10 Advantages of Being Shy

Ways in Which Being Shy Can Sometimes Work to Your Advantage

There are some advantages to being shy.
Shyness can have its advantages. Getty / Ascent/PKS Media Inc.

People who are shy live with with many of the same symptoms as those who have social anxiety disorder (SAD), but to a lesser degree.

Most people who are shy learn to adapt to their surroundings and function as well as possible in a world that is dominated by more outgoing and extroverted types. At the same time, it can be easy to get down on yourself if you are shy; it might seem like everyone else is doing better socially than you.

At times like these, it is helpful to consider some of the benefits or advantages of being shy. These might not be things that immediately come to mind, but they are true of many shy people.

This list might also be helpful if you are overcoming SAD and still struggling with shy tendencies.

1. Modesty is Attractive

Many shy people are modest; you are the last one to announce your accomplishments or let the world know what is amazing about you. You probably shrink from compliments or downplay your positive attributes. Although too much modesty can eat away at self-esteem, a healthy dose is considered an attractive trait by many.

2. Think Before You Act

If you are shy or socially anxious you probably tend to look before you leap. This trait can be helpful when it comes to many life decisions. Thinking carefully and planning before taking action are important for many of life's hurdles including

  • planning for the unexpected
  • avoiding unnecessary risk
  • setting long-term goals

3. More Approachable

When shyness is not extreme, it can make you appear more approachable to others. Shyness, and the modesty and self-effacing nature that go with it, are rarely threatening to others and may allow people to feel more comfortable around you.

In other words, you don't have an "attitude" that makes it hard to talk with you.

4. Calming Effect 

Shy people can sometimes have a calming effect on those who are more high strung. Though you may experience inner turmoil as a shy person, your outward appearance is probably one of being calm and quiet. This calmness and ability to "not react" may have a positive effect on those around you.

5. Human Services Positions

Do you work in a human services position? If so, and if you are shy, your personality probably serves you well in terms of being an empathic listener; being shy makes it easier for other people to open up to you.

6. More Trustworthy

Since you don't toot your own horn and aren't the first to tell everyone about your accomplishments, others may find you more believable and trustworthy. This can also make you a better leader.

7. Ability to Overcome

If you have struggled with shyness your whole life, then you know what it means to battle, endure and overcome difficult feelings. Without your struggle against shyness you would not have developed the ability to cope with life's difficulties.

8. Deeper Friendships

Chances are that when you do manage to develop friendships, they are deep and long-lasting.

Since making friends is not easy, you may place more value on the friends that you have, and your tendency to avoid small talk means that your friendships are not likely to be superficial.

9. Enjoy Solitary Work

Many jobs require the ability to focus and concentrate in a solitary environment; this is where some shy people find that they flourish. Not having a lot of social ties means that you have less interruptions and less need to validate what you are doing in the eyes of others.

10. Experience Rewards More Fully

Research shows that the brains of shy people react more strongly to both negative and positive stimuli.

This means that while you find social situations more threatening than your outgoing counterparts, you may also find positive situations more rewarding. Your increased sensitivity to reward may mean you find more value in working toward goals.

A Word From Verywell

Everyday shyness that does not prevent you from achieving your goals or participating in life can have its advantages. However, severe shyness or social anxiety that interferes with daily functioning is not helpful, and not something with which you have to live. If severe social anxiety is a problem for you, be sure to speak to your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional.

Sources:

Butler, G. Overcoming shyness and social anxiety. New York: Basic Books; 2008.

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