I was a shy child who grew up to be a shy adult. More than once, my mother pushed me to take some initiative. She encouraged me to do things like invite my friends for sleepovers, rather than only going to ones they invited me to.
As an adult, I now appreciate that shyness is a selfish luxury. The shy person stands around quietly, waiting to be noticed and approached by the braver person who is willing to adopt all the burden of interaction. How many opportunities have we shy people discarded by not being willing to look foolish or face rejection? While I recognize this, I still struggle with it.
Another criticism my mother had of me was my lack of curiosity. For most of my life, I found this a ridiculous complaint; I was considerate… not prying!
No. Decades later, I finally understand. Along with sometimes taking the initiative to engage someone, it is good to express interest in the other person! Ask questions. Encourage the other to take the conversational spotlight for a bit. Fortunately, I figured out this skill long ago, but did not realize that this was what she meant back then.
What finally made me understand were recent experiences with a couple different very nice men.