Is shyness a bad thing?

I am very shy and I think people think of me as cold and maybe arrogant (i am not sure about the second one though). I can't make friends easily and people tell me i should be more open. I can't be something that i am not, i try but it doesn't feel right if you know what i mean. I dont want to view it as a bad thing because it is me, i want to love and accept me. How do you view a shy person? What about dating? Will I find good friends being shy if i am patient in university (freshman)?
Is shyness a bad thing?
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