You have a small group of friends. Alone time is a must. During a class at school or while at work, you rarely speak up unless you are called on. Crowds make you nervous. You have had your fair share of excuses to get out of attending events or gatherings with friends or family. Those who know you would call you shy or quiet.
If those sentences described you, there is a good chance you are an introvert.
These characteristics could also be used to describe someone who has social anxiety.
Now, you are probably wondering ‘if being an introvert and social anxiety have similarities, what are the differences between the two?’
Introvert vs. social anxiety—what is the difference?
Introvert vs. Social Anxiety
Although introversion and social anxiety share some common features and characteristics, they are actually more different than they seem.
Being an introvert is a personality trait. It is part of who you are as a person. You were born this way, just like someone else may have been born to be more extroverted. If you are ingrained into being an introvert, it is going to be very hard to change that about you.
As an introvert, energy comes from within, so relaxing and resting alone is essential for recovery and to restore your internal battery. An introvert may choose to stay at home because they actually really enjoy and love staying at home.
Social anxiety is a mental health condition. With social anxiety, you may experience feelings of fear, dread, nervousness, uneasiness, and more, even just thinking about social situations. Social anxiety will cause you to have a constant worry and fear about people judging you or you embarrassing yourself in public.
These feelings will cause you to cancel plans or avoid going out despite your wanting to actually hang out or attend a gathering with friends or family.
Here are some common signs of social anxiety:
- Rapid heart rate
- Shaking and/or Trembling
- Awkward and self-conscious in front of people
- Little to no eye contact
- Speaking in a very soft tone
Signs Your Introversion is Actually Social Anxiety
Still not quite sure if you are an introvert or if you have social anxiety?
Here are some key indicators that your introversion may actually be social anxiety:
- Have a want and desire to go out, but you fear rejection.
- Constantly worry you’re going to embarrass yourself.
- Are terrified of being judged by others.
- Avoid social situations, even ones that you desperately want to attend.
- Cancel plans more than you actually go through with them.
- Do not actually enjoy yourself when you go out.
- Do not feel recharged, even when you have alone time.
- Often experience feelings of frustration and loneliness.
There are many different ways that you can work towards healing your social anxiety as well as embracing being an introvert.
Here are some simple ways to work towards being more social again:
- Trust the system. Take small steps to get to where you want to be in social settings. It will get easier with time and practice.
- If you have social anxiety, start small and start socializing like an introvert. Choose when and where you want to socialize.
- Take care of yourself. This includes your mind and body. Take the necessary time for rest and recovery, but also make sure you’re doing things that make you happy and healthy.
Whether you are an introvert or are experiencing social anxiety, reach out for more information and learn what may help you break out of your shell in order to live your life fuller.