Shy, Introvert Mom Looking for Some Advice

Updated on September 08, 2011
S.K. asks from Chicago, IL
18 answers

If you are very social and outgoing and easily make friends then this question is NOT for you(unless you have some pointers on how to be like you!). This question is basically for those who struggle to be all that - as a person , as a mom. I am a very 'silent' person. well that's what everyone call me - silent girl. I hated it! No, I am not silent. I just stay silent because I am not comfortable in a big group and most of the time don't know what to say. I try my best to join in and be a part of the fun but I feel somehow everytime I get sidelined/ignored or whatever I say gets lost amidst all the great conversation going on. I feel people don't find me interesting or what I am talking interesting because maybe I don't communicate in a interesting manner. Maybe it's my insecurities that are talking here , but I struggle to be everything that I am not all the time. I have grown up being alone(my parents didn't socialize much and I see similar traits as me in my brother as well) so now I want to be diferent but doesn't work for me. I do have friends but I just don't maintain friendships. I hate being around people all the time. I hate it when things don't go as planned. I hate to make adjustments because of others. I had everything go my way as a kid and I thought that's how it works. I used to get very upset with my friends when things didn't go my way. Yes, I have lost a few friends because of that and have learned my lesson. I don't make a big deal of these things anymore but still it's not my first reaction to feel like it's alright, so it's difficult for me. I try my best to make new friendships but I am not able to develop close friendships anymore. It was easier in college when we spent lot of time together , had similar interests. Now everyone is busy with work, family , life and it takes a lot of effort. My husband is very social and outgoing. Now he is not the same as before because earlier on in our marriage I used to make a big deal of him hanging out with people all the time(even if it was as family) He knows I get uncomfortable and appreciates that I make an effort to come out of my comfort zone. When I feel people don't respond well, I just clam up and start keeping a distance with them. My husband realized I do this and made me give them another chance and now I am friends with those people. But I wonder how many friendships I have lost just because I felt I was ignored or whatever and never tried to give another chance! I love to be the one who can make friends with everyone , the one whom everyone loves to hang out with but it's all a dream for me. I am just the silent girl sitting in the corner watching all those lucky people live my dream and keep wishing I were them. I try to join in and try to be like them , but no - it doesn't work for me. Be it in my social or professional life - I can never be who I want to be.I never find anything interesting to say or even if I do , I don't seem to say it well.I get very consious and nervous too.

Now I have a 16 month old and want him to socialize and develop healthy relationships with people.We can visit family just once a year , so I want to try and find new mommy friends with kids same age as my son. It's not easy for me, but I want to do it for my son. I tried talking to moms at my son's daycare but I don't think they were looking for new 'friendships'. Where can I find moms like me? I googled for playgroups , mommy and me classes but didn't find any in my area. I work too , so my son gets some outside interaction at daycare. We have friends we hang out very regularly but none of them have kids yet. I want my son to have lot of friends and people to love him. I want to teach him to be a good person, good friend and love everyone around him.I want him to be everything I am trying to be myself but failing so miserably. How do I make him a social person when I myself am struggling to be one? I blame my parents for what I am , so I don't want my son to blame me as well. Anybody else go through this and what did you do? How did you go out of your comfort zone and make new friends? How did you maintain those friendships? How to make interesting conversations? What are the right things to say? I know lot of questions, but I really would love to get some help here. My som seems to be a very very outgoing little guy and want him to remain that way.I wouldn't have wrooed much if we had family around. But now I really want him to have close relationships with people other than just his parents. Our friends love him and play with him everytime we meet but they don't have kids , so it's very different. We don't even get to hang out with them that often ever since we became parents.
Thanks mamas :)

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answers from New York on

I am a very shy and introverted person too. My son is 2.5 and we are starting MOPS next week. This way he gets interaction and I get interaction with other moms. Right now, my only friends are my husband, my son, my parents' dogs and my pet ferret. :). I am always quiet too and find it hard to jump in to a conversation sometimes. I hope that finding a MOPS group will help M. with the interaction. You can look for one at

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answers from San Francisco on

There are lots of different groups on of new moms etc looking for new friends. I met a few friends this way- sometimes it's awkward at first but persevere. Remember other people sometimes feel as shy/ uncomfortable as you do too, that helps M. ad then I feel I'm putting them at ease by chatting about nonsense more! And if you feel silly you don't have to see them again but at least you tried and the more you do theeasier it will be.
Good luck!

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answers from Albany on

I beg to differ. I find your posts and responses fun, interesting, relaxed, and enjoyable.

Why wouldn't your cyber-personality be the same as your face-to-face personality.

I think you got it ALL, sista!


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

First, it sounds like you have a smart and supportive husband who understands your personality.That's great.

If you sit down and reread your own post -- trying to look at it as objectively as possible, as if a stranger wrote it -- Well, if you can step back from yourself that far, I think you might see someone who could benefit from therapy. Don't resist it by saying, as some do, "This is my fundamental personality, it's the way I'm constructed, it's my core and I can't change it," It's painfully clear that you're not very happy with that fundamental core:

"I struggle to be everything that I am not all the time."
"I want to be different but (that) doesn't work for M.."
"I am not able to develop close friendships any more."
"I hate being around people all the time...I hate when things don't go as planned..."
"I just clam up and start keeping a distance..."
"I want him (your son) to be everything I am trying to be myself but failing so miserably..."

Think for a minute about those statements. This doesn't sound like shyness; lots of people are shy or less outgoing but form strong friendships, cope with it when things don't go their way, and see themselves as successes--not failures.

These statements don't sound like shyness; they sound like depression and/or social anxiety. You talk about getting your son to be more social but the real cry for help here is for you. You can get him into all the groups and activities you want, but if he senses mom is not happy, mom is not engaged, he will pick up on that especially as he gets older and will wonder if it's because of him that mom seems so distant. You don't have to become the most social person around; you do not have to be the room mom at school; you do not have to be the den mother at scouts. You will find the right level of social intercourse for yourself eventually if you get help. But right now you sound like someone who is very defeated, seeing herself as a failure, and possibly very depressed. Please, please see a professional. Here at Mamapedia folks can give you advice all day long but please consider getting real help so you can make whatever changes you need to make to see yourself positively.

Talk to your husband. If he's supportive and it sounds like he is, he will back you on this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on


I am very outgoing and tend to find people I like easily, but everyone has trouble making new friends as a mom. Trying to go up to another mom somewhere is like dating all over again! Maybe the next time you see a mom with her baby at the park/ store/ on a walk, just try and say hello and make small talk. See if she wants to get coffee or lunch or a date at the park with the babies. The absolute WORST thing that can happen is she says "no thanks". It is a great chance for your baby to meet other babies and for you to have friends in a similar position as you. Chances are, other moms feel the same exact way you do!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

My thoughts on just a few things...I used to be much more shy than I am now. I never talked in school, and always felt awkward in groups. But one thing that I have found is that I work much better one on one. I'm still not super comfortable talking in a larger group of women. It took a while to find a couple of girls that I clicked with, but it did eventually happen. I have one good friend where I currently live, and two in other cities, that I feel I can open up to and share anything that's on my mind. I have a few other friends, but we aren't as close. As a mom, you kind of have a new opportunity to meet friends that you probably wouldn't have met otherwise. You have a lot of things in common with moms of kids the same age as yours. I have met most of my friends (close friends and nice acquaintances) at church. If you aren't involved in a church at this time, it may help to look into attending one that would suit you and your husband. My husband and I quickly found that attending the service wasn't enough to meet people. We joined a life group class there, and that opened up all kinds of doors for friendships. Another place that I have met some great girls is at Music Together. It is like a M. and M. class that focuses on music with your baby. I don't attend, but there are also some stroller fitness classes where I live. Also, it took M. some time and courage, but I just started talking to moms at the park who had kids around the same age as mine and who looked friendly. I probably started this when my son was 15-18 months old and could start playing at the park. Even if you don't make friends, it will give you a chance to talk to another mom for a little while. She's may be trying to work up the courage to talk to you also. And there you can start with easy questions like, "How old is your little one?" And then talk about what the kids are doing, etc. I find that it's easier to talk about the kids until you get to know the person a little better. Then you may feel comfortable sharing about yourself after you've gotten to know them a little through kid conversation. Also, you can learn about the person's parenting style and decide if they are similar or too different to make a good friend.

I hope this helps with some ideas. I pray that you will find a good friend or two that you feel comfortable sharing your life with. And don't beat yourself up that you aren't friends with a ton of people. There is certainly such a thing as too many friends. You can build better, more meaningful relationships with a few close friends than with a lot of acquaintances.

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answers from Santa Fe on

It sounds to M. like you do better if you can socialize one on one with someone. Invite another mom with a kid close to your kid's age to meet you at the park. If it goes ok invite her over one morning for coffee and a playdate. Invite someone to go on a stroller walk. Or a hike if you live near trails. Try to do this with multiple people so you have one on one friend time with someone once a week. To make interesting conversation you just ask them about themselves or talk about what is on your mind lately. Talk about your kids or talk about your husbands :) Just make sure your son gets social time every week with other kids and I am sure he will be fine! He has his outgoing dad as a role model too - not just his non-social mom. I think you have to make more of an effort and be very deliberate about setting up social time with people that you like. Make it a habit each week and hopefully with time it will get easier for you.

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answers from Washington DC on

Well the gist is that you want a social outlet for your son. Try a Meet Up group/playdate or the library or community programs. Make it about him and if you meet people you like, yay. If not, he had an outing. It's a lot like dating. Sometimes I meet up with people and we don't click but we had a good day anyway. Sometimes I meet up with people and the event gives us something to discuss and we become friends. I tend not to discuss hot button topics with people. I do not enjoy discussion politics, even in a light tone, so I either change the topic gently or stop participating in it. Maybe say, "We have to agree to disagree here."

You might also want to consider counseling to help you with your relationships and how to communicate more effectively and manage your reactions to social situations. My DH is an extrovert, too, and I am not, but it sounds more than just not being good with chit chat. Your parents may have given you a foundation, but YOU build on it.

You make friends by being a friend. When my DD spilled her milk in her lap, someone at the Meet Up loaned us pants and we became friends. If a parent is juggling 3 small kids, I let her go ahead in line or offer to hold something for her. Do unto others often works. Hold the door when someone struggles with the stroller. Smile. Say thank you. Don't be fake, though. Fake = superficial relationships.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Boy do I hear you. And your admitting that you don't like it when things don't go your way takes tons of courage. I don't just mean admitting it on-line, but to yourself. Huge!

When I became pregnant I felt so exposed. Everyone wanted to come up and talk to M. and I didn't want to have to make conversation with strangers about something that was so private to M..

When my daughter was born, even more so with the casual comments.

There is a difference between introversion and social phobia. I'm introverted. I love it, accept it, totally at peace with getting energy from being alone or with those I know VERY well. But then there's social anxiety which you describe a little bit (I've had that too but now to a lesser degree than when I was younger) and that is fearing judgment in a social situations to the point of avoidance. That's what you don't want to teach your son.

But, you're actually not doing that. You may not have friends that have children, but you are modeling having friendships.

I've gone out of my way to join groups through MOPS,,, etc and though haven't stayed with the group (just not a group type person) have made one or two friends from each.

I have a wonderful friend from high school whose mom is my role model. She's introverted. She's also dynamic, warm, intellegent and an incredible listener. She gave M. the secret that although she considers herself shy, there is no reason not to be able to listen to others and ask others questions. Sometimes its as simple as thinking of questions ahead of time, role playing, in the mirror maybe, or watch others who are at ease in social situations. I've learned a lot just from watching. My personal motto and one I've used often when counseling others with social anxiety, "The most interesting topic, to most people, is themself."

I could go on and on about this topic because the past few years I've been working on this, still am to a large degree and getting better with practice, but it does take practice.

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answers from Chicago on

It's ok! give yourself a break! There is something to be said about being on the quiet side. I do encourage you as you meet people to find the commonalities with other moms. We all click better with some over others. If you end up with a few close friends vs a lot of casual acquaintences you would be very blessed. What are your interests? My SIL just told M. Joann Fabrics had a cake decorating class and she grabbed some friends to go along...Just an example ;)

Do you like Sports, window shopping, trying new lunch hot spots, workout?

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answers from Norfolk on

Hi - I am not a very shy person but I do have friends that are & have been all of their lives. I know it took alot of strength on their part to move beyond their comfort zone but I am soo THANKFUL that they did & feel truly BLESSED by their friendship. I can tell from your message that you are an amazing mom & the love/dedication needed for that are the qualities in a wonderful lifetime friend. I just want to encourage you to continue to look for opportunities for making friends. Your future friends can't wait to meet you.

Church groups are a great place to meet new people. Look online for MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) these groups are found at several churches. Also your local bookstores/libraries generally have storytimes that you & your can can join. As far as specifics, being mindful of your body language is one way to open yourself to making new friends. I know this may sound silly but its true (make eye contact, keep arms unfolded & smile). Once you have observed a mom that appears to be a nice person then ask them about their child (ages, their favorite parks since you are looking for fun places for your son to go or just compliment them on how cute or pretty their kids are). The easiest way to connect with other moms is by talking about what connects you both (being moms). Talk about your son & the funny things he does or ask for advice on something that is a challenge. Moms/people are at ease talking about things they feel they have some experience in. After a few times, mention that you are going to take your son to a fun lunch place & ask if they want to join you. It's a risk but you may find it was worth it : ) Good Luck & God Bless!!

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answers from Kansas City on

Well first off I think you should cut yourself some slack!! You want it all, in an instant it seems. This will probably be a gradual thing. You have to learn to retrain your mind, since you described yourself as somewhat selfish, from the way you grew up. Do you attend church? I have found that church is a great place to meet friends, and moms, and playgroups, etc. If you are in the right church, your child could actually grow up with a bunch of other kids, and be friends with the same kids when they are in high school. My kids have friends like that. Maybe you can have your husband take your son with him too, when he is out socializing with a buddy. Does his friends have any kids? Another place to meet friends, is when your child is in sports, and I know that is a way off, but when your child plays sports, it's almost like family since you are with them a lot. I am sure it is hard for you, but the one thing that I think I could say is try to not put so much pressure on yourself for this. People may sense this a back off. And not everyone has a bunch of "real" friends anyway.

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answers from Denver on

I can relate, I have some of the same problems as you! I think if I didn't work, I might never talk to anyone else other than my family! So going to work is good for M., and forces M. to be social - and then I feel better about myself - which in turn, makes M. more confident and happy - and people respond to that. People like to talk about themselves most of the time, and if you're quiet and insecure, you will likely be overlooked. I find sometimes even when I get the courage to speak up, people don't even hear M.! People just have different energy and personalities. I am a submissive, quiet and unobtrusive personality by nature and I'm learning to be OK with that. Don't try to be something that you're not, it will only make you more insecure. Instead, just try to be confident with who you are and what you like about yourself. People will respond to that. I also find myself trying too hard to say funny things or join in on the conversation, and then I end up saying something dumb, so I try to just not worry about it.

I would also look at - there are tons of groups out there, even groups for shy people! Maybe that's a good start. Meet with others that are similar to you. Or a book club? I totally know how you feel though, and just know that it's ok to be the way you are! :)

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answers from New York on

I read your post and I love you already. You are attentive, funny, and perhaps a little or very shy.

I'm an introvert by nature but have done a few things in my life which make M. seem more like an extrovert. Try taking two different kinds of classes. One class in public speaking and another class in acting. These two classes will teach you how to be more comfortable in your own skin and speaking to others. Friendships take time. You must learn how to study the group of people you are interacting with. You must also understand that not all groups of people are going to be warm or friendly towards you and that's fine. Practice, practice and practice. Different churches are great places to practice.

Kudos to your husband for being proactive in helping you with your problem.

Don't try to pretend you are something or someone you are not. No one likes a fake. Be the authentic you. You may also consider when in situations where there are many people branching off with a small more manageable sub-group.

For the introvert coming back to our cocoon is restorative. You may also consider finding a place within the larger space where you can get some brief alone time to recenter and restore yourself.

I do some public speaking too so there are times when I have to be in crowds of strangers but I manage my expectations and listen well so I can respond appropriately.

Build up your confidence in yourself. What you think of yourself will shine through to others. So give yourself a break, cut yourself some slack, and relax. These people don't know you either but if you give them a chance you may find some friendly people in the bunch. Before you know it you will and can be the belle of the ball. Hang in there and don't give up.

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answers from Dallas on

Wow….I could have easily written a lot of this myself. I too consider myself to be pretty shy and introverted most of the time. At least until I really get to know people and feel comfortable with them. And big groups of people that I don’t know create lots of anxiety for M.. I always feel unsure of what to say or talk about. I’m not very good at starting conversations with strangers in any way.

Now, once I get to know people, I have no problems. I’m very fun-loving and can easily carry conversations with them. It just takes a while to get to that point.

I do have a few friends, but to be honest, I don’t feel super close with any of them. Mostly because I feel like our friendships are a lot of M. giving and them taking, but that is another post.  I have a 16 month old daughter and have moved to a new area 30 miles from our friends and family. I have been thinking a lot lately about how I need to make an effort to get out and make some new “mom” friends so that she has some playmates. However, it is super hard for M. to do this. I’ve looked into some M. and M. classes or mom groups, but I don’t feel comfortable going yet. I know for a fact that my issues stem from insecurity. It sounds like yours probably do as well. My insecurity comes from being overweight and feeling like I won’t fit in with all the other “hot moms”. LOL!! I’m scared of rejection and that keeps M. from reaching out and being the extrovert that I’d love to be. Perhaps that is your issue too. You mention that you don’t have anything interesting to say…..I doubt that is the case. That sounds like insecurity and fear of rejection too.

I’m a lot like you in that I like my alone time as well. I have some friends who are VERY social and have to have something going on ALL THE TIME. I’m not like that. There are weekends where I really don’t want to have to do anything with anyone…..I just want to stay home and be with my family and relax. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that unless you do it too much.

You mentioned that maintaining friendships are work and that sometimes you get upset if things don’t go as planned with your friends. I think that is an issue you need to continue to work on. True friendships are definitely a two-way street and you have to be willing to put the other persons needs first at times, even when it’s not your first reaction.

The best advice I’ve gotten recently regarding this same subject is that first of all, you have to put yourself out there and take a chance with people. If people don’t respond to who you are, then that is their loss. Keep putting yourself out there until you find people who respond to you. Be willing to try and work past your insecurities and put in the work it takes. To have a friend you have to be a friend.

Good Luck to you……I’m going to try to implement this in my own situation. Thank you for posting this question and making M. think about this some more! If you ever need an ear to vent, feel free to PM M..

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answers from Chicago on

Here's a website that has helped M. a bit with my own shyness...

Basically, I have known that my shyness was impeding M. since I was in high school. My junior year of high school I decided it had to stop, so I joined the speech team and chose the category "Extemperaneous speaking," where I'd draw a topic and then have 45 minutes to go prepare a 3-5 minute speech and then present it in front of a room full of people. It was very scary, but I did it.

For my jobs I started to seek out positions where I HAD to interact with people--hostess at one of the busiest restaurants in the city, receptionist at a stock brokerage firm, sales associate at one of the busiest Gap stores in the US, and the ultimate--student teaching at a prestigious college prep school in Chicago. WOW! Talk about forcing M. out of my shell!!

I fight against my shyness daily. Fortunately for M. my oldest son is very extroverted, and he's kinda been my wing-man for making friends with other parents. He'll talk to everyone...he introduces M....heck, one day he even made M. and another mom hold hands (AWKWARD!) ;-)

Check out There are tons of groups in your area, and virtually every interest is represented. If you can't find one that you like, start your own!



answers from Minneapolis on

I am very much like you. I would second what Carrie T and Leigh from Vienna said. "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine Aron helped M. accept the way I am--which, ironically, has helped M. let go of my anxiety to be outgoing and thus made it easier to enter relationships. Holding on to tension about how you "should" be shows when you are talking to others and they are less likely to feel connected to you.

If I were you, I would not seek random groups. If you are not a group person, you are not a group person and you are setting yourself up for stress. I was in a parents group and it was very hard to connect in that group and I eventually left. As far as other parents at school, maybe check with the teacher at day care to see who your son tends to play with more, then tell that parent the kids are friends and wouldn't it be fun to have a playdate.

There are lots of kids in our neighborhood and I have become friends with the other moms just because we see each other on bike rides, walks, playing in the yard, etc. It was a gradual process. Not long ago I told some of these ladies that I wasn't sure how to handle a situation that happened between my daughter and another kid, and they advised M. without judgment. If you are in a neighborhood without other kids, it's ok--I am just pointing out that building a friendship takes time and happens more in natural settings than forced ones. And that it is essential to be genuine.

Suggestions others have given M. is to, in an awkward group situation where you don't know what to talk about, is just to humorously say that you are no good at small talk. My husband once told M. to just ask people questions about themselves, because, he said, people like to talk about themselves! They both work for M. at times.

As far as your son, I think the most important thing you can teach him is to be who he is. The way to do that is to accept who and how you are and become comfortable with that. Leigh's advice to do therapy may help you with that. Therapy can sometimes serve as a "practice" relationship, even though it is a professional one. Doing some mindfulness training (the U of M and the Penny George Institute at Abbott both offer it) may also help. Both of these things have been helpful for M..

Thank you so much for posting this. I really admire your courage.


answers from Dallas on

I am not like you, I am quite social but I was in outside sales cold calling for my first job out of college. That is hard.

One of the best things I ever did was invest in a Dale Carengie course. I soared in that class. I was even asked to come back to be a graduate assistant in the program. It did a world of good for M..

Does your neighborhood have a bunco or mom's group? We have groupd in our neighborhood and meet once a month. You catch up with people, there are all sorts of personalities and opportunities to open up if you want to.

Also, try something like a Little Gym, etc for you and your child to participate in together.

Best wishes!

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