All the world’s a stage full of shy people acting confident

World

All the world’s a stage full of shy people acting confident

An unexpectedly high number of people confess to being shy. This is what it feels like to be one of them

Antonia Hoyle

The party was packed, and a group of women I knew were in a corner, laughing. Arriving on my own, I wanted to walk over and say hello, but a nagging voice in my head stopped me.

What if my sudden presence killed the conversation? What if – God forbid – the reason they were laughing in the first place was because they were guffawing about me?

I headed for the bar instead, downed a glass of wine and faffed around on my phone until my husband arrived, when, thanks to the anaesthetic effects of the alcohol and companionship of a man contractually obliged to support me, the social paralysis started to lift...

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