Inspired by a stand-up sketch by comic Daniel Simonsen, in which he posited the unlikely event of a flatshare advert seeking out a "shy and insecure person, stays in his room and never comes out, if you're interested please email, I don't like to talk on the phone", I've decided to flip the coin on popular thought and give some reasons why it's actually quite good being shy.
Shy people reading this probably think of their social inhibition as a disability. Certainly society seems to view it that way, which is what Simonsen (funny guy, YouTube him) was highlighting. 'Outgoing' is seen as a positive trait on a par with 'generous', 'conscientious', and 'protects tiny animals'. Quiet people are seen as by turns lacking in confidence, aloof, and bottling up a murderous hatred of the world. Indeed, quiet people themselves are often highly self-critical of their inability to open up around others.
But I'm here to give shy people the good news: there are perks!
1. People (and by people I mostly mean women, or men depending on who you'd like to impress) will romanticise you as mysterious, a deep thinker. The amount of of times I've heard whispered "Where's he going? So mysterious..." as I painfully extract myself from an awkward group situation, where my only contribution in over an hour was to accidentally cough, bringing mortifying attention to my silent presence, is remarkable.
As I fairly sprint to the sanctuary of my room, where the untold comforts of Escape From Monkey Island (my favourite computer game) and sour cream pringles await, attractive women may well be saying to each other "Gosh, such an enigma. He's probably gone to write some deeply meaningful poetry or a part-time job mentoring teenage delinquents." "Yes", the other agrees, as I punch the air having completed the tricky second level and settle down to more pringles; "I'd love to probe his depths".
2. You're more likely to avoid trouble. Although it may not seem that way from a social perspective (if you want to make an impression, for instance), one of the most useful skills of being a quiet, reserved person is the ability to blend into the background. I very rarely got in trouble at school, and I've never been embroiled in a fight. When I want to, I can disappear in broad daylight. I predict if there was a massive worldwide manhunt for me, I could sit in Hyde Park reading a book and Interpol would be stumped.
3. Shy people are better lovers. It's a scientific fact.
4. You're less easily swayed by the crowd. This is a bit of a generalisation, but people who are reserved and slightly detached tend to be quite deliberate when making their mind up about things, and are more cautious about jumping on bandwagons. They're more likely to chuck a spoke at the bandwagon's wheels.
5. Being comfortable on your own. Many shy people could live quite happily as a hermit, only needing occasional interaction for sex and food. Were there a nuclear holocaust, a lone shy survivor would last much longer than a lone outgoing one, provided he had access to some attractive animals (see above).
So quiet, socially anxious people of the world: step forth with hope in your heart and courage in your faltering, cracking voice!