The difference between introvert, shyness and social anxiety

A lot of people would probably label me as a shy person. 
Definition of shy: 'nervous or timid in the company of others.'

The same people often associate 'shyness' as a negative thing, by saying 'you're pretty shy, but that's just you' like it's a problem and  I'm going to take offence. I wouldn't view shyness as a negative at all. In fact I find it easier to talk to people who are 'shy'. I tend to find the people who don't talk too much, have the most to say when you listen. 

Which brings me to introversion. 
Definition: 'A person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things.' 
Now I would probably describe myself as more of an introvert. Shyness and introversion are not the same thing although a lot of people unintentionally mix the two. 
A shy person doesn't usually want to be alone, but finds it pretty scary to interact with others, whereas an introvert enjoys time to themselves and can feel drained when spending too much time with others.

I'd say I was shy child, I didn't know what to say in social situations or how to join in but I've managed to overcome it slowly. Now I would much prefer to observe and listen to conversations and talk when necessary. I hate small talk, I would much rather have deep meaningful conversations. When I talk about something I'm interested in it's hard to shut me up! I don't mind silences in conversations, to me they are not awkward but more comfortable and gives you time to process thoughts. 

This brings me to another anxiety! This is much more intense than shyness as this involves a fear of being judged by others and being watched, it can lead to panic attacks and avoiding social situations. Basically it can get in the way of life. 

I wouldn't say I have total social anxiety, more anxiety over having panic attacks which can often stop me from joining social events as I never know when it'll happen and I don't want to embarrass myself in front of people. But I am learning to overcome this and not let it beat me.

I'd say I was an outgoing introvert who just has anxiety, if you're going to label me. I realised this after reading a book called 'Quiet: The Power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking' by Susan Cain. I'm only a few chapters in so far but it's made discover a lot about myself, for instance there is nothing wrong with being a quiet person and if others find it troubling then that is their problem not yours. 

I'd thought I'd leave you with a few links:

I find I really related to this blog post:
Struggles of having an outgoing personality but actually being shy and introverted

7 Ways You Can Love an Introvert

Introversion and Extroversion: The brain behind our personalities

Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. A lovely and much needed post. Thank you :) Rebecca | xx

    1. Thank you! I've been meaning to write about this topic for a while :) xx


Contact Form


Email *

Message *