Shy people have skills, just not the skills of the extroverted. For example, we know how to fade into the background. We can do it at will.
I remember using this technique on several boyfriends or would-be boyfriends. If they ceased to amuse, I did not need to resort to confrontation or heavy discussion. I just became dull to them, emphasizing the parts of myself that they were unlikely to care for—braininess, attention to detail, rule-following, or a tendency to disappear into books for days at a time. Boring! And soon they would be gone, leaving me to sigh in relief.
Let me emphasize this is not a strategy for long-term friendships which deserve more openness and honesty. When a friendship deserves saving, it is worth risking by exploring what has gone wrong. No, this is a strategy for the short term acquaintance who has turned out to be not quite as interesting as on first encounter.
So I have been boring lately, not so much as a strategy as because I have been busy with house painting estimates and garden planning (is it possible I might take a year off?) and a couple of major projects at work and dog obedience classes (which as everyone knows are really about training the human in the partnership). But partly I have been boring because I was writing for two blogs, Vermont Diary and a group effort that increasingly weighed me down. I felt obligated to write for both, so ended up writing for neither. There is no reason to go into detail as to why I did not enjoy the group blog, but I didn’t. And now that I have been adequately boring, the group blog has thrown me out. All I can say from my cozy briarpatch is “Woo Hoo! Let’s hear it for being boring!”
This experience has reminded me of that old chestnut, “Not to decide is to decide.” And thinking of all those old boyfriends has reminded me that not to play along can indeed be a strategy. Maybe I’m not as socially unskilled as I tend to think. Hmmm.