Introverts and Being Shy

938847_shy_happinessThe concepts of introvert and extrovert had me confused for a long time. I have been told many times in my life that I’m “shy”. And that always struck me as odd, because I have rarely felt shy in my life. And those of you who know me would probably wonder why people would call me shy.

I love people, I love public speaking, yet I’m an introvert. I was convinced over the years that being “shy” and an “introvert” meant that I don’t give off the vibe that I like to be around people, or that I don’t like to talk to people, or that I’m afraid of socializing.

That’s the farthest from the truth! Being an introvert doesn’t mean any of these things! It just means that I need time to be alone, to think and recuperate. I am also “in my head” a lot. It took me a long time to come to terms with being a social introvert, and beat the label of shyness that was mistakenly given to me.

Now, when people say that I’m “shy”, I chuckle inside. If they only know how not-shy I am, and have never been. And when they call my kids “shy” for not stepping up and talking right away, I definitely chuckle at that. My introvert middle child is like me. She is not shy at all. She needs time to figure out where she fits, and she needs to know that she’ll be able to retreat to her own space when it’s time. She’s loves people, just like me. She also likes her space and introspective time.

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7 Responses to “Introverts and Being Shy”

  1. Heather Says:

    We have only one extrovert in our family of five, so she is the one who struggles most. However my husband and I both struggled growing up with the stereotypes surrounding introverts. I WAS shy as well, hubby never was.My middle child is a massive introvert who also loves people–which confuses people constantly. My son, well he is SHY as well as being an introvert and my extroverted older child is quite often shy when she fist meets people.

  2. Chris Berry Says:

    I am also an introvert but for most of my life I’ve made my living in sales. People frequently fail to understand the basic difference between introversion and shyness. I also have had problems when people interpret my introversion as arrogance. I’ve written quite a few posts on the subject of introversion, and the single most popular item on my blog is an article about my three year old son.
    Is Introversion An Inherited Trait

  3. M Green Says:

    Oh, MAN!!! I am TOTALLY an introvert, yet, to see me once a week, you’d think I was an extrovert.

    I heard it defined this way: Introverts recharge by time alone, while extroverts recharge by time with others.

    I love this definition…

  4. Luke Holzmann Says:

    I agree with the “recharge alone” definition as well. But I have no problems public speaking, blogging, doing interviews, leading stuff.

    I do not like big parties though. I always go off to a corner and wait for something to talk with me one on one. …unless my crazy streak turns on, in which case I make it a point to “cut in” on as many couples as possible.

    I’m just sayin’…

    ~Luke

  5. Crystal Says:

    I come from a family of introverts and I’ve always been jealous. They seem to be able to be who they are with or without other people around. I’m an extrovert. I always feel more right with the world when I’m engaged with other people. I have a boisterous personality like an untrained puppy jumping up and licking people’s faces. I think it’s because I’ve been so overwhelming that I became shy early on. Not everybody appreciates my enthusiasm and even though I’m old enough to know better I still live and die in the approval of others. Yep, I’m the loudest shy person you’ll ever meet.

  6. iMom Says:

    I think people sometimes confuse being a quiet thinker with being an introvert or shy. It’s possible to be both, or just one or the other. Some of it has to do with culture as well. Americans are mostly extroverts, who like to talk to people about almost anything. But I remember being brought up to say things only if they were important or helpful. Chatting about all kinds of silly nonsense was discouraged. I also grew up often thinking about my responses before saying them. But I was not afraid to do public speaking or to perform or sing on stage. Ironically, many Americans fear public speaking.

  7. Kris Bordessa Says:

    I would not ever have pegged you as “shy”! I am an introvert, as is my eldest. My youngest is crazy extroverted. It’s hard for him, I know. The book “Raising Your Spirited Child” has wonderful insights on both introverts and extroverts, and I found it to be very helpful in helping all of us cope with our different styles.


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