Being Shy Is an Asset

Seriously, though, being shy, timid, and extremely introverted has a market value.

N, for instance, is painfully shy. He is extremely uncomfortable around human beings who are not me.

But most people have some degree of low self-esteem, so they mistake his shyness for condescension and see his long silences and averted gaze as boredom and frustration with them personally. As a result, he is great in negotiatuons with mortgage brokers, real estate agents, and used car merchants. They think he is surly and displeased, so they begin to fidget and try to please him.

I love unleashing his shyness onto people.

4 thoughts on “Being Shy Is an Asset

  1. “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain seems to be a good resource that makes a similar point. I’ve only read the beginning (I have a long reading list!) but she describes how she used her introversion as an asset in legal negotiations. I expect the book has some psycho-babble or assumptions about how “everybody” works that might turn you off, but for myself I love acknowledging the strength of introversion!


  2. Shyness and cluelessness (as in your earlier post): a winning combination!

    I’m reminded of my BFF’s story about her first car purchase. She had saved enough for a used car but saw an ad in the paper that a car dealership was offering a low-end new car for exactly as much money as she’d saved up, so she decided to go to the dealership and buy it. She knew NOTHING about the usual conventions of car buying and negotiating, so when she learned that the advertised car was “out of stock” she started to walk away. They offered her various financing deals on the more expensive car they did have in stock, but she didn’t want a loan, so she started to walk away again. Eventually, she ended up getting the more expensive new car for the price of the advertised car, precisely because her cluelessness made her an intransigent negotiator–she just wasn’t prepared to spend more than the sum she had in pocket.

    Keep this up, and you and N will rule the world.


  3. I’m pretty gregarious person who loves to tell stories and make small talk, but I’ve learned the hard way that this doesn’t work in negotiations.

    What you said was so right. I think most people cannot handle ‘awkward’ silences, and, in an effort to discharge their anxieties, will bend over backwards in arguments/negotiations. For the longest time I was that guy. Then I came upon the simple but profound realization that if a social interaction is awkward, it is awkward for BOTH parties. Knowing that, why should I alone have the responsibility to diffuse the situation? Why can’t the other person do something about it, too? This was like discovering a new super power.

    I’m so much happier now that the need to please everyone has gone. Not so surprisingly, ever since I stopped bending over backwards to please other people, it is they who started to bend over backwards to please me.


  4. I’ve been known to trumpet, “I’m an asset to this society, I tell you! An asset.”

    “What kind of an asset?” asks Mike.

    “A very small ass. An ass-ette.”


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