Are you Black, Shy and a Geek? You’re Not Alone!
All geeks are a blend of introvert and extrovert. Some are social, but many are not. Mostly it’s because we are a little awkward at times when it comes to socializing. And also… well you know those looks you get when you start talking about all the Sci-fi you watch, or your love of cartoons though you’re an adult. The reactions from the uninformed public tend to make geeks want to keep to themselves, until they’re around other geeks of course.
And what about being a black geek? Your family and the brothers and sisters in the community don’t have time to debate which Star Trek Captain was the best one. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Many of them wouldn’t be caught dead talking about spaceships at all.
I was a little shy growing up. I didn’t like parties all that much. Especially ones where you were suppose to mingle with the ‘in crowd’. Some of you that are reading might know what I’m talking about. But now, with a few years under my belt, I’ve learn a thing or two about myself and how to be more social. Here are some suggestions that might help you work your way out of that shyness, or Coming out of the Tardis as I call it (Dr. Who?.. no?).
Share your Geekdom, but Test the Waters
You have to learn to be patient when your trying to share your love of all things geek with people. After a lifetime of seeing reactions to me when I start talking about astronomy or comics, I’ve learned to hold back for a minute or two. Those uncomfortable pauses in the conversation when you blurt out a Live Long and Prosper can be such a social killer. Most of this can be avoided if you just test the waters. Start with mentioning something very general, like what films they’ve seen lately. Don’t ask if they watch Doctor Who right from the start. That will lead you down a dark road. If they say they’ve seen the latest superhero film, then you’ve found a new friend. But if they say they’ve seen the new Seth Rogen film, then probe a little more. Ask if they watch Scifi and depending on the answer you will know which road you can travel down in this social exchange – the cool fantastical road, or the boring no imagination or wonder road. Just remember, not everybody shares your passions, but many do. So take your time and you won’t have to feel shy about it.
Join a Group, then Learn to Talk to that Group!
When I was younger I joined a church. Keep reading, I’m not selling you any religion, just using this as an example. So as I was becoming comfortable in the church, every now and then I was asked to give a talk or lesson or something to people. Sure there was some nervousness at first, but being that I knew everyone, it became easier very quickly. After a while I knew what this community found funny or interesting in whatever speech I was giving. That was one of my first lessons in breaking out of shyness. So do yourself a favor and find a group to join and then make an effort to impact that group by interacting, presenting and talking to them. And if somebody wants you to talk about something to the group be open and go with it. Even if you feel nervous about it, the experience will be rewarding.
Teach What You Love
Doing a workshop is a great way of breaking out of your shyness. Some people wouldn’t think of themselves as teachers, but there are those that are always helping people by telling them how to do something. If you fit that mold, take that action and expand on it. Teach a workshop or a lesson to a group of people, not just one. Volunteer at the library, or sign up to teach an adult class. Do people at your job need to learn something? Set up a small gathering to share work tips or give some instruction on software. People may even start asking you to present at some event. That might sound scary, but if it falls in line with your passions, you will be happy you did it. Believe me, if you really have love for a topic, you won’t worry too much about being embarrassed. And that shyness will give way to your excitement to share.
Hope these few tips can help you get through some of your shyness. I would love to hear of other ways that you’ve though of.