Differences Between Extraverts, Introverts And Shy People

Why are some introverts frustrated with the way they are?

Today, it seems that successful people are the ones who have the most friends, the most persuasive, and who communicate the most with others. What it takes is going to the more parties the better and being the king of your social circle, mastering all  possible social skills.

Introverts: Weirdos?

In recent times, extraversion has become the ideal to which we should all aspire. If a person is more comfortable reading than at a party with loud music and hundreds of people around, they are called shy and asocial, and we say they have a problem.

Recommended reading:  “How to know if you tend towards introversion or towards extraversion”

And while it is true that some of the people who avoid social situations do so because of a problem (such as  social phobia ,  anxiety or  exaggerated shyness ), others do so because they really prefer solitude. Almost a century ago,  Carl Gustav Jung defined two types of personality in his work  Psychological Types, classifying people as introverts and extroverts.

Differences between introverts and extraverts

In this article, we will examine the differences between introversion, extraversion, and other related concepts. We start with the first one, social anxiety.

Social anxiety

Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia , is a pathology classified within anxiety disorders. It is characterized because the person who suffers from it suffers a persistent fear of one or more social situations, due to the fear of being ridiculed.

The most common symptoms are pressure in the chest, sweating, trembling in the legs,  blushing ,  negative thoughts, fear of negative evaluation … These symptoms can appear in different social situations that the person has to face, such as speaking in public or being at a party.

Like all disorders, the problem of social anxiety occurs because the person wishes they could behave normally in situations that scare them, but they cannot. To alleviate this, she usually uses one or more coping strategies, which can range from not going to parties and social gatherings, to getting drunk or taking drugs to increase her sense of control.

Many of the people who suffer from this disorder could be classified as extraverted, and it is precisely the clash between the desire they have to relate to and the fear of social situations that causes them more suffering.


If we imagine a straight line with social anxiety at one extreme and introversion at the other, shyness would be more or less in the middle. Contrary to what many people think, shyness is not considered a psychological disorder, although it shares many traits with social phobia.

The main difference it presents with social anxiety is that, while a person with this disorder will tend to avoid situations that cause discomfort, either by not going or using some other coping strategy such as drinking alcohol, a shy person may continue to expose themselves to those situations. Mind you, having to deal with your own feelings of discomfort in the process.

Another difference is the generalization of symptoms. While a shy person may enjoy certain types of social situations, depending on the conditions of the same, someone with social phobia will feel discomfort in almost all situations in which they feel exposed to criticism from others.

As in the previous point, we can find many extraverted people who are at the same time shy, so we cannot identify introversion with this pattern of behavior.

But then what is introversion? Traits of an introvert

According to Jung’s theory, one of the most important classifications that we can make between people is whether they are extraverts or introverts.

The difference is in how they get the stimulation they need to feel good. While an extravert is “charged” with energy in social settings, an introvert generates his own internal stimulation, so that highly energetic environments saturate him and end up exhausting him.

Therefore, an extroverted person will tend to look for situations in which there are many people, loud music, or extreme sensations. It will not be unusual to find someone with these characteristics being the center of attention of a group, or surrounded by many friends, doing extreme sports or performing on stage.

On the contrary, and although an introvert can also enjoy these things, they will usually look for other types of activities to relax: reading a good book, having deep conversations with their close friends, spending the day in nature …

Recapping: am I introverted or shy?

Of course, there are no pure introverts or extroverts (and as Jung himself said, “if there were, we would have to look for them in the psychiatric hospital”). We can all show characteristics of one type or another depending on the moment and the situation in which But it is important to know that it is possible to enjoy solitude without assuming that we have a disorder.

In short, if you think you are an introvert, see if you fit these five characteristics:

  • Although you enjoy social relationships, you tend to prefer to speak in small groups than with many people at the same time.
  • When you go to a party, instead of increasing, your energy decreases throughout the night, sometimes to the point of wanting to leave much earlier than others.
  • You don’t mind being alone from time to time, you know how to enjoy your time with yourself.
  • You have a few close friends, and your relationship with them runs very deep.
  • When you are interested, you are able to strike up superficial conversations with people you don’t know, although you usually don’t put too much effort into this task.

On the other hand, if you see yourself reflected in the following characteristics, it is likely that you suffer from shyness or social phobia:

  • You would like to meet more people but just imagining yourself approaching a stranger makes you feel uneasy.
  • You are not able to enjoy the holidays because when you are in one you worry about what others may think of you.
  • Although you do not like to be alone, many times you do not leave the house for fear of exposing yourself to situations in which you will feel bad.
  • Sometimes you feel that you have contradictory desires, because you would like to talk to a person or expose yourself to an audience, but at the same time just thinking about it makes you panic.

I hope this article has helped you understand the differences between introversion and the different disorders that can affect our behavior with others, and better understand your own feelings about social situations.

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