Thursday, December 9, 2010


I'm extremely shy. If you know me you might think this statement is ludicrous. I assure you it is not. Talking to people I don't know scares the pants off me. I have to psyche myself up to make phone calls about anything, insurance, repairs, even ordering things over the phone.

I describe myself as a dichotomy. And it's probably the best word I have ever come across to describe me. I'm extremely shy, and I'm very social. I love interacting with people, friends, loved ones, people I know and know well. But occasionally I get caught in a situation where I want to know the people I'm with better but I really don't know them well now. If I let my shyness rule, I would never get to know them, because, well, people who don't talk to other people don't get to know them or be known. Funny how that works, huh? To compensate for my shyness I try to remove my social filters. The trick is knowing how much filter to remove. It's a fine line between being charming and obnoxious. I rarely strike the balance there, much to my chagrin. Yes, when I try to put my shyness away it usually means I will be just a little bit over the edge into the land of obnoxious, not horrible but there!

My five year old son, Kevin, is just the opposite. Kevin does not have a shy bone in his body, not one. He has never met a stranger. It does not bother him in the least to order food for himself, or have a chat with anyone nearby, anywhere. He can did walk up to a homeless man in a wheelchair, grab the armrests and demand, "What's your name?" and moments later grabbed the poor man's stump and demanded to know how his leg broke off and if it happened today! In this, I recognize myself. Kevin has no social filters. No boundaries. There is no question too personal to ask. There is no subject too delicate to broach. In a five year old that quality can be endearing (to someone who loves and understands children), or it can be hugely annoying. It's not really that far off from my Mrs. Shy-awkwardness-trying-to-be-social-butterfly.

We may be opposites, but my dear son and I must both learn some better social skills!