Stop Being Shy and Quiet – Is Shyness Genetic? These New Scientific Facts Reveal the Answer
If you have been shy all your life, then it is easy to believe that shyness could be genetic. For example, I used to be shy as far back as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of hiding behind my mother’s leg when guests came over to visit. That’s how shy I was!
But then there are other cases. Many people find that they were never shy as a child, but as they become teenagers or adolescents, they start becoming more withdrawn and introverted. Some people may see this happening and say it’s a “phase” they’re going through, but often these changes stay with someone even as they become an adult.
So what’s the answer? Is shyness genetic or a personality trait or something else altogether? Many people think that shyness is just something someone is born with, like their eye color or height. However, new scientific evidence proves otherwise.
What scientists and psychologists have discovered is that shyness is not genetic in the sense that it is engrained into your genes. If a scientist were to look into your DNA, they would not find a “shy gene” that makes you the way you are. So shyness is not genetic in the way most people would assume.
However, scientists have also found that your genes may have had a role to play in causing your shyness. Some people may have a certain gene that makes it easier for them to eventually become shy. The catch is, they only become shy when their gene is combined with a variety of other environmental factors.
Let me explain this in more detail. Whenever someone asks a question about the cause of their shyness, it’s always tricky to answer. The reason why is that shyness does not have one single cause like many diseases would. Shyness is multi-determined, which means that several different factors must work together to cause it in a given person.
Some of the factors in causing shyness are genetic, they are things you are born with. Other factors are environmental, for example: what your parents were like, your early childhood experiences, the culture you grew up in, etc.
Although some people may be more likely to become shy because of a part of their genes, this does not mean that they will become shy for sure. It also means that someone without the “shyness causing gene” may also become shy if put into the right environment.
Although genetic factors do come into play when causing shyness, it doesn’t mean that shyness is a part of your genes like most people would assume. Your shyness is not permanent and can be overcome regardless of your biology.
Stop Being Shy and Quiet – Why Am I Shy? The 3 Surprising Reasons…
Here are the 3 biggest reasons:
1. You NEED something from the other person, usually acceptance/approval.
Here’s an easy question: Who is more nervous usually — a job interviewer or the interviewee?
The person being interviewed is much more nervous usually.
Well, if they feel like they need the job, then they will be trying to create a good impression on the other person to get it. This naturally creates a type of performance anxiety which is why most people are nervous before job interviews.
Similarly, shy people have such a strong need for the acceptance, approval and validation of other people that they often feel like a person being interviewed for a job. In social situations they may sweat nervously, try to only say very interesting things that will impress the other person, and they are relieved to get away.
Let’s go back to the job interview example…
When a person doesn’t NEED the job, they will usually not feel so nervous. For example, if the job is easy to replace like a minimum wage fast food job. Or if the person already has a job that is almost as good as the one he’s being interviewed for. Or if he’s very well qualified for this type of job and has 12 similar interviews scheduled already. The person still WANTS the job, but they don’t desperately NEED it.
Shy people become tense, censor what they say and are afraid to speak up… because they have a desperate NEED to be liked, accepted and validated by other people. This is usually called “caring too much what other people think.”
When you don’t NEED people to like you, then you will naturally be more relaxed, open and at ease with them. Ironically, this increases the chances that they will actually like you.
So what causes this hole of neediness for the approval of other people?
There’s many possible causes that I don’t have time to explain now, but here’s one example:
A confident kid switches schools and they suddenly find themselves in a new environment without any of their old friends. Suddenly they feel needy to make people like them so they can make some new friends. This leads to shyness that sometimes sticks into adulthood. I hear this story surprisingly often.
Or perhaps a kid is bullied by people at their school, which makes them feel alone and friendless. This also leads to being needy for the acceptance of others which manifests as shy behavior.
2. You believe the other person is higher value than you.
If you feel like someone else is “higher value” than you, then you will start to shy, quiet, nervous or awkward around them. For example, if you’re a guy this may happen around very attractive women. If you’re a girl, it may happen around guys you like or have a crush on. It’s likely to happen around authority figures like a boss, teacher, etc.
Now think about the people who you feel little or no shyness around. Maybe they’re unattractive or weird. Maybe they’re even more shy or insecure than you. Maybe they’re even less popular. Maybe they’re younger than you or very old. These are the people that you secretly feel are equal or “lower value” than you. Around them you probably act a lot more confident and expressive, and you don’t feel nearly as self-conscious or unsure of what to say.
So pay attention around WHO you act more shy around to see who you secretly value. Your actions will reveal your unconscious belief system to you.
Usually a high value person can GIVE you something. Maybe it’s your boss who can give you his approval or a raise. Maybe it’s someone you find attractive who could possibly give you a relationship or sex. Maybe it’s a popular or well-connected person who could increase your social circle or reputation or “coolness.”
A low value person can’t really “give” you much, which is why you don’t feel as shy with them.
The only 2 real solutions to this problem are:
Increase how much you value yourself. (I call this your self-esteem.)
Or knock other people off the pedestal. (Most shy people feel inferior and assume that everyone else has a much more interesting, cool and active life than the average person actually does.)
3. You feel uncomfortable with yourself.
Shyness and insecurity, the two seem to always go together. Feeling insecure about yourself will make you avoid attention & connection because you don’t want people to see the thing you are insecure or uncomfortable about.
For years I was extremely insecure about my slightly crooked front teeth. Many shy people have insecurities about their physical appearance and believe they are ugly. (Usually they pick one small bad thing about their appearance and then obsess over it non-stop as if this is the ONE thing everybody else will notice and remember about them.)
Let me tell you, I’ve been there. It’s a miserable place to be, insecurity eats away at your confidence until you have none left. But there are also other types of insecurities:
Some shy people feel like they are simply dull, boring and uninteresting.
Or they feel stupid because of their awkward conversation skills.
Or they are losers with no friends and an unattractive lifestyle.
These can all make you feel like other people wouldn’t accept you if they TRULY knew you. So you hide your true self. Maybe you try to be the type of person you think others want you to be. Maybe you never share your REAL thoughts, interests, passions or hobbies with people.
Being uncomfortable with yourself makes you scared to share yourself with people or form deeper connections. And telling someone to “be yourself” or “just be happy with who you are” is easier said than done.
Shyness can stop you from living life fully. Whether you want a girlfriend, a better social life, more confidence at work, etc… shyness can freeze you.
The biggest thing you need to remember from this article is that shyness is NOT a permanent personality trait. YOU are not shy, you just become shy in some situations depending on where you are and who you’re with.
So WHY do you become shy sometimes?
It may happen when you NEED the other person’s acceptance or approval, similar to how a job interviewee becomes nervous when they NEED the job.
Or it may have to do with how much you value the other person compared to yourself. If you value the other person a lot (maybe because they’re very attractive) or you don’t value yourself much (low self-esteem)… then you will become shy, quiet or awkward.
The last reason is when you feel uncomfortable with yourself. When you feel insecure about your appearance, personality or lifestyle… then you will shy away from attention because you don’t want other people to notice the secret thing you feel ashamed about.
Watch this video – 8 Proven Ways to Stop Being Shy And Quiet
By Sean W Cooper, the author of The Shyness and Social Anxiety System, is an ex-sufferer from social anxiety and shyness. This program is a compilation of his research and effort in overcoming shyness and anxiety.
Sean W Cooper’s Shyness and Anxiety system is a step by step audio course broken down into modules that are easy to access. It teaches you ways to start overcoming your social anxiety and self-doubt. The system utilises cognitive behavioural therapy which explores how feelings and thoughts can drive behaviour.
The Shyness and Social Anxiety system is endorsed by professionals and praised by psychologists due to the way it provides the relevant skills to manage issues of shyness and social anxiety.
To find out more, click on How to Stop Being Shy and Quiet