People often confuse shyness and introversion, thinking they’re the same thing, or not understanding how someone could be introverted but not shy.
Shyness is social anxiety, and it’s something we all experience to varying degrees. Public speaking is one of the most common triggers of social anxiety. Asking someone for a date is also something that makes most people feel shy.
Shyness boils down to fear of rejection and the humiliation that follows. It’s a crisis of self-confidence.
No one is free from these fears, but most of us forge ahead anyway. Shyness becomes a problem when one experiences anxiety to the point of avoiding social interactions.
Introversion, in contrast, is a personality trait. Introverts are more focused on their inner world than are extroverts. For example, introverts would rather think through a problem than talk it through.
Here’s how I see the difference, illustrated with characters from Star Trek.
Anti-social is perhaps one of the most misused terms. If you’re diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder it means you have no conscience – you’re a psychopath. But this says nothing about how social you are. Ted Bundy was extroverted and self-confident.