While many people, including socially anxious and shy people themselves, consider shyness to be in general a weakness, there are in fact several strengths this condition brings about. The strengths themselves go against what is considered to be the standard convention, which is why they do not appear to be strengths.
If you appear to be an ordinary joe, people can feel more comfortable in approaching you at work or a social gathering. While being meek is not necessarily praised in Western society, it can be a social strength. Compare this to a person who is really aggressive and outspoken, no one wants to go near that guy. Being quiet leads to a calming effect on others. Other people will notice that you do not say a whole heck of a lot, and very often they choose to view shy people as simply being calm. In American society, where people are more often rewarded for “tooting their own horn,” being quiet and calm can have a profound positive impact on other people.
Appearing vulnerable is great for certain jobs. Shy people appear to be vulnerable and easily taken advantage of by others, which can be the case in work environments that reward the most aggressive competitors. However, for various human-service-oriented jobs such as working with mentally disabled people, counseling, or therapy, appearing vulnerable causes other people to open up to you more, which is a great benefit to have in your life if you are going to be successful in these lines of work.
Shy people can appear to others to be innocent or good. In many situations in life, it is better to be the innocent or good person, rather than the outgoing and dominant person.
Socially, people may respect you more than the aggressive and dominant individual, which leads to them having a stronger trust in you. In many cases, having an innocent or good appearance can be a great trait to have for an up-and-coming leader.
In comparison to people who are aggressive and outgoing who may be viewed as more self-serving, shy people, because of the “good guy” impression they make on others, are more trusted and believable.
Though it is scary for them, shy people can become effective public speakers and leaders for this reason.