If someone is shy are they automatically introvert? And if they are extrovert is that mean they are automatically confident?
What exactly is the relationship between introversion extraversion shyness confidence etc?
As regular readers will no doubt recall, I used to be shy, painfully shy even, for the majority of my early life. I remember one time taking the Myers Briggs test, and it came as no surprise to me whatsoever to learn that I was classified as introvert. It seemed pretty logical, I was shy and didn’t like meeting new people therefore it made sense that I was intimate. Many years later once I had completely conquered my shyness I decided to retake the test to see how things are changed – now that I was outgoing, happy to sing dance and act on stage, speak to groups, go to parties and speak with complete strangers, surely I would now be very high up on the extrovert scale! Surprisingly, I got the results and they were exactly the same as they had been all those years ago; I was still very clearly marked as introvert. “Surely that can’t be right!?” I thought to myself. I wasn’t an introvert any more, I was outgoing I enjoyed socialising with people I enjoy performing on stage; these aren’t the traits of an introvert! There was nothing for it but the test must have been wrong so I took it again, and got the same results.
Surprised by these results I did a little investigating of my own and discovered that I, like perhaps the vast majority of people, has completely misunderstood what introverted and extra that actually means. It turns out that being introvert or extrovert has no correlation to being shy or confident. It is entirely possible for someone to be very confident and yet and introvert – which was a situation I found myself in. Likewise, is entirely possible for someone to be extrovert yet painfully shy.
What’s going on? How does this work?
It turns out that introverted extrovert aren’t measures of interaction or suitability for shyness or conference otherwise, they are more akin to an indication of how we like to recharge. For example, an introvert prefers to recharge their batteries by taking some time out to themselves. Perhaps going for a nice quiet walk or sitting in the room with a cup of tea contemplating the thoughts and relaxing. As the extrovert will feel the need to be out socialising with groups of people when it’s their turn to recharge their batteries.
What do I mean by recharging one’s batteries? I personally got a great illustration of that today. Over the last week, I’ve been delivering training is to 65 people in Kuala Lumpur over six fun yet very long days! Typically I would get up at 6 AM and not get back to bed until 1 AM the next morning. The crew and I naturally went out for a celebratory meal and party after the final night, and we all had a thoroughly good time. Back at base today is where we see how each of us prefer to recharge our batteries. For example, some of the crew spent a day hanging out together socialising, having fun and more or less party. For me, I found I much preferred to spend the day on my own with my own thoughts just pottering around doing whatever and enjoying my own company. For me if I spent the day out socialising having fun with friends it would been enjoyable but I wouldn’t have felt recharged refreshed, tomorrow I would still have felt frazzled; conversely those who are out partying today will feel nicely refreshed tomorrow but would probably have felt unfulfilled had they spent the day by themselves. That’s the difference between an extrovert and an introvert. It’s all about how one prefers to spend one’s time when relaxing and recharging oneself. An introvert can unwind by spending time by themselves whereas an extrovert would unwind by spending time with others; it’s absolutely nothing to do with confidence or shyness!
It turns out there can be some very shy extroverts and some very confident introverts.
So if, like the old me, you took a test and found that your classified as an introvert, and doesn’t mean they are necessary shy nor that you would be shy for evermore. And that’s an interesting thought, isn’t it!