Is social anxiety and shyness the same as being Introverted?

Is social anxiety and shyness the same as being introverted? I would like to begin this post with a very simple explanation of what makes introvert and extrovert different. Introversion means that you get your energy recharged by alone time. Extroversion means you get your energy recharged by being around other people. You are either born an introvert or an extrovert. There is no right or wrong way to be.

It is very easy to assume that introversion equates having social anxiety or being shy, but that would be inaccurate. Introverts when finding themselves in a social situation find it very draining and need time to recharge afterwards.

Introverts also have a preference for deeper conversations over small talk, which means we prefer smaller groups than the larger one. In larger social gathering, we will tend to stay quiet, observe, listen, think about the discussion. We like to internalize our thoughts before speaking them. We will listen and encourage instead of talking about everyone or anyone with anyone who is willing to listen. It’s not that we don’t like to talk, on the contrary, it’s that we talk only when we have something valuable to contribute. We are comchair-1850612_1920fortable with silence so we do not seek to cover it with words.

I often wish that more people would take the time to process and understand what is going on around them before interacting or reacting to a situation.

So in conclusion, social anxiety and shyness has nothing to do with introversion.


4 thoughts on “Is social anxiety and shyness the same as being Introverted?

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  1. I’m a definite introvert with a like for smaller groups. I do find it draining to be at a social event, even in a group of 4 people, and after I’ve been with them for like 4 hours, I feel wiped out afterwards and need a few days to recharge. I find it hard to keep up with people when I’m at one event with them and they start inviting me to another one for tomorrow or the day after.

    This is a hallmark cliche of an introvert, but I’ve been told I’m a good writer. I do feel most comfortable expressing myself by written words.

    As for being sometimes verbally clumsy when I talk face to face with someone, this comes from social anxiety. I often overthink what I’m about to say, or always have an inexplicable fear that whatever I say will come out wrong.

    Your post has left me wondering if it’s possible to separate my introvertism and my social anxiety. The two tend to almost always blend together and at times I can’t tell if I feel anxious because I’m simply shy talking to a new person that I’m unfamiliar with (being introverted) or if I feel anxious because I fear negative judgement or repercussions from the social interaction (having social anxiety).

    1. It has indeed become a cliché, but I think we make better writers simply because we internalise our thoughts and it makes it easier to put things into written words than spoken ones, which tend to be more on the spot and without forethought.

      I find when in group situation, I now tend to get one person’s attention in a deeper conversation or stay on the sideline and let others talk while I listen. In time, I have walked away from feeling pressured or obligated to participate in an extrovert fashion and anyone who refuses to understand or judges isn’t worth my time. Of course, I am extremely lucky to work for an introvert boss who doesn’t force networking!

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