{Shy Girl’s Manifesto} Shy Versus Introverted, the Basics

{Shy Girl’s Manifesto} Shy Versus Introverted, the Basics

Shy Versus Introverted, the Basics

Source: Uploaded by user via Liz on Pinterest

Quote on being shy

Being shy and being introverted are not the same. 

However, they often overlap. I happen to be a bit of both.

Being shy means your fears hold you back from social situations you’d like to engage in. You long to join the group, to speak up in class, to be a part of the fun, but you’re scared to.

An introvert on the other hand, doesn’t always want to join the group. They’re happy to stay by themselves. They’d often rather work all day quietly than run around town socializing. Too much social interaction drains an introvert, they need time to emotionally recover and recharge.

Extroverts quite literally live their lives out loud. They think best when they can speak issues out loud to others. They thrive off of being around other people. The very social interactions that drain an introvert, energize an extrovert. While introverts love to sit alone and think, extroverts would rather talk to strangers.

An introverted person is not necessarily shy. They may have no fears of social interaction at all, they simply choose not to always participate in it.

A shy person is not necessarily an introvert. They may long for endless social interaction. An extrovert in waiting could be lurking under the shy camouflage.

Fitting Into a Category… 

I struggled throughout much of my life with where I fall within these definitions. I spent much of my life absolutely 100% shy. My fears, my shyness, held me back endlessly.

I do long for social interaction, but in limited quantities. While I love socializing, after I do I always need a long recovery. No matter how much I may have enjoyed myself at the time, socializing wipes me out. I used to wonder what was wrong with me, why I needed to “recover” after too much engagement. After learning more about what it means to be an introvert I realized that this need for recovery wasn’t because I was weak or fragile, it’s simply my hardwiring.

Understanding the shyness I battled throughout my life, how it developed, how it affected me, and how it actually brings me strength, has helped me to embrace it. Now I long to help others do the same. 

Shyness is a feeling in one’s soul. It’s the nerves we live with, our ability to speak clearly when we need to, the fluttering in our hearts, the resentfulness we feel when we don’t express ourselves the way we wanted to, the consistency with which these nerves plague our days. It affects the way we approach the world, the people in it, the professions we choose, the events we go to, the friends we have, the things that make us feel happy and at peace. It’s sometimes obvious to everyone around us and sometimes it’s only something we can feel for ourselves, deep in our souls.

What does seem to be universal is the detrimental way in which our world addresses shyness.  “Get over it” seem to be the three words most associated with it.

It’s those three words that I resented more than anything growing up as a shy girl.  My shyness now walks with me as a friend, instead of the enemy it used to be, and “getting over it” had nothing to do with this change.

In the next Shy Girl’s Manifesto post I’ll talk about how shyness showed up in my childhood.

Are you shy or introverted (or a little of both)?










Top photo courtesy of miamispecialk.

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18 Responses to {Shy Girl’s Manifesto} Shy Versus Introverted, the Basics

  1. Love this post! I was shy as a kid, but I wouldn’t say I’ve been shy since high school. Definitely HIGHLY introverted and it’s been a struggle for me as well. Lately though, I’ve really begun to see the power in being introverted rather than extroverted. Love you! xo

    • Liz says:

      Thanks Stephenie! Cool that you’re able to so clearly distinguish when the shyness ended. Yes, so much power in being introverted once you embrace it! XO

  2. Elvira says:

    I believe this describes me to a tee! Most of my friends are extroverts and I think I’m drawn to their fearlessness. I tend to feel like their very nature is something I wish I had, but then I do cherish my introvert time alone, thinking and recovering though.

    • Liz says:

      I feel the same EXACT way Elvira! I definitely get drawn to extroverts and have often felt jealous of their fearlessness. Now I’m okay with it all and sometimes I’m able to channel my own inner extrovert 🙂

  3. Jennifer says:

    This is such a powerful post because I’m a closet-shy gal. I didn’t realize that I was shy because so many people think of me as a live-out-loud person, yet when I would go home drained, I wondered what was wrong with me. Now I tell people – yup, I’m shy but the minute I meet you, I already love you! It’s such a balance given my business and also the lifestyle I lead. I have to continue to be ok with the fact that I AM shy and not deny is – rather embrace it and be honest about it. Thank you for a great article, Liz. xoxo

    • Liz says:

      Hey Jen, you have such a great video presence I never would have guessed you’re shy, but now that you say it I can kinda see it – just one of your many wonderful components! Thanks for sharing and it’s nice to get to know you a little better! XO

  4. Talene says:

    Liz! I love this article! I am definitely both shy and an introvert. I always prefer smaller crowds as opposed to being around big groups of people. When I was younger I always thought I was just anti-social and there was just something wrong with me. As I got older and understood myself better, I realized there was absolutely nothing wrong with me but that I, as you say, was just wired differently. Now, I embrace my shyness and the fact that I’m more introverted because it’s who I am. And I love that when I meet people I connect with, I open up almost immediately, completely opposite of my shy self! Thanks for sharing a part of you with all os us 🙂 xoxo

    • Liz says:

      Hey Talene! It’s funny how when we’re younger the message is always that there’s something wrong with us if we’re shy or introverted. I think shy/introverted people would thrive much faster if they weren’t consistently receiving this message when they’re young and instead being given messages of empowerment. Thanks for sharing a part of you Talene!! XO

  5. Shy Girl’s Manifesto & The New York Times! | Gentle Living says:

    […] Being shy does not mean you’re a social recluse. Personally, I have a ton of friends. I may meet and bond with them differently than someone who knows nothing of shyness but that likely has more to do with being introverted than shy.  […]

  6. Jasmine says:

    I recently discovered your site and I am so happy that I stumbled upon it. Your articles describe me almost exactly. I self-identify as shy and I am a bit of an introvert. Sometimes I love social interaction and other times I just want to be alone. When I try to explain that to my friends and family they don’t understand it, they think I’m being “stuck up.” It’s so nice to know that I am not alone in feeling this way!

    • Liz says:

      Hey Jasmine, you are definitely not alone! Shy & introverted people seemed to get confused for being “stuck up” quite a bit. With the amount of shy & introverted people in the world you would think we would be better understood 😉 Understanding myself and my needs more has helped me to explain it more freely and openly to others so there’s less confusion and people don’t think I’m just blowing them off. Keep respecting your boundaries and others will learn to respect them too. So glad to have you here!

  7. Lorraina says:

    This is the story of my life right now. When I was reading the definition of an introvert, I thought, “Wow this sounds very much like me”. I’m still learning to embrace my introverted characteristic but I do enjoy sitting down and just thinking about random things :). I do notice that I get shy and sometimes give people mean looks when they look at me a certain way, only as a defense mechanism :/. Then later on I wonder why in the world I did that. Apparently I am a very intimidating shy/ introverted person which can work as an advantage and a disadvantage. Great article 🙂 looking forward to reading more.

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