Hippo Manchester
September 29, 2005

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Shy Girl

Dear Sherry,

This is probably a boring letter for you, but I suffer from an intense shyness around people I donít know. I canít even get a hello out of my mouth sometimes and I am often perceived as snobbish or stuck up. Iíve tried everything to overcome this ó it feels as if there is a chemistry change in my body or some such thing ó and I canít control it. Needless to say, my social life isnít very successful. I have a few friends and am close to my family but no boyfriends.

My brotherís wife thinks I should try medication and therapy. She says that if this is something that I suffer from, I should seek help. I think some people are just naturally shy and Iím one of them. I donít want to change who I am, I just want to have more of a life.

ó Shy girl 

Dear Shy girl,

Iíve read that there are some medications currently on the market that help reduce shyness and ease the fears of the extremely shy. I suspect, but donít know for sure, that extreme anxiety is the key. And medication doesnít change who you are, it changes (or can change) the way you deal with stressors in your life ó some that you might not even be aware of. It can also balance out anxiety.

Iím not going to advocate therapy unless itís really something you can embrace. Otherwise, itís just a waste of time and money.

The question you want to ask yourself is: Are you happy? If you are, then tell the naysayers to mind their own beeswax. If you arenít happy, what are you willing to do to change that? Make a list. What actions on that list can you wrap your brain around? How far are you willing to go to pursue that goal?

There is nothing wrong with being shy unless it really challenges the way you live your life. If itís a contentious situation most of the time, you should think long and hard about changing it.

P.S. No letters bore me.

Sherry Hughes can be reached via e-mail at sah103@hotmail.com.