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17 Nov 2010

Roger Ebert's Journal: November 2010 Archives


16 Nov 2010

I can't even remember what it was like to be 30-something, but I would have to agree with Colin that waiting for the shyness phase to pass is a pipe-dream.  As you get older the genetic imperative to be part of the 'scene' diminishes, and so shyness becomes easier to live with, but it never goes away.  I am not entirely sure if it is me or the rest of humanity that needs professional help.  I take comfort from thinking that probably the majority of humanity are on our side of the fence.  The extroverts are actually in the minority, but they make so much noise that they give the impression of being 'normal'.

I was shy as a youngster and yet I was quite confident.   Now I am less shy but also less confident.  It seems to me my attitude has always been very much dependent on the importance of whomever I was confronting.  If their opinion of me was inconsequential, I could appear very secure.  But if their opinion mattered to me (a girl I fancied, for instance), I would fall to pieces.  A bitter irony.


16 Nov 2010

Just a discussion topic - for the over-35s in the group, what advice would you give your younger selves? I am 40 and have made a little progress in the last 8 years through going to various SA-related meets, but am still very shy and unassertive. Looking back I was the same at age 20 and onwards. So my advice to my 20 year old self would be not to assume that it's just a phase I would grow out of - for things to change for you, you have to change. I wish I had gotten professional help much sooner.


15 Nov 2010

A story for Thanksgiving (or xmas).

It is about a turkey, but a lonesome turkey.


8 Nov 2010

Hi Karen and thanks for replying to my post. I have two friends that I could talk about things to, one my fiancee and one my main male friend. With my fiancee though I worry that if I admit to feeling down she will feel somehow responsible or obliged to fix it, though I haven't put that assumption to the test. I definitely agree with you in principle that being true to your heart is the right way to go, but I find it hard to do in practice ...


31 Oct 2010

I know u wrote this post a while ago so i hope its ok to reply. I was just having a look about the website. U asked about being positive or honest? U should always be true to ur heart and tell somebody how u really feel. If they are a friend then they will listen. It can be hard to share ur feelings with people who arent close friends but sometimes its easier too. Have u found a close friend yet that u can really talk to about anything?


29 Jul 2010

As a shy person who sometimes feels their social skills could be improved, I wonder if others share this issue with me. I realise that no one wants to associate with someone who is continually complaining. I agree with Susan Jeffers' advice to "Talk about all the great things happening in your life ... all the blessings that surround you. Keep your conversations upbeat and filled with appreciation". At the same time I would dearly love a close real-life friend I could meet up and share some deeper feelings with, including loneliness and sadness, at times. It seems like the upbeat chat is putting on an act sometimes, and might only attract fairweather friends, while I realise a deeper friendship has to be established before discussing difficult subjects. So when someone asks how I am doing, should I aim to be Mr Positivity or risk being more open?


2 Jul 2010

Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts about the link between shyness and feeling lonely, either in general or in their own life. I know in my case being shy has made it hard to find friends, and the resulting lack of a social life has left me feeling lonely all too often. There's a couple of resources I'd like to pass on :-

There's an online community for people who suffer from loneliness at

Since there is a big stigma against admitting you feel lonely it's great to have somewhere like this to discuss loneliness issues.

There is also a book I would heartily recommend, you can find out more about it at

It's written by Emily White who I first learned about through the site Psychjourney. If people here want to learn a little about the themes in this wonderful book before they to decide if they want to buy it, can I recommend they scroll down this page:-

There is a very informative interview with Emily that lasts around 41 minutes, I think it would be a good download for pretty much everyone in our group who feels lonely as well as shy. The Amazon link for the book is

(since it's a hardback the price of £12.81 is higher than I'm used to paying, but I'm glad I didn't let this put me off since it was a very good read).

Anyone else prepared to defy the stigma and admit they feel lonely sometimes too?


2 Jul 2010

I thought it would give our group more of a feeling of community if a few of us introduced ourselves to let others know us better. I guess that means I had better go first then, don't worry you can just write a few lines no need for a long blurb like mine :-)

My name is Colin Bell and I'm 40 years old. I live in South Side Glasgow and don't work at the moment due to a disability (bipolar disorder, which came upon me in 2002). I have always been shy but it became quite painful when I went to Stirling University (1987-1991). I had no real friends there and my first 2 years there were very lonely, as I would sit by myself in lectures and the one closest thing I did to socialising was going to karate classes. Things improved when I became an exchange student in my 3rd year, studying at the University of Kansas. I ate with fellow exchange students in the cafeteria every day and this daily conversation practice gave me a bit more confidence. Unfortunately when I got back to 4th year at Stirling, I had no friends again and lost my confidence.

A couple of years after starting work I made three good friends through work and for a few years we would go to an indie club and to concerts, meeting up every weekend. This was really enjoyable for me, although I was still shy around anyone except for these three I felt comfortable with, so for example I never dated for a long time. We eventually drifted apart and my life became basically going to work, going online or watching TV. Once my parents both died in 2001 I became very lonely and depressed, which I believed combined with grief triggered the dormant bipolar disorder. In late 2002 approx I discovered the web site Social Anxiety UK ( which really is a wonderful online community, and eventually I started attending their meets. When a local site called SA Scotland started up in 2003 I went to their meets too, and became more confident through having practice of socialising again. While I still find dealing with shy people much easier than the non-shy, I have really improved a lot. Also in 2003 I travelled a lot (Barcelona, Peru, New York, Buenos Aires) and meeting people there at Spanish language schools was additional social practice and confidence building. Most of all in 2003 I met the women who is now my fiancee, when I felt I had missed my chance and would always live alone. I am a real believer that going to meets with other shy people can really help, so I am hoping this group will lead to me progressing further and also meeting some nice people too.


15 May 2010

Dear All,

I just wanted to share some useful web links If anyone else has found a website they think is helpful please contribute to this thread.

If I could suggest just one link it would be to join the online community at

Even if you think you have shyness rather than SA you will find a lot of the same advice applies.

The Shyness FAQ at answers the following question “What is the difference between shyness & social phobia?" has a good answer to the question “what is social anxiety?”

If you are unsure whether or not you have SA, and to what degree, why not complete the questionnaire - for information purposes only – it does not replace a consultation with a health professional - at

In my own case I haven’t sought the medical diagnosis of social anxiety as I don’t want to think of myself that way, but I have still been helped by reading books about SA. A good place to start reading more is the NHS leaflet on SA at A5.pdf

Once you realise that you have shyness and/or social anxiety you will maybe want to find out more about it and do some web searching. As a starting point for finding out more I would say start with

Friendship Links

People with moderate shyness may find that their anxiety is mild but they have practical difficulties in making friends. On the site AskMetafilter I found some good questions and answers about this subject:

“Help me learn to make friends when I don't feel like I deserve any.”

“How can an awkward guy make friends?”

“I don’t have any friends.”

“Making friends in a new neighbourhood.”

“What are the little things I should do to deepen relationships from the good acquaintance level to true friend level? Why did your best friends become your best friends?”

I have found AskMetafilter a good site to get advice from others and benefit from collective opinions, so if you have questions of your own you’d like to get other people’s ideas about, I recommend you join at

Shyness and Social Anxiety Links

A self-help guide to shyness and social phobia produced by the NHS in Scotland. It’s several pages long but well worth printing out:

Shy United – A message board and discussion forum specifically for shy people. Lots of members from all over the world, but mostly the US, UK and Canada. A few Scots too but not that many.



Happy surfing everyone!

P.S. Also check out Colin's own site at - Donald C


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