For Yalei Wang, being shy and being an introvert are two different things. Read on to find what she thinks makes the introverts introverted, and the shy, well, shy.


I remember when being shy was something my friends and I really didn’t want to be. You had to be outgoing in order to be noticed first of all, and being shy heightened your chances of being picked on. Out of the schoolyard and onto adulthood, the necessity to “sell yourself” in order to get a job, a book deal or a break is still a necessary step that a lot of people I know feel intimidated by. Being quiet has seldom been a trait associated with success. It’s necessary to be noticed, especially today when we are offered so many channels of making ourselves heard.

Despite the two traits interconnecting, shyness and introversion are different things. Being shy is not a choice but rather an affliction that most shy people struggle against, whilst introverted people are just fine keeping to themselves. Introversion is an occupation whilst shyness is a reaction.

Our society venerates go-getters and people who aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. We praise those who dare to dream big and take steps in making their dreams come true. But to those who want the same things but perhaps lack the boldness to initiate action, we become frustrated and puzzled as to what’s holding them back. In the social arena, it’s the big talkers and bold personalities who take control and have our attention. Wall flowers look upon these individuals with a mixture of longing and puzzlement. Why can’t I be like that?

Nobody believes me when I tell them I’m an introvert. Socially, I like to be noticed and to take charge, but it’s alone time when I truly mentally blossom and find inner clarity. Like other introverts, we have no problems being alone and don’t necessarily seek out company when we’re dining alone in a restaurant or sipping coffee at a café. Introverts engaged in a solo way of life are not seeking someone to come and deliver them from their solitude. Shy people though, may appreciate you stepping in to make the first move. In moments of shyness we are all bound by our fear of losing composure. Shyness is understandable, but it’s often not a choice. We don’t choose to be shy, but often to be discreet or perhaps to be introverted in the approach.

Social media is validating a whole generation of self-promoters seeking exposure for their image. Whatsmore, it’s becoming almost necessary to be a shameless self-promoter in order to be noticed nowadays. Doing things elegantly will never go out of style but will your voice carry itself over all the hoo-ha?

It’s time discretion made a comeback to quell all the commotion of attention seeking that gets on our nerves. To not say anything if we’ve got nothing nice to say at all; to keep our opinions and thoughts to ourselves for once; to not get involved in the drama; and to be an introvert about the whole, thing finding inner sanctum in solitude. There’s no shame in doing things quietly, having something low-key instead of a gala, and to be understated in a world that praises the pursuit of the rat race.


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