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Do you like to be alone sometimes and people assume that you are shy?
Do you think long before you speak and your colleagues think you are insecure? If you reject an invitation to a party, do your friends think you’re “weird”?
Perhaps the reason is that your personality leans toward introversion, which is something other than shyness. Although there are people who often confuse both and think they are synonymous.
But it’s not like that.
More than the outside world, an introvert “gets energy from the ideas, images and memories that are in his inner world”, according to the Myers-Briggs classification, based on the teachings of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and one of the most popular to determine the personality type
Introverts may seem reserved and reflective, or give the impression that they act slowly, according to this typology. They enjoy being and doing things alone, like reading, for example.
Jenn Granneman, author of the book “The Secret Life of Introverts” and founder of the digital community Introvert, Dear , shares a similar idea about introversion.
“It’s the preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments,” he tells BBC Mundo.
The brains of introverts are not “wired” to get the reward that extroverts receive when interacting with people, explains Granneman.
“These people are more sensitive to dopamine, the neurotransmitter of ‘well-being,'” he says, so “many social situations or highly stimulating environments can be mentally or physically exhausting for an introvert.”
Laurie Helgoe, author of “The power of introversion: why your inner life is your hidden force” , explains to BBC World that introverts like to think before answering.
As a result, “the interactions in which there is space to reflect can be very pleasant for them”, adds the psychologist. “While the conversations between extroverts can be like tennis matches.”
So, as Granneman says, “many” social interactions are strenuous, but not all.
Introverts are not “asocial.” They can socialize and they do it, only differently from extroverts.
“They value deep and meaningful relationships, they love connecting authentically and sharing their ideas in a small group or in a two-way conversation,” Granneman thinks.
Shyness, on the other hand, explains this same author, “is the fear that people judge us negatively”, in practically any social situation.
“The timid ones feel quite uncomfortable and anguished in social interactions, especially with people who do not know very well,” he says.
“The shyness is rooted in fear, while introversion is simply a preference, and does not intrinsically involve nervousness or anxiety,” he says.
“For example, a shy person can avoid an event to establish professional relationships because it stresses the idea of meeting new people (even if he really wants to go),” says Granneman. “However, an introvert could dodge the same event because he prefers simply to relax at home.”
The specialist indicates that “both introverts and extroverts may experience shyness.”
So, why are there people who believe that introversion and shyness are the same?
Granneman acknowledges that “both introverts and timid avoid social interaction,” but for different reasons.
The first because it can exhaust them; and the second, because it causes them anguish.
Perhaps, what happens is that shyness is more common in introverts.
Granneman asks “if it has to do with the messages that introverts receive from society, which prefers extroverted personalities . “
“They are made to believe that there is something wrong with them, that they are ‘very quiet’, that they should ‘get out more of themselves’ and that it is bad to spend time alone instead of going out on a Friday night,” he says.
“They can feel bad for thinking too much, for needing more time to reflect, for (seeing things) in depth and live a quieter and slower pace of life,” he laments.
“I’m not surprised that some introverts fear being judged negatively or become nervous, which could lead to shyness,” he adds.
Or to think that introverts must change or “overcome” their personality. But that’s how it is?
No. Being introverted does not necessarily mean lacking social skills.
In fact, the lack of these skills does not necessarily depend on the type of personality.
Both introverts and extroverts may lack these skills, Granneman says.
“For example, we all know an extrovert who does not realize when we send him signals that we want to end a conversation,” says the author.
In fact, the specialist says she knows many introverts with strong social skills and who often pass for extroverts.
Psychologist Laurie Helgoe clarifies that there are many social skills that come with introversion: “the ability to listen to people, comfort with silence and with loneliness, which I think can allow more intimacy in a conversation . “
Therefore, Granneman affirms that “the introversion is not a disease that needs to be cured, nor something broken to repair and that there would be no reason to do it”.
On the contrary, many experts believe that introversion is something that a person is “born” with, so Granneman concludes that extroversion is not the only “correct” way to be.