Introversion and extroversion rarely get confused, but introversion and shyness are often mistaken (some introverts are shy, but they don’t always go hand in hand).
Let’s take a layman’s look at how each of these are defined.
Shyness — A shy person is generally someone who is lacking in confidence, self conscious, anxious or frightened in social situations, sometimes to the point where they do not function at all in the presence of other people.
Introversion — Introverts do not dislike other people, they just find them tiring. They are stimulated by their own thoughts and imaginations rather than relying on other people for motivation or stimulus. After extended times of being sociable, introverts have to take time by themselves to recharge and recover. (One guy I read about had a formula for himself…one hour of social time requires two hours of alone time to recover…that’s about right for me too) Basically, other people are good in small doses. This is not being antisocial nor is it an illness that requires treatment or medication. For an introvert, time alone in our own head is as restorative as a good night’s sleep and provides nourishment to our soul like a wonderful meal. Making sure we look after our inner health in this way is an important element of creating a peaceful and sustainable life.
Extroversion — Extroverts on the other hand are energised by other people, and often seem bored when they are on their own. They reach for their mobiles after a minute or so without human contact. Extroverts figure out who they are by talking and interacting with other people. They are like the exuberant puppy you can’t get to stop barking or quite manage to shake off your heel after they’ve latched on. 🙂 Extroverts come to life when they are around other people.
Next time we’ll take a look at how introverts and extroverts can understand each other and get along :):)