Dear Miss Emily:

O K, I have never done this before, but I need help. I’m a 23 male and weigh 180 lbs.  I think I'm an attractive and decent looking male, and I have a few friends that I can really count on. But everywhere I go to try to meet new people (at church and stuff),  no one will talk to me -- even at work, I’m not intimidating and I don’t have any abnormalities but, at work, a bunch of guys always go out drinking and I never get invited. At church, every one mingles and stuff and I just sit there waiting to be included.  I’m the quiet shy type but that shouldn’t keep me from being excluded.  Please help me.
Out of the Loop

--------------------------Miss Emily’s advice---------------------

Dear Out:

In this respect, shyness is a curse.  You probably reveal little about yourself and, therefore, you leave people with nothing to latch onto, and you are ignored as a result. Sitting and waiting to be included is delusional on your part, because at work, and even at church, few people are so charitable as to want to draw out the wallflower.  I’ve been around people who are shy, and I see how it can be perceived as being snobbish or aloof.  I am sure you are everything you say, and it’s wonderful that you have true friends that you can count on.  But humans are social animals, by nature, and it’s a fact that those who are good at communication get the respect and attention they desire.  As hard as this will be for you, you have to start initiating conversation with people.  Find out what their interests are – everyone usually likes to talk about themselves.  Make eye contact, and be a good listener.  Host a party at your home, if it’s possible and, therefore, get to know people on a more intimate basis.  The root of shyness is usually insecurity.  Realize that we are all struggling to find a place in this world, and some are better at it than others.  At 23, you are at a perfect age to learn from people around you.  Seek help by picking up a book or two on how to battle shyness by developing strategies to open up and attract people who will enrich your life.  Amazon has several books relating to this topic.  But reading and doing are two different things.  Once you put yourself out there, it becomes easier each time because you will be pleased with the results.  Insecurity stems from nature or nurture, or both, but it’s not something that is insurmountable.  Change is good, and will be good for you if you are willing to do the challenging work it requires.  PS: Check out your breath and cleanliness habits to make sure that these two things don't contribute to your feelings of alienation.