I was going upstairs to talk to someone about a problem I have at work (a technical problem, that is) and reflecting as I have before that this job, plus the one before, has been excellent for me and my shyness. I always hated calling strangers, or talking to people about technical problems like this; my heart would pound and my face would get warm, and it was awful. But lately I haven't been getting that feeling. I pick up the phone to call some client I've never spoken with and for whom I may well not have any answers, and I wait for that reaction, and it doesn't come. It's very strange. I'm still a little reluctant to do things like that, but I no longer dread it.
So I started thinking about why it went away, and then why it started in the first place. What happened in my early childhood to make me shy? I could imagine that perhaps as a child I was afraid of new things and new people, and got that reaction of dread whenever I had to encounter them, and my fear of that dread led to a fear of the things that caused the dread, and made me averse to new people. (Shyness goes way further than that…but let's keep things simple.) But in that case why isn't everyone shy? Some people positively love strangers. Did those extroverts never experience fear of new people, or did they simply get over it rather than experiencing aversion to it? And if so, do they enjoy fear more than shy people--say, at the movies?