How to tell if you are Introverted or Shy?

As someone who is a self-proclaimed recovering shy gal, I felt a dutiful calling to launch The Sassification as a resource to help my fellow Shys and those who want to amp up their self-confidence.

But lately, I've been really annoyed by some people who are quickly dismissing their socially avoidant behavior as simply a characteristic of introversion. 

While Susan Cain's book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," created more awareness, acceptance, and even empowerment for those who are introverted, it inadvertently made it less acceptable for someone to admit they are shy. 

Now more than ever, many Shys feel even compelled to hide under the umbrella of introversion. After all, wouldn't it be less awkward to tell someone that you prefer to be quiet because you are introverted rather than admit that you encounter pangs of anxiety and feelings of rejection and judgement that you don't belong in social situations?

Shyness can not only be a lonely path, but it is also a vexing issue for many people who really long to socialize with ease and confidence. So let's be clear here on the truth behind what qualifies someone as shy versus introverted versus a shytrovert because acceptance of yourself and where you are in your journey is truly key to overcoming shyness.

What is an Introvert?

Introverts are people who have a preference for being alone or with very intimate groups where they don't have to exert a lot of energy to entertain their peers. They are energetically and mentally drained by social encounters, and they simply need alone time to recharge. They truly enjoy thinking, strategizing, processing ideas, reading and any number of activities that can be completed in solitude. According to shyness and social withdraw researchers Louis Schmidt and Arnold Buss at the University of Texas, the true distinguishing quality of an introvert is a weak desire or motive to be sociable. 

What is Shyness?

Shy people feel anxiety, tension or fearful in social settings. Just as anyone who has encountered a painful experience, they rightfully want to avoid these uncomfortable interactions. Shys may also encounter physical symptoms of anxiety, such as sweating, blushing and/or a racing heart. Some Shys may also qualify themselves as introverts simply due to their habit of avoiding social encounters, but deep inside, for some, they may really long to be the center of attention or to interact easily and often with others. 

So how would you label yourself? 

Regardless of whether you are an Introvert or Shy, I want to reinforce that you do NOT need to change. Everyone has a place in our richly diverse culture, and in fact, it is my true belief that our differences are what make each of us so interesting. However, if you are a Shy who wants to free yourself of this fear, know that my goal is to help you break through your pain to build your confidence.

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Want advice for a specific issue related to your shyness? Send me an email, and I'll try to cover it in an upcoming post. 

Cole HernandezComment