Shy Extrovert Personality
Are you wondering whether it’s possible for extroverts to be shy? If this question is on your mind, it’s probably because you feel uncomfortable around people but at the same time feel lonely. Most shy extroverts yearn for company, but people make them anxious. If this sounds like you, then you could be a shy extrovert after all.
An extrovert can absolutely be shy. Extraversion is a personality trait that refers to the tendency for a person to gain energy from being around other people. Meanwhile, shyness refers to the tendency to withdraw from people out of fear or a feeling of being uncomfortable.
While it’s true that an extrovert can be shy, there are actually quite a few more nuances to the discussion. Keep reading to figure out if you’re really a shy extrovert or if you’ve misunderstood your personality entirely.
What Is a Shy Extrovert?
If you want to understand the psychology of a shy extrovert, I recommend watching the Youtube video below by Christy Anne Jones. In the video, she describes how she grew up as a talkative and outgoing child who loved to make friends. However, around age 8, she became subject to bullying at school.
She endured the bullying up until age 16 when she changed schools. However, the damage was already done and her personality permanently changed. During those years, she says that she learned that it was safer to be quiet than speak up, even if her natural nature was to be talkative and bubbly.
Christy Anne describes how she is comfortable talking to the camera on Youtube, but in a one-on-one conversation with a person, she would be extremely anxious. In addition, she talks about having shaky hands during job interviews, despite being able to get through them and answer questions. In other words, social anxiety had taken over her life.
Can an Extrovert Have Social Anxiety?
I think it’s obvious from Christy’s story that it’s completely possible for an extrovert to have social anxiety (and not just shyness). You can be energized by being around people (and feel sad when you are alone), but at the same time feel distressed when you have to face people and inhibited from being your true self.
Social anxiety often shows up as physical anxiety symptoms, and extroverts are not immune to this problem. An extrovert might want to talk to people, but their racing heart and shaky hands could make them feel too anxious to follow through. By the same token, if you are feeling good or around people you completely trust, your extroversion might shine through as you become more talkative and friendly.
Are Shy Extroverts Rare?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 12% of people will experience social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. It’s important to remember that these are diagnosed cases, which in themselves are not even a good representation of the actual number of people who have clinically significant social anxiety.
So many people with social anxiety are too afraid or ashamed to seek help that the number is actually likely much higher. Then, if you consider that shyness is a little sister to social anxiety, it’s easy to see that an even greater proportion of people would be just shy (instead of socially anxious or have a diagnosed anxiety disorder).
Now, when we consider that the rate of extroversion is roughly 60%, we can extrapolate that probably at least 10% of those people are shy. Which means about 6% of the population! This is all estimations because of course, it’s possible that there are more introverts than extroverts who are shy. So bottom line, they aren’t all that rare!
Shy Extrovert vs. Ambivert
If you aren’t quite sure whether the shy extrovert persona applies to you, it could be that you’re actually a shy ambivert. An ambivert falls somewhere in the middle between introvert and extrovert, meaning that you don’t seem to match up with either description exclusively.
Ambiverts are neither extremely introverted nor extremely extroverted. They might feel like being around people some days or alone other days. They might also enjoy being in some types of social situations but avoid other types of situations. Some famous ambiverts include Angelina Jolie, Princess Diana, and Marilyn Monroe.
Is There a Shy Extrovert Quiz?
If you still aren’t sure whether you might be a shy extrovert, you might wonder if there is a quiz to find out. While I wasn’t able to find one quiz that will give you the magic answer, you could consider taking the Introvert/Extrovert test at Introvert Dear as well as this short Shy or Introvert Quiz.
Putting the results of these two quizzes together, you should have a pretty good idea as to whether you are a shy extrovert. Remember that most people actually probably fall somewhere in the middle and are more like ambiverts.
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Honestly, it would be a really good idea for there to be a shy extrovert quiz! Maybe I’ll work on that for the future.
For the record, I’m probably a natural introvert but because of my life experiences, I lean more toward ambivert. As far as shyness/social anxiety, I’ve definitely dealt with this throughout my life. I don’t think it’s something you ever totally move past, but I can confidently say that I have all the tools to do so!
Coping for Shy Extroverts
Shy extroverts yearn to be around people but feel uncomfortable at the same time. Shyness is less severe than social anxiety, and it’s more likely that you will grow out of it naturally if you continue to put yourself into situations (even though they feel uncomfortable). Since you’re extroverted, it’s not that being around people tires you out, so there’s no reason not to push yourself a little.
In particular, I’d recommend the advice of Vanessa Van Edwards in her book “Captivate.” First, find what Vanessa calls a “winger” (also sometimes called a “wingman”). This is a friend who you’ve told you are shy and who is going to help you feel more comfortable being more social. Second, find what Vanessa calls a “riser.” A riser is a person who has connections to other people you want to meet, and who also elevates you just by being around them and learning from them. This is probably your most socially skilled friend who has a lot of social connections.
Having these two people in your life will give you support, social connection, and motivation to push past your shyness and let your extroversion shine through.
Good luck to you! Are you a shy extrovert? I’d love to hear your story in the comments and any questions you have on the topic.
Related Articles about Extroversion
- Take the Introvert vs Extrovert Quiz
- Why You Can Have Good Self Esteem But Also Social Anxiety
- Social Anxiety vs Shyness (Differences You Need to Know)
Can An Extrovert Be Shy?
Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
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