I’m not shy, I just don’t like you
Why my silence doesn’t always equal shyness
I don’t think I’m a shy person. I can talk, I can be the life of the party and I can engage in conversations. I can do all these things. However, I can also choose to refrain from conversing with people altogether. Basically, I’m capable of various actions but it is my choice to do what I want...
There’s nothing more annoying than minding your own business and then having your peace disturbed by someone who clearly thinks they’re God’s gift to the world. I would rather be lost in Kerr Hall for 10 hours than have to interact with someone who has obviously only ever interacted with people like them: loud, obnoxious and lame. People can be so infuriating, and I promise I don’t mean that in a malicious way. I mean it in more of a “matter-of-fact” way.
Okay, if you’re confused, let me explain. It was a beautiful day on campus last week—the sun was out and birds were chirping. A friend and I were just sitting outside, enjoying the weather and doing some school work on campus right in front of the Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC). Then, the worst thing happened…a man approached us. He was one of those common “Chads” that I’m sure many of us recognize. He was wearing a backward-facing cap and a puffer jacket, essentially fitting the stereotype of a classic “basic boy.” Apparently, he decided we were the two women he felt like bothering that day.
There’s a feeling of dread that washes over you when you’re unlucky enough to encounter someone you know is bound to give you trouble and you desperately hope they won't notice you. You attempt to avoid eye contact but they continue to approach you. Eventually, you realize that it's too late to make a quick escape. Yeah. That’s how it felt. Why me?
“Ugh, please let me escape this situation,” I thought to myself. “Maybe if we get up now and make a run for it he won’t even notice.” Unfortunately, before I could tug on my friend’s arm to make our escape, he was already standing before us in all his douchey glory.
Of course, he came up and started the whole, “Hey ladies, how you doing?” bit. “What are you girls working on? Wow, smart women, I love my women smart.” Immediate eye roll.
Has anyone ever told this man to just hush in his life? Clearly not, otherwise he wouldn’t be disturbing our peace. Like sir, go away. The audacity of him to think that his presence is worth my time threatens to make me ill. Just looking at him made me want to throw a book at him. Specifically Abigail Holiday’s book, Learning to Respect Women: We Are Pleased You Want to Know This Today. For some, that’s the only way they can learn. If worse comes to worst, at least I have a textbook l that I can use at a moment’s notice.
Unfortunately, our obvious lack of interest didn’t deter him at all. He talked and talked and—oh my god—talked about who knows what, for what felt like forever. Like no, it’s fine. I don’t have work to get done today or anything. As he continued to try to get my friend and I to acknowledge him, I sighed and gazed into the road in front of us. Maybe if we shifted two feet forward, he would inch onto the pavement and get run over by a scooter.
My friend and I glanced at each other, an entire silent conversation being told with our eyes. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. The “Why is this man still talking?” and “Can he just leave us alone?” looks.
Eventually, after what seemed like years, he finally noticed how quiet we were, so he decided that the smart thing to say was “Damn, you girls are so shy.”
Oh my god. Who else hates that? Just because I am choosing to not speak to you does not mean I am shy. I am not speaking to you. When did that become a thing? Not speaking to strange men means I’m a shy little girl now? My silence is my own choice and it’s stupid of you to assume otherwise.
Listen buddy, no one likes you right now. Not only did you kill my vibe on this beautiful Tuesday morning, but your absurd audacity is annoying. The sun has gone away, the singing birds have died and the grass is now brown all because of his presence. Ugh, men.
Consider this: perhaps my silence isn't about you. I might not always be this quiet, but I'm opting for it because giving you a piece of my mind would be a waste of time and energy. Have you ever entertained that possibility? Probably not. Of course not. Why would that even be a big boy thought in your head?”
In a world where social interaction is as vital as the air we breathe, I encourage you to take it as an insult that I don’t want to be social with you in particular right now . It's not because of some aversion to social interaction or a nuanced psychological phenomenon rooted in self-perception, environmental stimuli and cognitive processes.
To put it in simpler terms: It's not shyness—I really just don’t like you. Duh.
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