Shyness and introversion are often mixed up due to how similar they seem, but one easy way to tell them apart would be to refer to their opposites. In fact, the opposite of a shy person is an outgoing person; while the opposite of an introvert is an extrovert.
Both outgoing people and extroverts have good social skills, and for this reason, most people confuse being shy with being an introvert, yet that is not the case.
Shyness stems from fear. Most shy people are afraid of making a bad impression on others, so they tend to avoid social interactions.
An introvert, on the other hand, is a person who simply likes being alone; which does not necessarily mean they are shy.
In social gatherings, introverts might get over-stimulated, prompting them to isolate themselves in order to regain energy, and process their thoughts and emotions.
Not all shy people are introverts, and not all introverts are shy. So which one are you?
- You Appreciate the Conversation but Not the Crowds
If you have no problem holding a one-on-one conversation, you are an outgoing person.
A shy person wouldn’t even manage the situation because of their fear of being judged in a negative way.
As an outgoing introvert, one-on-one conversations would not scare you, but when there is more than one speaker, meaning a crowd, you might not have the energy for all of these people. Let’s say your limit would be two per conversation.
- You’re Rather Silent during Meetings but Would Follow Up
An outgoing introvert would find meetings mentally exhausting. That doesn’t mean they are shy; but that they prefer to ruminate their thoughts before expressing them, which can be hard to do at a meeting. So if you do not participate in the discussion, yet follow up with co-workers after sorting through your ideas, you are by no means shy. You simply had to form your opinion on the matter.
- You’re Not Afraid of Seeing Fresh Faces
An outgoing introvert wouldn’t run away from meeting new people and making connections.
They might take some time before self introducing, but only in order to study their new surroundings and make sure they trust the other person before starting the conversation.
Before introducing themselves, they would comment for instance on the other person’s achievements, ask a couple of questions, and then say their name is so-and-so. Outgoing introverts usually seek common interests to spark a connection; they are not afraid of communication, as long as it’s on a one-on-one basis.
Shy people, however, hide and avoid confrontation. Unlike the outgoing introvert, they are not picky about people and subjects, but rather timid by nature and anxious in all situations.
- You Prioritize Deeper Ties over Superficial Encounters
Your lack of friends doesn’t make you a shy person. Notably, introverts do find it difficult to meet and be at ease around strangers, but that’s because they don’t have enough energy and need to stay alone to recharge. This doesn’t mean they’re antisocial, but rather selectively social.An outgoing introvert is happy to form new ties as long as they have something in common with their counterparts. So if instead of making lots of acquaintances, you find yourself inclined to cultivate deeper ties with a select few and you genuinely believe that working with smaller groups develops stronger connections, you are simply an outgoing introvert.
- You’re Good at Listening
Introverts are typically very observant and aware of their surroundings, not to mention they can be really great listeners. This allows them to mind minute details, and give valuable advice, which consecutively makes other people feel laid back around them.
So, for instance, if you receive a phone call and you are like: “Ah, this is [person’s name]. I wonder how they’re doing.” Then you do pick up, maybe after you let the phone rings for a while, and you would let the person on the other end do most of the talking while you just listen, you are not shy at all!
A shy person would shudder at the thought of picking up the phone because they wouldn’t want to sound stupid; and they’d probably let it go to voicemail.
6,You Don’t Mind Being Alone
In most cases, a shy person would spend most of their time alone because of their fear of socializing, and they would feel either bored or/and lonely. But an outgoing introvert chooses to spend time on their own because they would need to process their thoughts and emotions, as well as to re-energize. They have no problem with staying alone.
If you find yourself for example having an internal monologue in your mind, and never fail to entertain yourself in moments of solitude, chances are you’re an introvert, and not alone due to shyness.
Being an introvert does not equal being shy. A shy person is afraid of interacting with others. They might lack self-esteem or have a confidence issue, which reflects on how they communicate with people.
And not all introverts feel that way; some in fact are outgoing but they’re picky about those who get to see their true nature. An outgoing introvert isn’t afraid of being misjudged; they are open to make new relationships as long as it doesn’t involve a large group of people. Outgoing introverts value friendship and enjoy the company of their trusted ones.
It’s important to spot the difference because, unlike introversion, shyness can cause you problems on the long run and should be handled with the help of an expert.