If you’re an introvert who is a bit self-conscious and shy (like me), you know that these tendencies can compound your introversion. In fact, you can feel like a walking contradiction. How talkative and outgoing you are depends on how comfortable you feel around the people you’re with. You want meaningful relationships, but you struggle to overcome your shyness and open up to others.
Not all introverts are shy, and not all shy people are introverts (although, perhaps unsurprisingly, psychologists have found that there is some overlap between shyness and introversion). Here are 25 contradictory things that I’ve experienced, which stem from both my introversion and my shyness. Can you relate?
1. Wanting to do things alone so you don’t have to deal with people, but not wanting to be lonely.
2. Wanting to be invited to social events but not always wanting to go because you fear having to introduce yourself to others and make small talk.
3. Wishing other people would notice you but avoiding the spotlight at all costs.
4. Having deep thoughts every day, but when you try to explain them, they never come out quite as eloquently or profoundly as they sounded in your head. You blush or get embarrassed when trying to explain yourself, which only makes it harder.
5. Wanting to have meaningful conversations with people but being too self-conscious to actually say the things that are on your mind or ask the deep questions.
6. Wishing you had more friends but not wanting to actually introduce yourself to new people.
7. Being known as the “fun/quirky” one when you’re with close friends, but being known as the “quiet/shy” one when you’re with people you don’t know well.
8. Being praised for giving a thoughtful speech or presentation (you rehearsed for hours); fumbling your way through small talk with your classmates or colleagues afterwards.
9. Knowing the answer to the question the teacher asked but not wanting to raise your hand and have everyone look at you while you talk.
10. Having an idea or question in a meeting at work but being too shy to speak up.
11. Quietly doing a great job on something at work or school but not wanting anyone to make a big deal about it.
12. Wanting to get away from a long-winded extrovert but instead letting them talk on and on because you’re too shy to speak up or walk away.
13. Wanting to hang out with your significant other or roommate in the same room but not wanting to actually talk to them (you’re “peopled out” because you’ve had enough hand-wringing social interaction for one day, thankyouverymuch).
14. Being hilarious and clever while texting or messaging online; being awkward and shy while talking to someone IRL.
15. Desperately wanting to find your soul mate but being terrified to say hello to your crush.
16. Being told at work or school that you should speak up more (“You’re so shy!”); being told by your best friend or spouse that you talk too much about your niche hobbies or interests.
17. Feeling just fine but everyone keeps asking, “Are you okay?” because you’re not saying anything and you have Resting Bitch Face (or Resting Sad Face).
18. Caring so much about the people in your life and treasuring all the intimate, fun moments you’ve had with them but rarely working up the nerve to tell them how much they mean to you.
19. Getting sad because friends don’t invite you out but then remembering that you haven’t texted/reached out to anyone for months.
20. Wishing you could loosen up and have fun like everyone else but your overly self-conscious thoughts stop you.
21. Wanting to sleep but not being able to turn off your overthinking mind, which is replaying a conversation you had with an acquaintance earlier. Did they like you? Were they judging you?
22.Wanting to talk about something that really matters to you but worrying that everyone will be bored by what you say.
23. Going out with friends on a Saturday night, even though you know you’ll feel extremely self-conscious surrounded by all those people and will probably get an introvert hangover later.
24. Wanting to make an impact on the world but not wanting to leave your house.
25. Wishing you had just one person who understood your shy, weird ways but wanting to be alone most of the time.
Learn more about what’s really going on with introverts. Check out my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World.
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Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an Introvert
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