25 Contradictory Things About Being a Shy Introvert

IntrovertDear.com introvert contradicting things

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  retina_favicon1

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  • Linda says:

    Spot on. 🙂

  • Bauhinia says:

    Wow, all of the items can relate to me and I also feel the same way. Thanks for writing this post and letting others to know deeper thoughts of a shy introvert.

  • Yes, yes, and yes!!! This is me 100%. Thanks for posting. It is so nice to know I am not the only one in the world like this!!

  • jenniebaumert says:

    Can you explain why you included “shy” in this post? I completely relate to all of these, but never considered myself shy, just an introvert (INFJ).

  • Peter Dryad says:

    I can relate to most of these, although not all. Meetings for example are no go zones for introverts so my response was to dominate the meeting, tell people what they will do, offend others, so I could get out asap. I notice from profile pictures that most of the people commenting on these pages are younger (that’s under 30 by my standards) With age and maturity most of the above conditions cease to be significant. We never stop maturing, hopefully, and I have found that at my age all the above situations, while still present are no longer of much importance. I can now embrace my INFJ nature without concerning myself with what the outside world thinks. BTW the above situations could just as easily apply to a shy anything, not just introverts.

  • Jon Bon says:

    This post actually brought a tear to my eye. I’ve been reading this website for a couple of months now and I love every article, but this one had an even bigger effect on me than most. It’s so simple, but so true. I started to tear up at number 1, but it was number 25 that really got me going. It’s something I’ve struggling with my whole life. I so desperately want to find a soulmate who gets me, but I also just want to be alone most of the time. Being introvert ain’t easy, but I sure wouldn’t want it any other way!

  • Erin says:

    I can very much relate to this.

  • Emilie says:

    OMG ! It’s horrible. It’s totally true !

  • That’s exactly what I was thinking. I enjoyed and related to the article a lot but I never though of myself as shy.

  • Jenn Granneman says:

    Hi Jennie, I chose to include the word “shy” because of numbers 3, 9, 10, and 15. A “shy” introvert might be afraid of the spotlight and fear being judged by others, whereas an introvert who is not shy will care less about what other people think of them (but will still need plenty of solitude to recharge). I hope that helps!

  • Tina Frederick says:

    I can really relate to 17 and 24! Great list!

  • So true! Also kind of contradicting, but I have found out recently that I actually really enjoy public speaking when it’s something I am interested in or care about deeply and it’s easier for me to give a speech than bring something up in a discussion where there is a big group of people participating. I think it helps that people know I will be talking, are expecting it and I don’t have to find the timing to say something (still get little anxiety attacks when I want to share something and when they pass the topic has moved on to something else…).

  • Symphony says:

    I’m a newcomer to this site and I can’t thank you enough. This article especially is so dead on for me. What a relief to have someone put it all into words!

  • Elise Hanssen says:


  • Gerard Schreyer says:

    Oh yes, it`s all concerning me and reading it I had to hold my tears…

  • uberkelly says:

    Great article!!! I totally feel all these.

  • Pam says:

    Yep, #19 and 24. People generally don’t think of doing chores together…grocery shopping…as an “I’m now ready to integrate” activity. Such an awesome means of knowing someone. Also, on #24, impacted my world by doing a prayer walk through a little town in my normal daily travels…alone. Was blessed by what I saw. Spoke to three people in 90 mns. and many dogs. Came home and journalled pages then filled hours telling my husband all about it!

  • Anaxtaxia says:

    This article describes me so perfectly!

  • Angela Rengifo Adrada says:

    Me too. I feel totally identify with this 😑🙃😊

  • MaxCafe says:

    Very accurate.

  • Victor Dizon says:

    100 % on target on a lot of these and can really relate to them. <3

  • Rachel Grosse says:


  • Noelle Dizon says:

    this is me🙌🏻

  • Noah Jones says:

    I am this article

  • Mandy says:

    Oh my. I have tears in my eyes right now. Not just because this beautiful article describes me perfectly. But because I realize how many people just like me are out there. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  • Pascal Buchholz says:

    this is so me.

  • Gabriel Basumatary says:

    Described me