So, it’s no secret that introverts love to be alone. And when they DO go to a party you’ll most likely find them hugging the perimeter of the room maybe talking to one or two people. Upon meeting an introvert you may notice that they seem a bit reserved and quiet. And introverts don’t really go out and mingle much, they like to keep to themselves for the most part. All of this begs the question: Are introverts really just SHY?
As a child growing up, my preference to stay in my room watching SpongeBob and reading instead of going outside to play with the other kids was often looked at as me being shy. I was often told that I needed to “come out of my shell” or that I was “antisocial” amongst other things. I was made to feel like my fondness for solitude was looked at as a negative, something that needed fixing. It wasn’t long until I began to internalize these labels and think that something was wrong with me and I started to try to change. I went outside when I didn’t want to and engaged in conversation that I didn’t enjoy and I HATED IT.
It wasn’t until more recent years that I realized that nothing was wrong with me. I had known of the word “introvert”, but only sort of knew what it meant. I thought that it was just another way of saying “antisocial” or “loner”. I’d later learn that those words weren’t even the proper way to describe what an introvert was. And although introverts aren’t the biggest social butterflies, they aren’t even necessarily shy. Here’s what I want people to know about introverts.
INTROVERT DOESN’T MEAN “SHY”
As someone who identifies as an introvert I know this to be fact. While I CAN be shy in certain situations, I don’t consider myself a generally shy person. Not all introverts are shy and breaking news, some extroverts ARE shy. So being an introvert or an extrovert actually has nothing to do with it. The words “shy” and “introvert” aren’t even synonymous. To be broad, an introvert is simply someone who is quicker to become overstimulated in social settings. That’s it. Are some introverts shy? Sure. Can introverts sometimes be socially awkward? (Raises hand) Definitely! But, as a whole are introverts really just shy? Of course not!
INTROVERTS CAN BE QUITE CHATTY
Introverts may seem like they are shy because a lot of times they don’t do much talking. But, when we’re talking about something that we really care about, good luck getting us to shut up! Introverts LOVE to talk, but they HATE small talk. Like SO much. An example of small talk would be talking about the weather or what you had for lunch. That’s not very stimulating conversation. An introvert would much rather talk to you about something that MATTERS to you. We enjoy getting to know people on a much deeper level. We like for you to get “real” with us.
An introvert would much rather talk to you about your passions, your insecurities or your quirks. Talk to an introvert about something cool like how you think that there might be life on other planets, NOT about how much rain we’ve been getting lately. An introvert would much rather remain silent than to engage in small talk or other topics that don’t really interest them. Small talk feels like a chore to introverts, quickly burning us out, whereas stimulating conversation is just that. Stimulating.
INTROVERTS LIKE TO SOCIALIZE
Contrary to popular belief, introverts actually like to socialize too! Just like the extrovert, introverts enjoy being around people. But here’s the thing, we have to be prepared. As I mentioned before, introverts are more easily overstimulated than extroverts. With that in mind, introverts have to make sure that they are properly recharged. This is where the “solitude” part of introversion comes in.
Introverts use their alone time to rejuvenate themselves and quite honestly? That can take some time. Depending on how much they overstimulated themselves the last time, it could take a while to recover. Sometimes I feel like I need a good month before I go back out. But sometimes I only need a few days or maybe even a few hours. It varies.
There may also be times when introverts choose not to socialize because they are saving their energy reserves for something else. This means that maybe they are fully recharged, but still say no to socializing because they’d rather spend that energy on a different upcoming event. For instance, if someone were to invite me to their birthday party which falls on December 22nd, I may say no because I wanna make sure that I have enough energy to hang out with my family on Christmas day. It’s not personal, it’s strategic.
INTROVERTS CAN BE SLOW WITH THEIR WORDS
Introverts aren’t always “quick responders”, if you will. This means that sometimes introverts need to think out what they want to say for a bit before they actually get it out. So imagine how intimidating it can be when the pace of the conversation is fast and an introvert has something to add? We could just jump in like double dutch, but then we run the risk of not articulating ourselves correctly. So when faced with this situation, an introvert is more likely to just be quiet and let the group talk. It doesn’t mean that we’re shy, we’re more so being cautious if anything. This is why we thrive in smaller groups. It’s easier for us to take our time and think about what we want to say.
So, those were a few things that I wanted to say to hopefully clear up some confusion about whether introverts are shy or not. Do you consider yourself to be shy? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Comment down below!