Is “shy” the same as “introverted,” and what does that have to do with stuttering?
With the holidays upon us, there tend to be more opportunities for socializing. A person who stutters may find these gatherings challenging, particularly if he or she feels shy in social settings. Shyness is a feeling of timidity, discomfort, or apprehension in at least some social situations related to fear of negative judgment. We’ve recently published two other blog posts about shyness and people who stutter (Stuttering and the shy child and Adults who stutter: shyness and social anxiety).
While the characteristics often overlap, being shy is not the same as being introverted. Introverts actually prefer quiet, minimally interactive environments. While they may not relish attending parties, they do so calmly, comfortably finding opportunities for quiet reflection and solace. The shy individual will be more likely to actually experience thoughts of worry and physical feelings associated with anxiety (increased heart rate, sweating, etc).
So, being introverted does not necessarily present any greater challenge for the individual who stutters. However, many people who stutter are really shy extroverts! For example, some people who stutter are very eager to be in the performance spotlight but experience great anxiety at the thought of having to make small talk with the audience. If you stutter, and shyness is holding you back, it is possible to address this in therapy.
top image: dreamer07