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Difference between shyness and introversion

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The difference between shyness and introversion you might not know (But should)

Is there really any difference between shyness and introversion? Of course there is! Both words are not the same. People tends to mix up both terms, I do too.

Difference between shyness and introversion
Difference between shyness and introversion

Okay, so you think there is difference between shyness and introversion you should know?

Okay, Let me share a bit of my knowledge (got this through learning, a little of research and personal experience).

I’m not trying to create new meanings or phrases on my own to differentiate between the two terms, Shyness and Introversion.

That’s not what I am doing.

In fact, I exhibit both traits, I am both shy and introverted (You can be both too or not)

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
    Introversion is a personality trait (Insert link). The attribute of introversion is the tendency to gather strength from being with yourself.

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When one starts to lose energy staying around too much people, boredom sets in and the feeling of finding solitude from being yourself overwhelms you.

Really …”Introversion is a state of being boring?” seems to be the question I end up asking myself at the end.

Sometimes, I form a little crowd with people around to test if I am actually boring. People end up telling me, I am a fun person to be with and this proves that I am just introverted and not boring.

Everyone does not have the same personality trait – twin are also very different from each other.

If you being with people drains your energy, your friend’s energy might be drained when he or she is alone.

The person is not an alien.

  • Extroversion
    The person is simply an extrovert – extroversion is the opposite of introversion. The “inverted introversion” as I would call it.

But, if given a definition where energy is not used, extroversion is the quality of being outgoing and directing attention to other things. Being with oneself is not a thing for extroverts.

They can’t just focus on themselves.

Of course, you would still need to focus on you later on.

But in my little research and personal experience, you can hardly see an extrovert who will excuse herself in a group just to take some “me time”.

It is possible, you might have experience that. But around me, I have not seen such.

Read also – Enjoy working in an extrovert-oriented workplace

  • Ambivert
    I’ve explained two terms (Mostly like give my own definitions to what you might have known).
    There is someone who exhibit both traits.

The term used to describe such a person is ambivert. People with this trait have the attributes of both introversion and extrovert.

They are in between. The middle man if I would use a business term.


The state of being shy. I can’t count the number of times I’ve called a shy person. Well, I was born introverted but I wasn’t born shy.

Difference between shyness and introversion
Difference between shyness and introversion

Wikipedia defined shyness as the feeling of lack of comfort especially when a person is around other people.

It is also called diffidence and it is said to be an attribute of people who have low self-esteem.

Shyness have secrets and cost

Excerpt from PsychologyToday

The secrets:

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.

Difference between shyness and introversion
Difference between shyness and introversion

Visit Psychology Today; The Cost of Shyness

The difference between shyness and introversion

Also from Psychology Today,

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.

Read also  There is difference between alone and lonely

Difference between shyness and introversion
Difference between shyness and introversion

Why you think shyness is same as introversion

Okay, so, with my little way to hoping to convince you, you might still feel both terms are still the same.

Here is why.

  1. 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.
  2. They both hardly talk
    This might be another reason why you might consider both terms as same.
  3. They both are quietTwo 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.

Your turn!
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?

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