There are many misconceptions about introverts. A common one is that introversion and shyness are essentially the same thing. In fact if you Google ‘introverted definition’ you’ll see shy as the first synonym.

But psychologically speaking, being an introvert is not the same as being shy.

What Is Introversion?

Introverts tend to be easily overstimulated by external environments, people, noise, lights, etc.

They therefore prefer quiet and solitude.

What Is Shyness?

By contrast shy people fear how they’ll be judged by others.

Consequently they tend to be reticent about putting themselves out there where people may form a negative opinion about them.

Can You Be Both?

There is definite overlap, where people are both introverted and shy, though the extent of the overlap remains unclear.

Venn Diagrams To The Rescue

If you love Venn Diagrams – and honestly, who doesn’t? – then you’ll be happy to know that a handy explanatory Venn Diagram follows.


As the Venn Diagram shows:

  • Some people (me included) are introverted but not shy – we aren’t especially worried about others’ negative opinions but we do like our quiet and solitude.
  • Some people are shy but not introverted – not particularly vulnerable to external stimulation but concerned about how they are judged and cautious about exposing themselves to judgement.
  • Some people are both shy and introverted. This is the overlapping part, the intersection.
  • People not falling into any of the above categories are neither introverted nor shy.

Where Do You Sit?

So where do you sit? Shy? Introverted? Both? Neither?

Has this post reawakened your long-forgotten love of Venn Diagrams? If so, I’ll leave you guys alone…