ADVICE: It’s OK To Be Shy

Every week, New York City’s own party messiah takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution in his new weekly advice column in The Village Voice. Read the latest edition of Ask Andrew W.K. below or by clicking HERE.

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March 5th, 2014

Dear Party God,

I’m shy. For example, I’ve never been able to ask out a girl on a date. I can’t seem to find out why, but I push girls away. This isn’t just a stupid teenager “forever alone” excuse; I really can’t break this cycle of social anxiety. Please Andrew: help me break out of my shell and stop being shy!

– Awkward Teenage Blues

Dear Awkward Teenage Blues,

For some reason, shyness has gotten a really bad reputation. This is unfortunate. What is negatively defined as “shy” is actually just a different, and often more thoughtful personality. Someone who may be more quiet, or who prefers solitude over constant social stimulation isn’t a lesser person. Society has put far too much pressure on those with so-called “social anxiety” and urged them to believe that something is wrong with their mind, and they should take medications and go to therapy so they can fit in and be comfortable and relaxed all the time. Well, guess what? Being alive is very intense, and for some people who are more sensitive, it’s perfectly acceptable to not be comfortable all the time. The point of life isn’t effortless comfort and a blurry sense of relaxation in all situations, social or otherwise. The anxiety of “social anxiety” comes from society telling us we shouldn’t feel the intensity of life, and the stress we feel often comes from trying “fix” ourselves to fit in.

Even though human beings are social creatures, it’s not necessary for all of us to constantly be surrounded by others, nor is it a sign of a well adjusted or successful person that constantly craves social interaction. In fact, I’m sure we can all think of people who are too outgoing, too social, too not-shy.

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