Introverts are often seen as people who speak less in public or take less initiative in conversations. They are often confused with shy people. But there is a huge difference.
According to google, shy is someone who is nervous or timid in the company of other people. But this is not even near what defines an introvert.
As popularized by Carl Jung, there can be two types of people, introverts, and extroverts.
First, we need to understand who is an introvert, or what is introversion.
The word introvert is derived from the Latin words ‘intro’ and ‘vertere’ which mean ‘to the inside’ and ‘turn’ respectively. Introverts are the people who get their energy from the inside, via introspection, reflection upon their thoughts, by just being with their own selves. Due to this, they tend to enjoy solitude as it charges them from within. On the contrary, extroverts are the people who gain their energy from other people, as a result of which being social and interacting with other people makes them feel more alive.
Imagine it this way, introverts and extroverts are two different kinds of batteries, one charge on its own and others charge with the company. It so happens that this makes extroverts love social events like parties but it becomes exhausting for introverts as they lose their energy in such situations.
So, it is nothing like introverts are shy or they do not like to talk to other people, it’s just that if it’s not worth it, it is definitely draining their energy which no one would prefer, and for introverts it’s a part of their psychology and many introverts choose to save themselves from such loss subconsciously. For something that is worth discussing, a great topic they are interested in, any genuine issues, they’ll be the ones who speak the most as they feel like their energy has been ‘utilised usefully’ and not ’wasted’ which feels great! The same goes when they talk to their loved ones, their energy is put to good use and they love it but they sure can’t stand people who talk to them just to pass their time.
This is the reason extroverts are comfortable with small talks as it keeps their energy alive while introverts escape small talks which make them seem shy while they are not, it’s just that they may not find it worth their energy. Introverts do love people and they are actually pretty sensitive since reflections and introspection sessions do bring a deep understanding of their little world around them. As a matter of fact, some extroverts also love to introspect and understand their fellow introverts by giving them their space without asking for unnecessary interaction. They can also be shy, as we don’t usually hear. Think about people who are shy in your class the first day and then they are the most talkative ones throughout the year, were they introvert the first day and became extrovert the rest of the year? No. Think about the first month in a new college, even an introvert tends to be social to be able to make new friends in a new place.
At the same time that does not mean introverts can’t be shy, there are shy introverts and there are social introverts. There are shy extroverts and there are social extroverts. We, the most advanced species on earth right now, cannot be simply classified as black or white, we are shades of grey and we see our best shade according to need.
Introversion and extroversion are personalities while being shy or outgoing are traits that come and go, do not confuse the two.
You are lucky if you have an introvert in your life, since, as a result of their natural introspection abilities and various scientific reasons in this context, many introverts tend to be therapists, highly intelligent (probably scientists), musicians, writers and what not.
Some of the famous introverts are William Shakespeare, Lisa Kudrow, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Emma Watson, J.K. Rowling, Christina Aguilera, Mahatma Gandhi, Warren Buffett…
So the next time you meet an introvert, do not hesitate to talk to them with a preconception of them being shy. Whether we are introverts, extroverts, shy or outgoing, none of us should be judged.