With so many kids starting school, here’s a reminder: Some people you think are rude or stuck up, just might be shy.
I’d been out of school a few years when I ran into one of the “cool” girls I’d been afraid to talk to in high school. She was beautiful and smart and was nominated several times for things. As we looked at sale items on the same table, I wondered if I should say hello, but then thought, Well, she didn’t want to talk to me then, why would she want to talk to me now? But then I realized that even after all these years I was still fearful, and that was silly. Oh, what the heck! “So how are you?” I asked? It’s been a long time.”
She smiled. “Oh helloooo, I remember you. Thanks for speaking up. Yes, can you believe how fast the time’s gone by?” We chatted then and exchanged information about our lives. Finally, we talked about high school days. I admitted to her that back then I never dared talk to her and I told her why.
“Cool? Me? Are you kidding? That’s just not true at all,” she said. “I never ever thought of myself that way. I was so insecure. I always worried about what to say to people.”
We talked then about how inaccurately we sometimes perceive each other.
Since that experience I still too often forget that when someone, even a grown-up, doesn’t seem very friendly, it might just be that she or he is feeling self-conscious, even discouraged or yes, just plain shy. I need to stop making assumptions.