Letters to the Editor – Sept 26th

Re: “Face to face: understanding shyness”

excalibur » sept 19, 2011

Don’t confuse introversion
with shyness

As a shy person, I’m glad this article was written. It really does shed some light on shyness and social anxiety. So thank you for writing it. However, I noticed at the top of the article it says “introversion,” and under the shyness tips, it suggests modeling the behaviour of extroverts. While I think this can be an extremely helpful tip for shy people, I wanted to point out that shyness and
introversion are not the same things. While they sometimes go hand-in-hand (I am shy and introverted), there’s a clear difference between the two. Shyness
can simply be defined as the fear of social judgement, while introversion has more to do with external stimulation (at least, according to Susan Cain in her recent book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking). While I am shy and introverted, my shyness has improved over the years, but I will always be extremely introverted.

Cain explains introversion not as being asocial, but a different way of being social. An introverted person would prefer a quiet night chatting with friends, versus a loud, thumping club with people they don’t know (because studies show introverts are more sensitive to external stimulation, like noise and lights). I really enjoyed this article, but I just wanted to point that out, as I get a lot of questions as to why I’m quite happy staying at home with people I love, versus socializing every night. So while shyness can be improved by social exposure, someone who is introverted shouldn’t feel like they need to change. It’s just who they are, and quiet time is essential to their happiness and well-being.
—Lena Demes

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