Shyness may look like introversion or high sensitivity, and they may overlap with each other, but are distinct experiences.
Psychologist Elaine Aron, PhD notes shyness “is learned, not innate” and the trait of high sensitivity “is often mislabeled as introversion.”
She writes in an edition of her newsletter that “HSPs [highly sensitive people] are so similar to introverts that two thirds of them actually are introverts, but there is an additional reason for HSPs to be introverts: They don’t like too much going on at once, which is, of course, often true in large groups or when you are meeting strangers.
“Still, one third of HSPs are extraverts. How can that be? It seems that some HSPs enjoy lots of new things, as long as they can take their time getting involved and it seems safe.”
Of course, like any trait, there are degrees and levels and sometimes we may feel and act introverted – but at other times or places, more extraverted. Many shy or introverted actors or musicians choose a very outgoing persona when they are performing.
Actor Robert Pattinson has said, “I’m sort of introverted. I mean I always think I’m introverted and then I find out from people that I’ve told them literally everything about my life within about two meetings so I can’t be that introverted or I could just be really shallow.”
From article/video Robert Pattinson: I’m introverted.
He commented about portraying surrealist artist Salvador Dalí in Little Ashes (2008): “I didn’t want to get stuck in pretty, public school roles, or I knew I’d end up as some sort of caricature.
“Playing Dali has been a complete turning point for me. It’s the first part I’ve had that has required really serious thought. I became completely obsessed with Dali during the filming, and I read every biography I could get a hold of.
“He was the most bizarre, complex man, but in the end I felt I could relate to him. He was basically incredibly shy.” [imdb.com]
Pattinson has also commented about about his fame from the ‘Twilight’ movies:
“But this celebrity thing, you can’t fight it, it’s useless, you can’t avoid it. When it’s not something you desired during your whole life, or something you don’t aspire to, you’re free not to care about it. I didn’t sign for Disney. There’s not a stipulation which forces me to smile to the paparazzi.”
He also commented, “The world would be a much better place, I think, if all these bankers and billionaires were followed by paparazzi.” [imdb.com]
One of my related posts: Fame or Not
Was Dali shy?
“The only difference between me and a madman,” Dali once said, “is that I am not mad.”
He was born in the Spanish fishing village of Figueres, nine months after the death of his toddler brother–who had also been named Salvador.
His fellow students at the Madrid art academy later described Dali as “morbidly shy.”
Nevertheless, he stole his beloved Gala away from her poet-husband Paul Eluard, and embarked on a life he rightly called “one tragical sequence of exhibitionism.”
From YOU’RE LOOKIN’ SWELL, DALI… CONSIDERING, By Peter Plagens, NEWSWEEK, Feb 21, 2005.
What is introversion?
In his Atlantic magazine article Caring for Your Introvert – The habits and needs of a little-understood group, Jonathan Rauch explains a bit about the distinction between introversion and shyness.
“What is introversion? In its modern sense, the concept goes back to the 1920s and the psychologist Carl Jung. Today it is a mainstay of personality tests, including the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
“Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say “Hell is other people at breakfast.”
“Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.
“Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially “on,” we introverts need to turn off and recharge.
“My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: “I’m okay, you’re okay—in small doses.”
What about shyness?
One summary is provided by Carol Bainbridge at About.com: “Being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness.
“Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills.
“Introverts make up about 60% of the gifted population but only about 25-40% of the general population.”
> For more, see the Highly Sensitive site.
> Also see multiple posts and articles on introversion and shyness.
Article publié pour la première fois le 14/01/2015