I'm going to use myself as an example for today's entry.
I am a reserved person not a shy person so in middle school or even in elementary I did not speak unless spoken too. I spoke little with my fellow students, not because I was afraid of them, but because I didn't not feel the need to engage with them in smalltalk. That wasn't what school was for, was it? They kept telling me that I was dumb, speechless, or afraid and yet in reality I was just not interested on arguing over who the cutest boy was and spend time talking to people I did not care to get to know. I like having people in my life, friends that I can converse with I must also admit that I enjoy to have time for myself when I am alone, and only a few people understand this need.
Later I realized that while they all told me that I was shy what I really was was reserved and introverted.
Yes, I like to be alone and take stock of myself, but that doesn't make me a person lacking character, personality, incompetent or as some have suggested poorly raised. Yes I'm "introverted" so what?
Why am I explaining all this to you?
So that you take stock of who you are, to give you the tools to understand that the comments others make, people who don't care about you are irrelevant, let these people criticize you, they only know what they can assume from limited contact … Remember that it is not up to you to not answer their unspoken (often spoken) assumptions, the more you will respond the more they will continue to scrutinize you for perceived flaws. Those who allow themselves to criticize you are themselves showing you something about the type of people they are … They don't deserve your attention. It is easier to find real friends who will accept you as you are than to win those over who choose to see only what they want to see. This is trap that people fall into when they are for "popular" people as friends. Look for honest people to have as a friend. A few honest friends are worth more than all of the "popularity" that comes along with being in the "in crowd."
Remember that the high school/college period lasts a relatively short time in your life, it is useful for development on a lot of different levels but it is their primarily for your academic growth so make the most of it!
Reserved and respectful does not necessarily equal shy.