Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Overcoming shyness at my first meetup alone

A few days ago I went to a meetup about women in tech, organized by Small Improvements, in the week of WebSummit. The objective was to get as many points of view as possible on why there are few women in tech and discuss possible solutions to overcome it.

So I’m an extremely shy person, I tend to go to a few meetups but I always go with someone. I do this so I can always talk with someone, in case I cannot start or include myself in a conversation.

This time I went alone. When I committed to go I wanted to push myself and not let my social anxiety win. However, that day wasn’t going very well so I had a lot of doubts of going. In the end I just went for it, I thought about what was the worst thing that could happen: I would be in a crowd of people completely silent… No one would talk to me… Or they would talk and I would somehow make a fool out of myself… And many other fears. But my desire of trying to overcome fear of embarrassment and feeling lonely was greater than my fears.

The outcome

The event went pretty well 🙂 It was a great experience, one that I would not have imagined. It was a small group of people, both men and women, where everyone had a voice. All opinions were heard. People were truly concerned about the topic, and wanted to know each other’s opinion. It wasn’t a debate where some people were debating and the audience would have a public Q&A at the end. Therefore it was a perfect environment for me, being a small group of people where I would feel more comfortable about speaking up, and people were as interested in my point of view as they were for anyone at the table.

All of the them were really kind and down to earth.

Conclusion

It was a great experience that I would have missed if I avoided the event because of my shyness. These were some of the benefits:

  • I got to meet new and great people
  • I got to share my point of view on women in tech
  • I got a chance to practice my English (since I’m not a native english speaker)
  • I’m one step closer to feeling comfortable in social situations

So even though this went very well, that doesn’t mean that all of the next meetups will be as great as this one. However, sometimes we have to take chances, and this one I took was definitely worth it!

Finally, I really hope that my experience can show to other shy and anxious people that they can also do this, with good hopes of having a good experience.

So share this with anyone you might feel that would benefit from my experience.