Let’s start with conclusion: being extrovert does not mean being confident, talkative or outgoing. Same goes with introverts – they should not be generalized as shy, without belief they have anything to say. This temperament classification means only that one feels need to be around friendly people to feel good and other don’t. To put it in more practical terms: extroverts gain energy through positive interaction while introverts spend energy even in positive interaction. Also, those are ideal types, meaning: No one alive is 100% extrovert all the time and analogically.
Since extroverts need positive interaction to feel invigorated, they have a lot to lose if they’re not liked by peers. That creates pressure and natural conditions to frequent second guessing oneself – in effect shyness. This pressure is not that strong for introverts – they don’t need peer acceptance as much since they’re invigorated through solitude.
Obviously, gaining and spending energy is only one variable in complex web of our tactics to conquer social life. Yet, I think of it every time I hear someone feeling sorry about how introverts are screwed.
Shyness – the counterproductive tactic
In today’s reality we are not in the risk of our head being smashed or our ass being banished and abandoned form our tribe. Hence, acquiring peers’ acceptance whatever the cost is pointless. But our bullshit scanners are thinking tools – they evolve fast. Our instincts base on hormones, those are hardwired. This creates unsymmetrical situation when shyness and conformity seen through and because of this shy people are excluded and/or not taken care of by group.
It is not easy to work through shyness. Cortisol level rises and testosterone drops – we gradually feel compelled to conform, hunch our bodies to take least space, stress levels shuts our appetite and clear thinking. We feel as we will be soon banished and die alone.
I am an extreme extrovert. I was very, very shy
One thing was to challenge my shyness rationally. To clash its purpose with reality. Beyond the point of keeping everybody in line without walking around picking their noses, it doesn’t make much sense. The other thing was that I challenged myself with practicing social interaction in almost scientific way. I also started to learn about social skills.
The point is: Don’t let your intuition tell you how you should feel when it is not beneficial for you. As great as it is – in terms of today’s social environment it works on obsolete rules. Through practice you can reprogram your intuition. Challenge your shyness, learn about interactions and become more confident permanently.
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