High sensitivity can include being unusually aware of other people’s moods and judgments, and our own inner feelings in response to other people.
This may lead to our retreating from events or gatherings that many people who are not as sensitive enjoy more freely. This response may also be a part of introversion.
Shyness, introversion and high sensitivity may share some qualities, and they can overlap and interact, but they are not the same.
Many people may think of themselves as shy or at least call themselves shy as a convenient label – or they may be characterized that way by other people – when actually they are highly sensitive or introverted and therefore feel more emotionally safe and comfortable in less social situations.
Being shy is a fear, a form of anxiety, and can be more intense if we also have the personality trait of high sensitivity, or introversion – or both traits together.