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9 Signs That You Are Actually A Shy Extrovert

9 Signs That You Are Actually A Shy Extrovert

I first took a personality test in junior high.  The results reminded me of Tris’s aptitude test in Divergent. I was exactly on the line, between “introvert” and “extrovert.” And my life experiences reflected this.

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 liked to share my thoughts with other people.

Thankfully, as more research has been done on personality, we are realizing that there are more types than just “introvert” and “extrovert.”  Over time, I would realize that I am a shy extrovert.

Is it possible that you are a shy extrovert as well?  Here are some situations you may encounter, if you belong in this camp:

1.  We are at the party, but we aren’t the life of the party.

Shy extroverts love being in social situations, but we do not feel the need to dominate the conversation.  We may not speak up at the party, because we do not think that our jokes are interesting and because we do not always enjoy talking about ourselves. We also enjoy observing those around us, and we may become expert “people watchers.”

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One way that I have learned to capitalize on this ‘quirk’ is to use my interest in observing those around me as a way to connect with them. Most people do love talking about themselves, and shy extroverts often feel more comfortable when there is less of a ‘threat’ of being judged. So I ask people open-ended questions. When they tell a funny story, I ask them questions about it.  Inquisitiveness is a secret superpower that shy extroverts can hone, and it can provide us with a strong social advantage.

2.  We tend to be great listeners.

Because we are interested in those around us, shy extroverts tend to be good listeners. We are often able to devote a great deal of time listening to those around us, without seeming like we would rather be somewhere else. We are also able to listen deeply to the speaker, rather than just thinking about our next words.

I have found that my ability to listen to those around me (especially as I have learned to ask questions) has helped me to connect with a greater variety of people. I have developed friendships with people from many different walks of life, and I hear all about the ‘drama’ that my friends are experiencing, without being dragged into it.

3.  We are very good at keeping secrets.

Shy extroverts sincerely love listening to other people, and we do not feel the need to become the center of attention. That means that we know everybody’s secrets, but we have no desire to share them in a gossip session.

I have heard juicy, deep secrets from my friends, my acquaintances, and even total strangers in the grocery store line! And I can say that I honestly have no need to divulge these secrets, because I know that the situation is about the person who shared it, not about me. I have no desire to make someone else’s drama my own.

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4.  We love big, loud parties.

Large, but quieter gatherings make us nervous. We do not want to be put on the spot, when we would rather observe those around us and just be a part of things. We are uncomfortable when we are caught between two conversations at the dinner table, or when someone asks us to share something from our personal lives.

What we really prefer is a loud, fun gathering with lots of music and dancing. We can join the crowd on the dance floor, or we can sit down and take in the sights and sounds around us. We love to watch, and we love to be a part of it all, without having to talk.

5.  We don’t need conversation to be constant.

While most extroverts are not comfortable with pauses in the conversation, shy extroverts do not mind them at all. In fact, we welcome the break, where we can take a moment to process and collect our thoughts.

I have noticed that I become exhausted conversing with people who never pause, and that I also become frustrated when someone tries to answer a question for me. As a shy extrovert, I need that processing break. The wheels are turning, and my answer will be well thought-out, because it is not instantaneous.

6.  We tend to have long conversations.

Due to our introspective nature, shy extroverts like to take time to process things. We like to examine everything from every angle and to consider all the possibilities of a situation. And, because we are extroverts, we prefer to do this with someone else there, to bounce ideas off.

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I learned early on, that I loved to write in my journal, but that I also liked someone else to read it, so that they could give their input. It wasn’t that I was seeking approval from the other person; I was wanting a third party to see my ideas and to share their thoughts on them. I still tend to write long e-mails to friends, when I am trying to sort out a situation.

7.  We love meeting up with old friends.

When we haven’t seen a friend in a long time, it can be very exciting for shy extroverts to hear all about that friend’s adventures and learning. We love to watch how people grow and see how everyone matures and changes after a long absence. Add to it the fact that the meet-up is often a one-on-one conversation, and this becomes a perfect scenario for a shy extrovert.

I have found that I am much more comfortable meeting up with one friend at a time, and I do prefer the meet-ups to be somewhat spread out. I love to take a couple hours in the evening to catch up with an old friend over coffee, or to enjoy a short picnic with a visiting friend from my home town.  Hearing other people’s stories has always made me happy, and the stories do become more interesting after a time of absence.

8.  We hate public speaking.

While many extroverts love talking in front of crowds, shy extroverts can’t stand it. Public speaking is everything we dislike. We are the center of attention, we are not able to observe those around us, and we are set up in a position where we may be judged.

I have noticed that I stumble over my words much more when I am speaking to a crowd of more than three people. The lack of immediate response that you receive from public speaking also makes me nervous. If I am not confident, I always assume the worst. I would much rather converse one-on-one, or share my thoughts in writing.

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9.  We need some (but not too much!) time to recharge.

Like introverts, shy extroverts may become overwhelmed in large social gatherings and need some time to recharge. We might stay home for an evening, thinking that we will love spending a great deal of time alone. However, after a few hours, we become restless and start craving human contact.

I have definitely found this to be true in my life. I need my alone time, but then I also need to be hanging out with everyone else, even if I am just observing and asking them questions about their lives.

In the end, the existence of shy extroverts only proves that all of humanity cannot be divided into just two categories. We need to understand (and embrace) the fact that our personalities are much more complex than that. All of our quirks are more than “okay,” and it is really time for all of us to embrace the one-of-a-kind person that we really are!

Featured photo credit: Flicker via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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