By Souls of Silver
Introverts love to be alone. Solitude is their most sociable companion. It is generally the original and powerful mind that most inclines towards the realms of solitude. There are introverts who may suffer from social anxiety. And socially anxious individuals who may be introverts. But there aren’t well-demarcated differences between the person inflicted with social anxiety and the one with introversion. Still, the differences are there all the same.
The introverts harness their energy from their inner world of ideas. It is not an affliction to be cured. It is a matter of choice when you spend your free time the way you prefer, not the way you think you’re supposed to.
For a person suffering from social anxiety, it is less about energy and more about social situations. Their performance at social interactions engulfs their whole world. It is marked by a heightened state of self-awareness, an inability to join in, and a loathing for the self. They do not possess the gift of easily conversing with strangers. They are too terrified to break out of the web of shyness and reserve that they have built around themselves. Nothing terrifies them as much as social rejection.
It is quite often that these lines are blurred and the introvert and the socially anxious are not easily identifiable.
What Society Thinks Matters To The Socially Anxious, While To The Introvert It Is Something That Disinterests
The difference, for the most part, is not obvious but it is there all the same. A non-anxious introvert loves solitude and intimate get-togethers but is not discomfited being among strangers. It is more about preference, not fear. Introverts feel too much social interaction drains them mentally and they have to stay away from it for a considerable time to recover.
But for the socially anxious, social acceptance is everything. The thought of being judged unfavorably by society terrifies them.
Introversion Is Inborn, Social Anxiety Is Acquired
Introversion is biologically based and part of your inherent make-up. You’re born with it. You bring into the world a disposition that cries out to be alone but is delighted in meaningful connections.
Those who are socially anxious also are genetically predisposed towards introversion, but it is something more acquired and learned. We wrongly learn that we do not measure up to social scrutiny. The worries of people close to us might also rub off on us. And as this entire thing works into our brains, we somehow start to believe that we are always being judged and have been found lacking in the eyes of society. But this is a disorder and can be reversed.
The Socially Anxious Are Usually Self-critical
Introverts do not see life as a performance. But the socially anxious have become totally habituated to speaking critically about themselves. Introverts are okay with giving a speech but would prefer avoiding the small talk that follows. But the whole exercise is a terrifying one for the socially anxious. Their minds are engrossed with the mistakes they might commit and the reaction of the audience to it.
There Are Extroverts Too Who May Be Socially Anxious
It might seem strange but we need to remember that social anxiety is acquired and it might afflict both the extrovert and the introvert. The socially anxious extrovert might love going out but also dreads that they may be unwanted.
Introversion is a way of life while social anxiety is an impediment to it. For the introvert, life is not about judgment. Fear doesn’t choose for them. But social anxiety is fed and driven by fear. It gets in the way of a normal life. Life has much to offer but they miss out as they are just not there or are jammed in self-check mode.
Social anxiety is a souped-up version of introversion, but social anxiety is reversible – practice, perspective, and facing one’s fears can make a big difference. The introverts cannot change and they don’t need to. That’s the way they were born. That’s the way they stay.
If you are an introvert, remember that it is nothing to be ashamed of. But if you suffer from social anxiety, make sure you seek the right treatment for it.
Share this article with your dear ones so they can differentiate introversion from social anxiety and help create a world without prejudices against introverts or those who suffer from social anxiety.