In defence of shyness
English is full of colourful phrases to describe shyness. Someone timid might be called shrinking violet or a wallflower, while for especially nervous types we have the curious expression: they wouldn't say boo to a goose.
None of these are traditionally seen as positive descriptions, even if you like geese. In a culture of go-getting high achievers, shy people don't come first.
Or that's what the self-help industry would have you believe. Bookshops are filled with weighty tomes that promise to help beat social fears and find success in life, love and business.
Which is why one book, Shrinking Violets: A Field Guide to Shyness, bucks the trend. It made a splash across English-language media recently for its new take on bashfulness.
Author Joe Moran says that despite struggling with shyness and craving solitude all his life, being timid can also be "a gift". Freed from the persistent urge to participate and compete in social situations, people are liberated to look at the world in new ways, and gain fresh insights.
Indeed, many of the world's great thinkers and artists are introverts. Scientists Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein preferred their own company; actress Keira Knightley often finds herself tongue-tied at parties; and Harry Potter author JK Rowling claims she used to be too nervous to even borrow a pen - a reticence she says forced her to delve deep into the world of her imagination.
Moran told BBC Future: "I think shyness probably does turn you into an amateur anthropologist, really - you are more likely to be an observer."
So, while extroverts make all the noise, they don't necessarily have the best ideas.
If you're shy, you've probably known this for a long time. You just don't shout about it.
not say boo to a goose
would have you believe
buck the trend
make a splash