. And shy people tend to pursue these hobbies as careers! They often become artists, writers, actors, inventors, and engineers. Since you’re shy, you likely spend more time honing your creative skills than interpersonal skills. Instead of chatting up the neighbors, you spend countless hours reading, creating, or learning by yourself.
#5 You Tend To Be Altruistic
With shyness also comes a quiet observation about the world. You see people for who they really are – PEOPLE – and you value them. Altruism is the belief in helping others, and shy people tend to be more altruistic, empathetic, and considerate. You care a great deal about how others perceive you – paying close attention to every word you say and every action you take. And this sensitivity to others can be very beneficial when socializing – because people will see you for who YOU really are – a kind person.
#6 You Think Before You Speak
Shy people are more likely to think before they speak. Sometimes that can hold you back in a negative way, but other times it might help you keep the honest truth at bay. Instead of rushing into an answer, a shy person is likely to weigh the pros and cons of a solution – or even a comment – before speaking. Your motivation for this filter might be a fear of embarrassment – and while that’s not the noblest reason, others will still appreciate your calm and thoughtful opinions. This trait is especially valuable in the workplace, and you can help create balance among more spontaneous personalities.
#7 You Are Highly Adaptable
Shy people often prevent themselves from having new experiences and taking opportunities. They feel an urge to avoid overwhelming situations – especially those involving socializing – but sometimes networking events and presentations cannot be avoided. When these challenges present themselves, shy people are incredibly adaptable. Yes, you would rather go home than socialize. But you will do what you have to do. As a shy person, you find ways to adapt to new situations and cope with difficult experiences. You can and will attend that meet and greet, host that holiday party, or go on that first date. Facing these everyday challenges makes you stronger.
#8 You Cope Well On Your Own
Shy people are better able to cope with their problems alone. Everyone needs a good support system, but shy people are more likely to find coping strategies that don’t involve others. They can still handle their problems when friends and family aren’t available for support. This idea of self-support revolves around a shy person’s ability to focus and maintain productivity alone. It means that you don’t always need the approval of others for validation. You can do it yourself. Your shyness enables you to flourish in a solitary environment. You can work independently and succeed on your own – which will help with your personal development, self-esteem, and professional life.
#9 You Excel At Teamwork
Working well with others might not be at the top of your list as a benefit to being shy, but a team full of outgoing, dominant personalities won’t work as well as one with mixed personalities – that also includes shy people. Shyness makes for empathetic listening and understanding. Others are more likely to perceive you as trustworthy – and so, they will be more eager to work with you. You’re also less likely to overreact – due to your sense of balance – making negotiations and conversations run smoothly. From a business perspective, risk-takers and adventurers are useful – but so are the cautious and fearful types. In working together, a team with both personalities can find new ways to do things and protect what you’ve already built. Don’t believe anyone who says that shyness is incompatible with teamwork!
#10 Shyness Is An Evolutionary Advantage
Remember when I said that over half of all people report feeling shy? It’s not an anomaly, and there’s nothing wrong with you. Being shy is an evolutionary advantage. Evolutionary psychologists believe that the fear and avoidance of strangers helped humans protect themselves back when we operated as small tribes and villages. Outsiders were considered a threat, so it was in our best interest to avoid them. But even today, it’s impossible to know someone’s motivations or if they’ll be a good match for you whether you’re looking for a new friend, spouse, or team member. So, it can certainly be beneficial to be a bit more cautious in these scenarios.
When you take the time to think of all the pros and cons of your personality, you’ll see that your perceived ‘negative’ traits actually have a bright side. While you might see your shyness as a barrier to growth, try to see all the ways it has helped you learn and develop who you are. So, what do you think? Do these benefits of shyness apply to you? And, can YOU think of any other benefits of being shy? Tell us in the comments below!