The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “friendship”

Deja vu- The first day all over again

Usually, there is only one first day of school.

For me, however, there were two.

I am taking classes at two different community colleges. I’m doing this so I can get all the classes I want my first semester instead of only having a few options as a new student.

My first day at one of my colleges was great, but how was the first day at my other college going to go?  The butterflies returned at the prospect of having to go through the first day of school all over again.

Soon enough, the time came and I set foot in my first class of my first day at this college, my Career and Life Planning. I was looking forward to it because I think the subject of career choice is fascinating and I’m hoping this class will help me figure out what I want to do. I’ve already done so much research on my own, but I hope I’ll get something helpful out of this class.

I talked to the girl sitting next to me right away, and she was really friendly. In class, an activity started where we had to go around the room and find someone who fits one category on a space, like someone who loves music, or who had a leadership position in school, or who volunteers. It seemed a little silly to me at the time but I know the teacher was just trying to get us all acquainted with each other. I briefly met a majority of my classmates, and even won a candy bar for being one of the first people to turn in my sheet with all the squares filled out with signatures from each person in the class.  Woot!

Next, I headed for my Intro to Sociology class. When I entered through the doors, I saw that every seat in the class was taken. Every seat. I had no choice but to sit on the floor, so I did. Soon others came in and had to stand or find somewhere to sit on the ground as well. The room was packed with people hoping to add her class. The teacher is supposedly one of the best Sociology teachers this college has ever had, and she’s won teacher of the year awards. I was excited at the prospect of getting to learn from her, and was hoping I’d be able to add.

We all waited a little while, but there was no sign of her. But then, the door crashed open and a tall white haired woman charged forcefully down the aisle to the front of the room, yelling for everyone to put away their cell phones, and ranting that if she ever saw one out again she’d kick the person out of the class. Several people looked offended and astounded, or slightly spooked, and I could tell that some people would drop. She continued to say that she would not tolerate any talking once class begun, and anyone who talked while she was talking would be asked to leave. There are no excuses in her class, nothing can be late, and there are no make ups. Her tests consist only of essay questions, because she doesn’t believe in multiple choice tests. There would only be three tests all year, and 3 research papers.

I had read that she tries to scare people away the first day and comes off as really strict and tough, but that she is actually one of the most caring teachers on campus. Her attempt to scare us didn’t work on me, and I happily added my name to the add list when she said anyone who showed up today and wanted to learn she would teach.  I had emailed her before asking to add, and she had first sent back an automatic message that said she had over 100 people requesting to add and that she wasn’t giving out add codes before class.  I wrote back saying that was a ton of people and clearly shows what a sought out teacher she is, and that I was hoping to add but I’d probably have to try again another semester.  I said I was hoping to take her class because I’d heard she was an excellent teacher and I wanted to learn what Sociology was about.  To my surprise, she wrote back saying it was her last semester, and she said to come to the first class and introduce myself and she was sure that I had a pretty good chance of getting in.

I was a little nervous to approach her after the big scary image she had presented of herself, but felt like since I had said I would introduce myself, that I should. After adding my name to the add list, I said, “Hi my name is Brittany, I emailed you over the summer about adding your class, and I said I would introduce myself, so I wanted to be sure and do that.” I held my hand out and we shook hands and she smiled and touched my arm and said she was really glad I made it to her class and was going to add. She asked if I’d gotten the books already and I said that I had, and I was looking forward to her class. It was a nice friendly exchange and probably made a good first impression on her.

Next I had speech class. I started talking to the lady next to me, Heather. On the first day we were given an assignment to interview the person next to us in class, so we ended up interviewing each other and another woman joined our group too since there was an odd number. Heather’s a mom of three teenagers and I learned some miscellaneous facts about her. The following class we would have to introduce our partner to the class, so I tried to find out some things that I thought would be interesting to share.

All in all the first day of this college went well too, though my previous first day was even better in my opinion. It was a good day though and I was glad to be done with both of my first days!

Calling Colorado

I tried calling my friend Brian last Tuesday night to try and catch up with him, but he didn’t answer.  Brian moved to Colorado last summer and I miss him a lot, he’s truly a remarkable guy.  He’s very enthusiastic, funny, and an all around great person.  I’d only called him a few times after he moved though, and felt like I should call him again soon.  I think the last time I’d talked to him was September, so I was nervous about calling and jotted down some ideas of things I could talk about if for some reason my mind went blank.  Yes, admittedly I make those little lists of ideas a lot, and they can be helpful.

The next night the phone rang at 10pm, and I didn’t get to it in time.  I saw that Brian had just called, and I hesitated about calling him back right then.  I wondered if I should just wait until the next day, since I usually try to go to bed at around 10pm.  I knew we’d probably be talking for a while, since the previous phone conversations I’d had with him had lasted 3 hours on average, a time remarkably long for me.

But I decided heck with it (I’m noticing I’m deciding this more often now) and called him back.  I smiled as the phone was ringing, and didn’t feel an ounce of nervousness in me, strangely enough.   (I guess it really does help to press send right away before I can start thinking about what I’m doing too much. )

I heard the phone ringing several times, and I almost thought I might get the message machine, when I heard that familiar enthusiastic tone exclaim “Brittany!”  My smile got even bigger and I said “Hey Brian!”  He said he got my message last night after work at around 1am so he didn’t want to wake me up and call me back then.  He asked me what I had been up to tonight, and I told him I’d gotten back from my psychology class about an hour ago.  I told him that the class was going well and about the two friends I’d made, Patricia and Rose.  I even told him the whole story of how I started conversations with them when it was dead silent.  I made the story humorous and he was laughing at my descriptions of how it was so quiet in the room that I felt conscious of my breathing.

He told me all about how his latest job was going. We also talked about Colorado and his life there.  Being in a different state away from all his friends has actually been a good growing experience for him.

I told him about my choice of community college, and he explained his college journey again to me, which I’d sort of forgotten.  Before he had been encouraging me to go straight to a 4 year school because of the experience, but now he was realizing that in a way he’d been a transfer student himself and he still had a lot of fun.  He said he understands better now and thinks I’m making a good decision.

We also talked about travelling and exploring the world, and we got excited thinking about it.  I told him how I really wanted to travel outside the US and experience a new culture, because I think there’s a lot to be learned from other cultures.

Before I knew it, it was midnight, and we had been talking for 2 hours.  I felt a swollen lump on the side of my throat and my arm was numb from holding the phone up to my ear for so long.  I enjoyed talking to him so much that I didn’t want to stop, but I finally said I had to get going, and that it was really nice talking to him.  He said it was good talking to me too, and we agreed that we should stay in better touch.  We said goodnight, and after I hung up I smiled and realized that I hadn’t even looked at that list I’d written out earlier.  🙂

A pic with Brian two summers ago.

Walking and Talking with Annie

Last Saturday afternoon I hung out with my good friend, Annie.  We spent most of the day walking downtown and talking for hours.  I was opening up to her about one of my experiences from last year that I hadn’t really told anyone else about other than my friend who had been there with me during that time.  I was so fixed in telling my story that I didn’t even notice where I was walking.  I was surprised that I was able to talk about it so openly, when last year I couldn’t have brought myself to discuss it.

I’ve felt really close to her lately and have been daringly open with her about a lot of my opinions and various things.  She in turn has opened up to me about a lot of things that I didn’t know about.  We’re very different personality wise- she’s very extroverted and bubbly, while I’m introverted and reserved.  But we share a lot of the same views and get along wonderfully.

I’m really glad that we’ve gotten so much closer.  At one time we could be confiding in each other and revealing our deepest thoughts, and the next we could be laughing so hard that we can’t breathe.  She’s a really unique person, and I’m really lucky to have her as a friend.

Making the Call

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time with friends, especially on the weekends.  I think the best thing I can do is just say yes to invites and arrange hang outs with friends.  Everything else seems to happen pretty naturally.  I also need to reconnect and catch up with those who I haven’t talked to in a while.

Earlier in the week I decided to call up a friend who I hadn’t talked to in a while to try and arrange to hang out this weekend.  Even though she’s my friend, I still felt a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I was concerned about calling out of the blue and wasn’t clear on my plans for the weekend and what I wanted to do.  I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I do sometimes.

I called her up, and I ended up getting her answering machine after one ring.  All that anxiousness was for nothing, I thought.  I noticed she was online for Facebook, and I could have easily just messaged her there, but I decided to try calling again.  This time the phone rang longer and she answered, explaining that her phone had died and was recharging.  She had a pretty busy weekend, but we found a day where we could meet up.  I had said yes earlier to an event and she was going too, so we decided we’d see each other then.

Email or Facebook is a lot easier for me, but I think it’s better to call people at least every once in a while.  It can be nerve-racking for me, but it’s hardly ever gone as bad as I think it will.

On Friendships and Shyness

“One thing about high school is that you learn who your real friends are.”

That’s what my friend Annie said to me and 2 of our friends at lunch today.

I’ve never had a big group of friends.  At times, I’ve had none. Other times I’ve had one or two.  Now I have about 4 true friends who I’ve really opened up to and can rely on, and a few others that were once close but I’ve sort of lost touch with.  I know a lot of people from being on my school’s tennis team, from joining school clubs, and taking classes.  But it’s hard to find those true friends that will stick with you over the years and that you can have really deep and honest conversations with.

So you may be wondering, what does The Shyness Project have to do with friendship?  Quite a bit, actually.

I’ve read through a ton of books on careers.  And I’ve also done a lot of those exercises that are included in the book to help you find the right career.  I remember one of the exercises was to write about some of your happiest times, and after reading over my response, I realized that a lot of my happiest times were because of friends.  Good friends can boost mood, confidence, and happiness.  And all those things can really help me with confronting my shyness.  The more support that I feel like I have, the more confident I am likely to feel when I’m doing something outside my comfort zone.

As good friends as they are, I have only told my mom about this project.  She was the only one I opened up to about this when we were going on a walk one day before the new year.  I was really nervous to tell her about it, because by telling her I was basically taking the first step to committing myself to follow through with this. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone else though, not even my brothers, dad, or closest of friends.

Why?  Embarrassment, I suppose.  I don’t think anyone else realizes that I have as much anxiety and worries going on in my head as I do.  I think they see me simply as shy and calm (a lot of people think I’m “calm”, if only they spent a day inside my head!).  And I don’t want to tell them otherwise because I don’t want them to look at me differently or to feel sorry for me.  I think it would surprise them that I have a lot of difficulties with basic things like making a phone call or striking up a conversation with someone.  One of my friends, who is the one I’d say I’m the closest with, does basically know how hard these things can be for me.  I don’t think I’ve gone into as much detail with all the negative thoughts and anxiousness though.  I’m just really not comfortable talking about my shyness to friends and even family.  I’m very sensitive about it, and whenever someone says “She’s so shy…” like I’m not even there, I feel ashamed and my eyes start tearing up, even though I usually hide it well so they have no idea.  I’ve had others ask me why I’m so shy, and again I get teary eyed and can usually only manage a smile, even though I don’t feel like smiling much.  I really don’t know what to say to that, so I say something brief or say I don’t know.  Plus my eyes tear up unfailingly every time something like that is brought up, so it’s hard to say much when you’re trying to force back tears without anyone noticing. It makes me feel the worst when someone says something like that after I feel like I’ve done a good job of being outgoing.  It crushes and frustrates me, and makes me feel like my efforts weren’t even noticed.  I don’t know why people have to make comments about others’ shyness/quietness.  Do they realize that it might be something they are sensitive about and would rather not talk about?  Do they do it to make themselves feel better?  I would think that it would be a lot more thoughtful for a person to just try engaging that person in a conversation rather than just pointing out their shyness.

This blog is the most honest public writing I’ve ever done.  Usually this kind of stuff is only seen by me in my private journal.  But now I barely write in there anymore, because I feel like I can open up here.  After telling my mom, the next major step was making this blog and having it be public.  I felt like once I did that, there was no going back.  And thanks to support from the unbelievably kind and supportive bloggers I’ve met so far, I’m more determined to keep going forward.

Jennifer’s House

I went to my friend Jennifer’s house today.  We played Mario Kart, and then Just Dance 2 on the Wii.  It was pretty fun, and actually a really good workout!  It tired me out!  After that we talked casually and caught up a little.  We played with her cat Cosmo too.  Her parents soon came back with sandwiches and they were really good.  While eating we watched a new movie of Wallace and Gromit about a baking murderer who tries to kill Wallace.  It was a cute movie.  After that I talked to her mom a bit about community college, and then Jennifer and I went on a walk around her block just for some fresh air, even though it was pretty chilly.  It was good to hang out with her for a bit again, since we’ve sort of lost touch this year.  I’m going to try and hang out with her more often like we used to.  But other than that the rest of the day has been pretty casual, and school starts up again tomorrow!  I’m not really looking forward to it, but it should go ok.

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