Shy vs. Introverted

I recently came across an interesting article that pointed out the difference between being shy and introverted. They are not the same :), in fact, they are quite different concepts. Here is how:

Definition of shy: Being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people; a tendency toward avoidance. (Webster’s Dictionary,

Definition of an introvert: a shy, reticent person; a basic personality style characterized by a preference for the inner life of the mind over the outer world of other people; a tendency toward becoming overstimulated and the need to be alone to gain energy. (Psychology Today,

Children can be helped to overcome their shyness, but introversion is as much a part of a person as is hair or eye color. ( An introverted child may choose to spend their recess alone at their desk, reading because the overstimulation of being with other children will be too stressful for them. A shy child may want to join in with the other children at recess, but they remain alone because they have a fear of joining the children, possibly to be told they can’t join in.

A shy person can be helped with therapy and socializing. Because it is a fear, it can be worked on. You cannot change an introvert into an extrovert because this would be far too stressful and can cause problems with their self-esteem. They can learn coping mechanisms, but they cannot simply change who they are.

Introverts can choose to be social and interact with others; they often just don’t want to. Shy people–depending on the level of shyness–can’t make that same choice without a high cost. For them, a party isn’t just a drain (as it can be for an introvert); it’s a struggle.

So let me ask you, as a parent, do you know your child’s personality? And most importantly do you know how to guide them and gelp them adapt to the word and stay true to who they are? I have a few ideas form my personal experience with my introverted child and would love to share with you.

© Project Be You 2022