As someone who has spent a good deal of my life making an absolute fool of myself on stage and other public venues, I wouldn’t say that “shy” is a fair descriptor of me.
But offstage, in the real world, I am at times painfully introverted, and know well the kinds of feelings described in this thread on Reddit.
Get out your flashlights and spooky noises. It’s time to tell some nightmares.
1. That certain scent.
My husband got me to go to a party with him at our friends house, got there, friend hugged me hello, and then said WOW YOU SMELL REALLY GOOD and then I swear to God EVERYONE got up and went I WANT TO SMELL and I was surrounded by people sniffing me seconds after walking in to a party.
I wanted to die. It wasn’t even perfume or anything it was my hair oil.
If I could afford therapy this would definitely come up
2. All the world’s a stage.
I went to this summer camp at a history museum around 4th grade. The second day they sprung on us that we would have to create a short play about a notable figure of our choice.
I’m already terrified and I make it worse by choosing to do mine on Cai Lun, the dude who invented paper. The “play” ended up being a 30 second monologue that was basically a condensed biography with me wearing these musty silk robes. After I slunk back to my seat, I realized that everyone else did like actual plays with dialogue and plots and stuff.
3. Language barriers.
Sat at the back of the class in Spanish, when the teacher from the front asks a question.
Being the little nerd I was in school my hand shot up, the teacher then looked over, pointed directly at me and said “Si, Seniorita”
I was a very feminine, underdeveloped and late through puberty 15 year old boy with longer than usual hair.
I stopped answering any teachers questions willingly from that point.
4. Hide and seek.
I wouldn’t say this is my worst experience, but it’s amusing to me.
I was setting up a network in a small satellite office and was still working when the last other person left. It was nighttime and they didn’t see me or know I was still there so the turned out all the office lights as they left. I left them off because I enjoy working in the dark and do it often.
After like an hour another worker came back into the office to do something or another and rather than have to say hi I opted to hide under the desk I was at in an open office as a ~35 year old man. I’m not sure why I did that, but luckily they didn’t notice me and left again after about 15 minutes.
5. Building up.
Putting a year’s worth of confidence into a job interview, just to be the quiet one after you get the job.
The anxiety dude…
6. The stranger.
Went to a party. Guy I’ve never met walks up to me, shakes my hand, and says “hello, what’s your name? Where were you born? Where will you die? What’s in between?”
Not letting go of my hand the whole time. I completely locked up, had no idea what to say.
7. Mean girls.
In middle school I didn’t have any friends in my scheduled lunch period so I had to find some people I sorta knew to sit with.
It went well for a while until this one girl just started being extremely rude. She would just randomly start picking apart the way I look to someone else sitting at the table out of nowhere and I would just keep my head down and eat and pretend like I didn’t hear anything she would say.
I’m a decent looking female but it really did a number on my self esteem. F*ck you, Johnna!
8. Resting face.
I am a bit shy when first meeting people so after getting to know me, I often hear “When I first met you, I thought you were such a b*tch”. Cool.
9. Stick around.
Going to a crowded party with one friend who really wanted to drag you along but then disappears.
10. Raised up quiet.
Being told to lower your voice and shut up as a child, then as a teen being told to speak up for myself more and answer when I am asked something, …then growing up never speaking unless spoken to, or in case of emergency.
As a shy girl I only talked when my friends did. I also didn’t go to my teacher when I accidentally smashed my thumb with a hammer for a class project. Since I was trying my best to be quiet and not disturb anyone, I realized no one noticed I smashed my thumb up. So after recovering from almost fainting at the sight of my blood oozing out, I walked up to the teacher so I wouldn’t bother anyone else and asked her if she had a first aid kit. She said Of course, why? Did you hurt yourself? And I just showed her my thumb, dripping with broken skin and said, “Kinda.” She was shocked I hadn’t screamed or said anything for a good 10 minutes and immediately set off to get the first aid and help dress my injury.
She knew I was quiet and shy, though I think it surprised her to realize to what extent. I figured I needed some help, and I absolutely had to ask, because my tiny first aid kit was only meant for papercuts and small scrapes.
Long story short: I was too shy to draw attention to my pain, and had to gather the courage, and breath to ask for assistance.
11. Order up.
My shy buddy hated ordering coffee at the Starbucks in the Barnes N Noble bookstore.
They cannot accept your order and take your money… they had about 6 questions they have to ask first. She couldn’t stand it.
Her: I’d like a medium coffee
Them: Do you want light roast or dark roast? We don’t have medium, we have tall, okay? Do you need space for cream? What’s your name? Are you part of the (bookstore club)? Are you part of the Starbucks points?
I’m not sure if I’m remembering it right, but I think at least once she panicked and walked away mid interrogation.
12. So extra.
Someone took my order from the shelf at the online order station at chipotle and I waited 45 MINUTES after the time it was supposed to be done before saying anything because I didn’t wanna be rude.
Not the literal worst thing to happen to me, but it is what stopped me from going to chipotle.
13. Phone it in.
I hate video calls.
I was going to drive 1.5 hours to my college to talk to a professor in person instead of just video calling to follow up on something.
14. Explain away.
Having to explain our project in a seminar when the one who had to do the task didn’t turn up…was really shaking in the process…
15. Living in infamy.
After 9/11 Laura Bush came to my elementary school to meet with students for a tv show. We were all told we had to ask her a question. I was the only kid in the class who didn’t ask anything.
Truth be told, the questions I thought of had already been asked and I was more interested in learning about the secret service agents.
The next day the whole class and all the 5th grade teachers asked why I didn’t say anything. For the rest of the year I was the kid who didn’t talk to the First Lady.
Horrible. Each and every one.
What’s your real life nightmare?
Tell us in the comments.