Introversion, Shyness and Social Anxiety — What’s the Difference?

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What are common problems they may experience?

Introvert: While extroverts gain energy from being around other people, for introverts spending time with others can be exhausting, and they need alone time to recharge their mental batteries. Being in larger group social settings is particularly draining. There is not necessarily anything distressing about being an introvert, although distress may result from social pressures to behave in a more extroverted manner.

Do they want to be around people?

Introvert: While the introvert may want to spend time around people they are close to, they still need time on their own. Introverts don’t necessarily feel anxious about socializing, unless they have an overlying anxiety disorder, but they may find it unpleasant, especially when there is a lot of small talk involved.

Are they worried about what other people think?

Introvert: While introverts often feel pressured to live up to societal expectations of extroversion, this is a result of how society views introversion and extroversion rather than an inherent characteristic of introverts.

How do they feel after spending time with people?

Introvert: Introverts will often feel worn out after spending time with others, unless it’s people they are particularly close to.

Does it change over time?

Introvert: Since introversion is a personality trait, it tends to be stable over time and across multiple contexts. My level of introversion has stayed pretty consistent, but when I was younger I pushed myself to behave in a more extroverted manner. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve embraced my introversion more.

What impact does it have on functioning?

Introvert: Introverts may dislike social situations where extroversion is demanded, but it doesn’t negatively impact overall functioning.

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Mental health blogger | MH Nurse | Living with depression | Author of 3 books, latest is Managing the Depression Puzzle |

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