Back in elementary school, our teachers always used to do this activity on the last day of school that required everyone to write one nice thing about each student on a piece of paper. And I would always get at least one variant of this: "You're shy."
To me, saying "you're shy" seemed akin to writing "you have braces" or "you have a lot of arm hair," a mundane observation bordering on insulting. It's not as if it bothered me because I wasn't aware that that was how my 9-year old peers perceived me. I was awkward, slightly neurotic, and cried a lot (for those thinking it: I have changed a little. I'm better at not being or doing any of those three things in public). What bothered me was that it was, apparently, my single most recognizable trait. Teachers would write their own comments on the top of the paper after the students had completed them, and the majority of the time I could predict what they were going to write, right down to the exclamation mark: "You've really come out of your shell this year!" I could have built a condo out of all of the shells I supposedly came out of from the ages 5-12.
Every once in a while, I can still feel my inner kid shine through. Whenever I end up saddled in a situation where I have to maintain small-talk with someone I don't know very well, whenever I blush and somebody notices- I start feeling the weight of all of those old shells creeping back again.