Since I started this blog, I have been doing a lot of reading and not only that, but also following up with other introverts’ lifestyles on social media and through their blogs. For over five months now, I’ve been able to know what’s introversion and what’s not.
It’s basically a lot of new discoveries for me.
Today I will be sharing all I know about Shyness, Introversion and the difference.
Okay, maybe not all I know but what I believe you should know. I’m hoping you read my own perspective but not as a confusion to yours and I’m also hoping you read something new.
So this is more like a quest for you to know the difference between shyness and introversion based on what I have learnt.
Terms in describing personality traits
Let’s start right away! But first you need to know some terms you might come across or read about. These terms are used in describing the types of personality traits.
Introversion is a personality trait (Insert link). The attribute of introversion is the tendency to gather strength from being with yourself.
An article published by Joe Moran (The Secret Life of Shyness)
He doesn’t think shyness is just about fear or timidity, or about shrinking away from the world.
… And the term “shrinking violet” is rarely used to describe a shy person these days.
… An internet search for “shrinking violet” brings up links to a weight reduction method that you may use to magically “reduce by a dress size in one treatment.” The treatment seems to involve wrapping oneself in a heat-inducing cling film material full of essential oils that trigger lipolysis, which breaks down fats. It promises, in other words, a literal rather than a figurative shrinking—perhaps the only type of shrinking now deemed acceptable in a society ruled by what Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012), calls “the extrovert ideal.”
… Perhaps, on reflection, the violet is rather a good metaphor for shyness that is about much more than just shrinking away.
Then, he concluded the article with this;
… I see shyness as neither a boon nor a burden, but simply part of the oddness of being human. The subject of shyness is a fertile ground for exploring bigger questions about what it means to be thinking, feeling selves, aware that we are sharing a planet with billions of other such selves. Perhaps the oddest part of the many odd things about shyness is that, unlike other anxious states like fear or shame, it never strikes when we are alone. Shyness can be a source of pain and loneliness, of course, but it also shows how linked we are, and how much we matter to each other.
That’s the secrets of shyness. And here are the cost of shyness
…The costs of shyness cut deeper than material success, and they take on different forms over a lifetime. A shy childhood may be a series of lost opportunities. Think of the child who wants so much to wear a soccer uniform and play just like all the other kids but can’t muster the wherewithal to become part of a group. …The self-selection into solitary activities further reduces the likelihood of the child developing social skills and self-confidence.
Shy kids also have to endure teasing and peer rejection.
…Whether inherited or acquired, shyness predisposes to loneliness. It is the natural consequence of decades spent shunning others due to the angst of socializing. Reams of research show that loneliness and isolation can lead to mental and physical decline, even a hastened death.
Shyness is the awkwardness certain people feel when approaching or being approached by others. Unlike introverts, who feel well energized by being alone, shy people do want to be other people, but they just don’t know how or they feel anxiety.
The thing is your personal experience or even the environment might trigger or influence the way you feel around people.
If you had a bad experience at a party once, you would always feel awkward in parties.
If an introvert decides not attend an event, one knows introverts love alone time while a shy person decides not to attend due to fear.
You are an introvert because you chose to enjoy your own company and not because you are scared of what people might think of you.
Another point is, one is confident while other isn’t; Yes, an introvert is very confident of herself.
Not only that, Introverts are sometimes known of have a sense of humour once we relax in a crowd.
Shy people are known to have low self-esteem, they are not confident. It’s more like saying they don’t believe in themselves.
Also Introversion is alone with yourself and shyness is loneliness being with yourself.
Okay, so, with my little way to hoping to convince you, you might still feel both terms are still the same.
Here is why.
Both seems to be Anti-social
Just like shyness can keep one from been in a social gathering, so also can introversion.
It can be confusing when your friend who keeps telling that she is an introvert couldn’t attend your birthday party. Someone who is anti-social is regarded as a shy person.
I mean why would you not want to attend a celebration? You just want to be with yourself? Yeah, right. Just tell me you are a shy person.
Introverts might be used to hearing these words from people.
They both hardly talk
This might be another reason why you might consider both terms as same.
They both are quiet: Two persons can be sitting down on both ends of a bench. Both are quiet. They did not even try to make an attempt to talk to each other. Let’s now imagine both are one of a kind (a boy and a girl). A socially active individual would consider them both shy of each other by just looking at them from a distance.
Blog posts that also explains the difference between shyness and introversion
It wouldn’t be the right thing to do if I didn’t show you some articles I came across while writing this article. These articles were helpful to me and I hope you find them both helpful and interesting
Prankit Jain who holds a B.tech from Indian Institute of Technology was able to give a well-detailed answer to this question on Quora. He felt differentiated them base on confident level. To him, an introvert wouldn’t mind opening up to you if she finds you interesting. A shy person would rather look else where for comfort.
I found SeanCooper (The Shyness and Social Anxiety Guy) towards the end of my research. He explained that an introvert is one with a personal preference, you prefer to have a “me time” while a shy person is constantly worried of what others might think if you spend time with them. Two words I picked from him are preference and fear.
This article or blog post was focused on three headings; Introversion, Shyness and Social Anxiety. The “perfect” introvert was explained in the article. A shy person was defined as author Susan Cain explain in her book. You are advised to see a Psychologist if shyness is preventing from finding fulfilment in yourself.
Debra Kelly, in this article not only give a full gist on both terms but as tells us shyness might cause mental illness. There are extreme cases where shyness can actually be a diagnosis. To her, an introvert stays at home on a Friday night because she chooses so while a shy person wished she was out with people but still at home.
I could go on and on with almost all articles I read.
The good thing is, I was able to understand myself more.
I am glad you are able to know difference between shyness and introversion.
Shy? Introverted? Do you exhibit both traits or just one? Why do you think both are different? Life experience that might have helped differentiate between the two traits?
Something for you to do
Can you list out the difference between shyness and introversion you knew and also the similarities?