It’s a beautiful weekend afternoon, and you hear the din of people gathering in your next-door neighbor’s backyard. Laughter punctuates the chit-chat that ebbs and flows over the fence. Do sounds like these make you want to run over…or run away? Social connections are linked with a variety of physical and mental health effects. But, social interactions can hit differently for each person.1 It’s not a one-size-fits-all recipe.
People feel and respond differently to social stimuli. And because of that, they’ll look for the type of social connection that works for them. Today, we want to look at introversion, extroversion and social anxiety and dispel some myths about them. This way, we can better navigate social interactions and create a supportive environment for everyone.
Myth #1: Extroverts and introverts want the same thing1,2,3
People who are extroverts generally seek, engage in and enjoy social interactions. They might act assertive, talkative and at ease. They’re usually comfortable and even dominant in their interactions. People who are extroverted feel more energized by other people. They’re not “better” or “worse” at socializing. Rather, the way they’re wired makes it feel rewarding to be in the company of people.
Introverts are less drawn to social gatherings. They need the alone or one-on-one time to recharge their emotional batteries. They tend to be quieter and feel comfortable on their own. To introverts, social time feels less motivating. Introverts and extroverts process information differently and are just energized by different things.
If you’re someone on the quieter side, the world can feel geared toward extroverts—but everyone has a voice that matters. Whether you identify as an introvert or an extrovert, you are an important member of our community.
Struggling to socialize? Or improve your communication skills? Create your Teladoc Health account to speak with a mental health professional.
Myth #2: Only introverts feel social anxiety4
No! Introverts and extroverts can feel social anxiety under a variety of general or specific social conditions. Introverts are often uncomfortable being the center of attention. Extroverts can feel internal pressure to always be “on.” Social anxiety feels like an intense, persistent fear of being observed or exposed by others. People with social anxiety tend to avoid social situations that put them at risk of feeling judged, embarrassed or rejected. Symptoms of social anxiety include:
- Blushing, sweating and trembling
- Racing heart rate
- Feeling nauseous and/or like your mind is going blank
- Becoming rigid in your body posture
- Having trouble making eye contact
- Feeling very self-conscious and awkward in front of other people
Social anxiety is relatively common in the United States. It can sometimes interfere with work, school or day-to-day activities. Though social anxiety can feel overwhelming, there are resources that can help. Therapy, support groups and some medications have been shown to help people cope so that they can get through social situations with less anxiety.
Online mental health resources
Have questions about social behavior? We can help. At Teladoc Health, we’ve made mental healthcare more accessible so that you don’t have to wait weeks for an appointment. With a virtual appointment, you can speak with a mental health counselor right from your home, your office or wherever you’re most comfortable. We’re here to help you get started today!
Published August 24, 2023