Can an extrovert be shy? (A complete guide)

In this article, we will answer the question ‘Can an extrovert be shy ?’. We will do that by initially describing extroverts and shyness separately. This will follow up by defining a shy extrovert. We will move on to discussing signs of a shy extrovert. Finally, we will list down coping strategies a shy extrovert can employ in daily life. 

Can an extrovert be shy?

Yes.  An extrovert can be shy.  This can be explained by the fact that human traits exist on a spectrum.  So extroverts and introverts are not black and white categories.  Instead,  extraversion and introversion exist on a continuum.  So, a person can be an extrovert with introvert tendencies i.e an ambivert. Such a person can enjoy being surrounded by lots of people but may not like to be the center of attention.  They would also need time alone to recharge. So, shy extroverts have the social skills to socialize but they may avoid social situations to recharge as they can also get overwhelmed by constant social stimulation. 

Extroverts

Extroverts are people who are externally oriented. This means that they gain energy by socializing and spending time with a lot of people and engaging in different activities.  They process things by talking about them.  Also, they prefer to spend their time seeking new experiences.  Whereas,  spending time alone at home with no new activities, depletes their energy. They are opposite to introverts.

Shyness

Shyness refers to a feeling of fear that is usually developed in presence of strangers or new situations.  It is an unpleasant feeling where a person feels self-conscious and is preoccupied with what other people are thinking.  This fear can decrease or lower a person’s ability to say or do what they want. 

Extroverts and shyness

Often, shyness and introversion are considered synonymous.  Since extroverts and introverts are opposite to each other,  it is commonly thought that extroverts cannot be shy.  Rather, people think that extroverts go through life without fear and that they can face any social challenge head on.

 However,  in reality, extroverts are not always the life of the party.  They just like to show up because they are energized by other people. The situation is the same for a shy extrovert.  Because even an extrovert can get intimidated by a lot of unfamiliar people in new situations. So, we can say a shy extrovert likes being among people but does not like talking or being the center of attention.  They have an introspective side that they share with a few people. 

The following statement helps to understand what a shy extrovert is like:

“I loved being in groups of people and sought acceptance, but I did not like talking or being the center of attention. I was very introspective, but I loved to share my thoughts with other people.” ~ A shy extrovert

Shyness like other personality traits exists on a spectrum.  So an extrovert who is a little shy will have fewer problems compared to an extrovert with high shyness.  Such a person can be awkward in social situations and avoid people or social events that overwhelm them.  This situation becomes particularly difficult for a shy extrovert because they are unable to get their social need fulfilled due to their social fear.

 However,  shyness can be overcome with time and exposure.  Self-help interventions can assist in reducing anxiety.  Similarly, psychiatric medication and therapies like CBT can help a person overcome shyness. 

Signs of a shy extrovert

There are a few signs that can help identify a shy introvert. They are stated as follows:

  • Shy extroverts love and crave to be around a lot of people.  Yet,  this craving comes with a feeling of dread and insecurity.  Such people need to be convinced to go out but once they go out they love social gathering and have a good time 
  • A shy extrovert would be at a party but will not be the life of the party.  This is because they do not like to call attention to themselves or take initiative to tell jokes.  Some of them prefer observing others as a way to connect. 
  • A shy extrovert can often be a good listener because they are willing to give their time to understand another person.  Unlike introverts,  they do not spend their time thinking about what they would say next. Rather,  they focus on the present and listen to the speaker deeply.  Furthermore,  their inquisitiveness helps them to connect with others and develop long term friendships.
  • They are good at respecting other people’s privacy and do not share their secrets for the sake of gossip or getting attention from other people. 
  • They like big and loud parties because huge gatherings that are quiet makes them uncomfortable.  In contrast,  loud and fun gatherings with music and dancing help them get stimulated at the sensory level. It also allows them to join in and be part of the fun without having to make awkward conversations, which usually happens in quiet gatherings.
  • They do not have the need for or a continuous conversation.  This means that they like pauses and breaks in conversation as it allows them to process their thoughts.  Like introverts,  they can get exhausted when other people talk continuously without pausing.
  •  Shy extroverts have the capacity to have long and meaningful conversations. Since they process things and examine it from multiple angles,  they like to share their thoughts with others for their input.  This can help them process their thoughts as along within their minds.
  • They like to maintain long friendships.  It can be particularly exciting for them to meet an old friend they have not seen in a long time.  This is because they like to hear how people grow,  mature, and change with time.  So, a meet up after a long time is a good conversation opportunity for a shy extrovert. 
  • They do not like public speaking especially in front of huge crowds.  This is because they do not like to be the center of attention as it puts them in a situation of being scrutinized.  It also takes away their opportunity to observe others.  Such people can stumble on their words since public speaking does not have a verbal to and fro.  So there is not much opportunity to get immediate responses from the audience which unsettles shy extroverts.
  • These people need time to recharge but less than an introvert.  Large parties and gatherings can be overwhelming for them.  So,  staying home after a few days alone to process things can be e helpful for jumping back in the game. 

How Shy Extroverts can cope

A few coping strategies, shy extroverts can employ are:

  • Reframe how you see shyness.  This means that such a person needs to see their shyness as a human quality and not something to be ashamed of.
  •  Practice your social skills to reduce shyness triggered by certain social situations
  • Establish your boundaries.  
  • Engage in self-care to recharge after socializing at an event. 
  • Mindfulness, relaxation exercises like progressive muscle relaxation & deep breathing and other self-help strategies can also be helpful.
  • Psychiatric Medication can help if shyness is very intense.
  • Talking to a professional and engaging in therapy can help a person overcome shyness. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is particularly useful in such cases as it targets the negative thoughts, emotions, and behavior of a person in the process of change.

FAQs: Can an extrovert be Shy?

Are shy extroverts rare?

Yes. Shy extroverts are rare.  This is because according to researchers,  up to 50-74 percent population are extroverts and the rest are introverts,  so shy extroverts may lie somewhere in between them. 

Can an extrovert have social anxiety?

Yes.  Both extroverts and introverts can experience social anxiety.  However,  social anxiety for an extrovert can be more of a struggle.  This is because they derive their energy from social gatherings but the very social gatherings cause them intense fear.  Consequently, when they avoid such settings,  they feel low and exhausted. 

Can an extrovert be an introvert?

Yes.  Since extroversion and introversion exist on a continuum,  people with both extroverted and introverted tendencies also exist. They are called ambiverts.  They gather energy from socializing in big crowds.  However,  they also need time alone to recharge their battery. 

Can a person change from an introvert to an extrovert?

Yes.  An introvert can become more extroverted but with active effort.  Usually,  this is done to get by in public and professional settings.  However, it is not easy and can be uncomfortable and draining for the introvert.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question ‘Can an extrovert be shy?’. We found that an extrovert can be shy.  This can be explained by the fact that human traits exist on a spectrum.  So extroverts and introverts are not black and white categories.  Instead,  extraversion and introversion exist on a continuum.  So, a person can be an extrovert with introvert tendencies i.e an ambivert. Such a person can enjoy being surrounded by lots of people but may not like to be the center of attention.  They would also need time alone to recharge. So, shy extroverts have the social skills to socialize but they may avoid social situations to recharge as they can also get overwhelmed by constant social stimulation. 

 I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 🙂

Citations

https://www.16personalities.com/articles/when-the-need-to-connect-becomes-terrifying-the-dilemma-of-the-shy-extravert#:~:text=Shyness%20is%20about%20fear.,shy%2C%20there%20may%20be%20challenges.

https://www.lifehack.org/315307/9-signs-that-you-are-actually-shy-extrovert

https://www.healthline.com/health/shyness#:~:text=Shyness%20is%20a%20feeling%20of,or%20say%20what%20they%20want.

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