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Shyness (also called diffidence) is the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness especially when a person is in proximity to other people. This commonly occurs in new situations or with unfamiliar people.


  • He was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing. He was too diffident to do justice to himself; but when his natural shyness was overcome, his behaviour gave every indication of an open, affectionate heart.
  • At the time, I believed that shyness was very important, but now I know that shyness is one of the evils one must try to overcome, that in reality to be shy doesn't matter—it is like so many other things to which one gives an exaggerated importance.
  • Shyness is shit. It isn’t cute or feminine or appealing. It’s torment, and it’s shit.
    • Octavia Butler, "Positive Obsession", in Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995).
  • The shy man does have some slight revenge upon society for the torture it inflicts upon him. He is able, to a certain extent, to communicate his misery. He frightens other people as much as they frighten him. He acts like a damper upon the whole room, and the most jovial spirits become, in his presence, depressed and nervous.
  • Shyness is just egotism out of its depth.
    • Penelope Keith (b. 1939), British actress. Daily Mail (UK) newspaper, 27th June 1988.
  • Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to.

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