We are currently living through a massive societal and cultural shift. Up until a few years ago, extroverts were celebrated and viewed as perfect human beings the likes of which we should all aspire. Now, the shift has brought to the attention of the public eye the introverts, the shy, and the socially anxious, making them the new ‘cool people.’ But can you tell the subtle differences between these categories? Let’s find out what it means to be introvert vs shy.
1. One Is Born, the Other Is Made
Wonder which is which? It’s simple, actually. Experts say that introversion is a character trait with which some people are born. That’s why it never goes away. This is also the reason why introverts feel good about it and can also draw energy from being alone with a small group of people.
On the other hand, shyness or social anxiety is something that you gain along the way. An individual may experience different things in life where people are judgmental, mean or even cruel. This teaches him that he is too inadequate to be around certain people, so he stops interacting as much.
2. Shy People Can Be Extroverts
There are a lot of cases when the extroverts we see and interact with every day are, in fact, true shy people at heart. We just don’t see it because they refuse to show that side of themselves. Their reasoning is complex. Some are extroverts because they love people despite their shyness, because they want to make friends or to be liked.
Introverts, evidently, can never to extroverts at the same time.
3. Who Loves Solitude?
In the battle introvert vs shy, only the introverts actually like to be alone, because their native character trait dictates it so. Shy or socially anxious people, on the other hand, feel depressed and sad when they are alone. They might even blame themselves for not being able to make enough friends or find a romantic partner given their shyness.
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4. Worrying About What Others Think
Again, out of the two categories, only shy people actually have a problem with what people think about them. Introverts know where they stand and who they are and are happy with it. If somebody has a problem, it’s certainly not theirs.
When it comes to shy people, however, you have to think of their social interactions as small-scale performances. They are very hard on themselves and believe they need to be perfect. No gaps in the conversation, no awkward pauses, no checking your phone or your watch. They feel responsible for entertaining the people around them so that they can finally be accepted into a group or society as a whole. Therefore, what other people believe about them is highly important. When that opinion is found to be negative, it can be crushing.
Here are a few of the things that characterize the dynamics of introvert vs shy. One thing they have in common, though is that neither is yet to be fully accepted by society. It is true that the view is changing, in the sense that we are trying to make shy people, introverts, and nerds the new jocks and prom queens, but it will be a long way before we get there.