You have been asked to give a presentation in front of your entire company. Do you see this as an opportunity to further your career, or do you feel violently ill? If the thought of speaking to a crowd makes you sick, then your shyness is controlling you.
You probably already know that you have issues with being a shy person. But have you ever thought that you might be an introvert too? There are hidden differences between the two personalities, but there are variants that are not noticeable. Many automatically assume that someone shy is also an introvert, but this is not always the case.
When meeting new people, neither a shy person nor an introvert is ready for this challenge. But being shy doesn’t mean you prefer to spend time alone, but introverts want to spend time alone. Two children are sitting in a classroom, one is shrinking, and the other is an introvert.
When it’s time to come to the chalkboard to solve a problem, the introverted child refuses because they want to stay at their desk. But the shy child is also reduced because they fear everyone will stare at them. This does not mean that a shy child does not want to participate. This is what they cannot do.
Now, although both children declined the invitation to go to the chalkboard, their refusal was not at all similar. Using this example, it’s easy to see that introverts and shy people may look the same, but their mindsets are entirely different.
Shyness can make you afraid to step out of your comfort zone. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to do something. They were being shy and being an introvert are not the same thing, even though they look the same.
An introvert enjoys spending time alone and becomes emotionally drained after spending too much time with others. A shy person does not necessarily want to be alone but is afraid to communicate with others.
Introverts don’t want to do anything like they want to be alone. Is there a way to overcome shyness and introversion?
Genetics and environmental matters
Shyness psychologists and counselors worldwide have researched the differences between shyness and being an introvert. Many people think that shyness is a personality trait. Are people born introverted, or do genetics and environment shape these traits?
According to a study published by the “Chicago Tribune” newspaper, it is estimated that about 30% of your shyness may be due to your genetic makeup. The environment around you will cause the other 70%. When both genetic components are combined with your domain, it can make you shy and reserved.
Let’s consider a child on a playground. The child finds that all the running, screaming, and commotion scares them. Therefore, they prefer to play alone, where they can control everything better.
They soon learn that they prefer solitude, so they develop it as a matter of course. Fast forward 20 years later. A shy child is a person who is alone and does not communicate much with others.
This does not mean they are cold without friends, even good employees. But all this comes from the fact that this person prefers to be alone because other people bother them.
But did you know that these actions you learned can be useless? Counselors have found that they can give their clients coping strategies through psychological therapies.
Consider the introvert. Are they like shy person who learns this kind of loneliness from an early age? Is this person a victim of his environment as a nervous individual?
The answer is no. An introvert does not develop in the same capacity as a shy person. People tend to categorize individuals as either introverts or extroverts, thinking that these two personality types are nothing alike. So it’s easy to blame genetics for being introverted.
As a result, much research has been done on introvert and extrovert brains, and such studies have been carried out in Discover Magazine. An introvert, their brain’s reward center is stimulated differently.
When you have a great week at work, you reward yourself by going to a fun party. Or you can buy yourself a new dress when you lose 20 lbs.
When you reward yourself, you release the neurotransmitter dopamine in your brain. Before you even purchase a new item, your brain is already getting a buzz from this vital chemical. But researchers have found that introverts don’t get nearly as euphoric from this burst of brain chemicals as extroverts.
Describing the difference between an introvert and an extrovert
The distinction between how the brain processes these rewards is quite essential. Imagine that you and your sister are opposite. Your sister is the party’s life and the extrovert, but you tend to be more of an introvert. You both get invited to a big event with local legends.
Your sister is so excited about having a party that she immediately starts imagining food, fun, and good music. But you are not so happy about this invitation. You automatically start thinking about how loud music makes you nervous. You don’t like small talk with people you don’t know.
You start to think that this event will take more effort than it’s worth, but your sister is feeling her little effort for a fun night. Do you see how the two brains work differently? While this may appear as personality differences, it has everything to do with how the brain responds to stimuli.
Because the brain processes information differently for introverts, it’s a genetic link that prevents them from going to a party. But what about a shy person? Are their brains to blame?
No, a shy person has learned withdrawal behaviors, but an introvert’s brain processes things differently.
The contrast between shyness and introversion
A shy person can also be an introvert by nature to mix things up. Perhaps this person prefers to stay away from the light and not be alone. Moreover, some introverts do not struggle with shyness. They don’t mind going out with others but prefer to fly solo.
There is no right or wrong personality type if it doesn’t hold you back from doing what you want. Being shy and reserved is okay if it doesn’t cause any issues.
However, if you need to overcome your shyness to land the job you’ve always dreamed of, there are ways to help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has proven to be amazingly effective at retraining the brain. CBT works well on shy people but not so great with introverts.
See, introverts often struggle with an irrevocable genetic bond. A shy person overcomes the behaviors learned from his environment.
A famous extrovert who exhibits shyness
You’ve probably heard of the famous singer Barbra Streisand. He is known for his larger-than-life personality. However, according to Closer Weekly, few people know that she has not been very public for 27 years. There are a few exceptions.
He won’t go on stage because he’s afraid he might forget his lines. Once at a concert, it went empty. It’s easy to see that Streisand has an extroverted personality, but she’s also shy because a previous incident changed her mind and made her fear it would happen again.
Let’s look at another situation. The phone is ringing. The shy extrovert pauses before answering. They wonder who is on the other line and do they want to talk to them, but they want to find out.
Unfortunately, they are too afraid to answer, so they miss the call by picking up the line late. A shy introvert gets a phone call. They immediately think they can’t answer the phone because they’re afraid they’ll make a fool of themselves by talking. Not wanting to talk to anyone, they decide to leave it on voicemail.
Both men denied the challenge. Both people had a shy nature, but one was introverted, and one was extroverted. Although their reasons for rejecting the calls varied, the result was that the call was not answered.
Final thoughts on understanding the difference between introversion and shyness
Shyness and introversion are considered the same thing. Shyness involves the fear of negative evaluation (a milder form of social anxiety). At the same time, introversion refers to a tendency to be overstimulated and the need to be alone to gain energy.
Shyness is the concern of bad judgment. Introversion likes soothing, extra-stimulating situations. Although the two cross many lines and often seem intertwined, the reasons behind these two personalities are opposed.
Remember Albert Einstein, the most famous physicist and the one with a brain all around? The genius received the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work in the field of physics. He often said that the solitude brought by a quiet life awakened his mind at this time.
Where would society be today if he had developed the theory of relativity? You are only limited if you allow yourself to be.
You can do or be anything you want, but you must change your mindset. It doesn’t matter if you are shy or introverted. How to cope with these character and personality traits, everything you need to do, and more.