Doing the Interview about Brave for MPBN

It was my second interview ever, the first being with my friend and colleague Beverly Russel before the San Miguel Literary Sala in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Her questions tended to be general or about writing the book. MPBN’s Keith Shortall’s were specific, dealing with particular issues that confront shy people, an example being, is it helpful for a husband or a wife to help the shy spouse in conversation while in a group. His questions will be of interest to shy people in general, whereas Beverly’s were geared more for literary people.

I felt comfortable with Keith throughout; he had a storehouse of well-posed on-topic questions which I found interesting to answer. He said I can make reference to the interview on my website which I shall do once it is aired.

Two interviews and seven signings, each of which was a wonderful, wonderful occasion. Ah, getting out the word that severe shyness is DREADFUL and MUST BE OVERCOME!


  1. Hello.
    I just heard your interview with Keith Shortall. I was on the edge of my seat because I wanted to hear suggestions for interacting with shy people. As a newly certified teacher, I think it would be helpful to know how to best handle a particularly shy student.
    I think that we (gregarious people) are not as much prejudiced or insensitive as a shy person might think we are. On the contrary, I think some of us are TOO sensitive. For example, a reason I might hesitate to engage with a shy person is because I perceive that I am making him or her uncomfortable by trying to talk with them.
    Additionally, most of us tend to project ourselves onto others. So, if someone appears to be ignoring me or uninterested in me, then my natural assumption is that they don’t like me.
    So, I wonder what your suggestions would be for how and when to interact with shy students.
    Thanks, Sarah

  2. Sarah, You are asking a couple of very thoughtful questions and I am happy to respond. How I wished a teacher had helped me in school. You don’t say what age you are teaching, but if you are a math teacher as your email address suggests, it may be junior high or above.

    For the little ones, it is easier to say something. The older ones might feel more embarrassed, so of course it must be done with utmost discretion. Broach the topic in a natural way, almost as you are doing with me. Ask, are you a shy person? If so, I understand it can be hard to overcome and we teachers like to recommend that you get help from the school counselor. Or maybe you are already working on it with someone? You might add somewhere in the conversation, I know about the drawbacks of being shy and I think it would be of great help to you to overcome it. Or, how can I help? And follow up later on to see what the person is doing about it. Show you care.

    I don’t think shy people think gregarious people ignore them for any other reason than everyone knows a conversation with them could be awkward. No hard feelings there! But, a lovely warm smile and a heartfelt hello while you are passing by would be welcome and appreciated by a shy person.

    In general, only the shy person can get themselves out of the reach of shyness. Teachers and others can show warmth and when talking with shy people, look them in the eyes kindly and listen patiently.

    Is this helpful? Helen

  3. As most of us grow, we learn to overcome the hesitation, fear, even physical discomfort in new and uncertain situations. Your work reminds me that for some, the path is slower and much more painful. I applaud your struggle, your courage and success.

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