I was painfully shy at one time, and I understand the stuckness and pain of it. I feel called to help quiet girls who feel stuck.
I was that super shy kid while growing up, who could barely get a word out of my mouth even though I craved being heard and understood. It was more painful than it needed to be.
I have broken free of that shyness grip and I have studied how I did it, and how others have done it. I know how to help. I feel called to pass it on.
Today I understand my introverted side, the part of me that needs quiet time more than extroverts do. There’s nothing wrong with that. Quiet is a beautiful thing!
A Snapshot of the Problem
I’m not talking about “fixing” introversion when I say I want to help “quiet” girls. I’m talking about helping girls who are facing these kinds of painful or frustrating situations:
- Feeling like it’s hard to speak up when you really want to be heard and understood.
- Dreading speaking in class or anywhere, but you feel forced to. Maybe even having panic attacks about it, as I used to.
- Being asked “What’s wrong?” just because you’re being quiet or leaving the party early.
- Having your opinions skipped over because you didn’t jump in fast enough.
- Worried you won’t be as successful in life unless you wear an extrovert mask.
- Feeling totally drained by wearing an extrovert mask.
- Feeling like you want to crawl under the bed at social gatherings.
- Being told to “just do it” or “speak up!”
“Just do it” advice is not enough. That just drove me crazy when I heard it. In fact, it made me want to go further into a shell. Ugh.
I wish someone had helped me understand early on about things like fear, introversion, and what was great about my quiet nature. I am determined to do that for young women.
How You Can Help This Cause
- Stop and listen to quiet girls.
Slow the conversations down enough so that people who like to think first will have a chance to speak. Build in more quiet time in your meetings. A teacher friend of mine says she uses the “Think, Pair, Share” method to give everyone a chance to think first, then talk in a pair, then share. I love it!
- Help people understand that everyone has nervous moments and can work with it.
Nervousness is simply your body buzzing in a new situation. It’s human! It’s a natural result of excitement. Try not to judge it as bad, and that will take away half the stress of it. Take time to learn about fear.
- Learn about introversion, what it is and isn’t.
There’s a great book out for teens, parents, and educators that can make a world of difference. Understanding introversion was one of the most stress-reducing and clarifying things I’ve ever done.
Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts by Susan Cain
[More recommended books on introversion are listed here.]
- Share this post.
Share this with parents, teachers, and shy or quiet “girls” of any age. Just hitting “Like” on the Facebook button at the top of this post will help. There’s also a “Share/Save” button below this post. Or just copy the website address and email it to a friend. Thanks!
- If you’re worried about someone, talk to a professional.
I’m available for consults for adults on how you can understand and support your loved one. Sometimes there is also an element of anxiety or high stress getting in the way, and some good stress reduction help is in order sooner than later before it gets too entrenched. In that case, I highly recommend speaking with a stress management counselor who understands adolescents.
If you used to be a shy girl like me, I’d love to hear from you about your experience in the comments below. You can even leave a note of support to quiet girls in the comments.