Some people view extroverted individuals as confident and able to thrive in social situations. However, extroverted people can still experience social anxiety.

Close up of the back of a person, an extrovert with social anxietyShare on Pinterest
Andrey Pavlov/Stocksy

According to popularly held beliefs, introverted people tend to be shy and reserved, and people are probably more likely to think of introverts regarding social anxiety. However, research shows that there is such a trait as an “anxious extrovert.”

It is also worth noting that it is a myth that introverted people tend to be shy. While some may be shy, introverted people tend to be overstimulated by others and therefore need alone time to reset their internal resources.

Read on for the link between extroversion and social anxiety and how extroverted people with social anxiety can manage their mental health.

Psychologist Carl Jung first coined the terms introvert and extrovert in the early 1900s. The general idea is that introverted people are most comfortable in the inner world of ideas and images, whereas extroverted people are most comfortable in the outer world of people and things.

Recently, the meanings of these words have shifted somewhat, and people think of extroverted people as outgoing and introverted people as shy. This is not the case in terms of what these actually mean. Extroverted people can be shy, and introverted people can be very outgoing. It is more about where a person’s energy comes from.

However, being an extroverted person or an introverted person is not binary. These personality styles exist on a spectrum.

Around 15 million adults in the United States have social anxiety disorder, making it the most common anxiety disorder diagnosed after specific phobia. People with social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, usually begin to develop the condition during their teenage years.

They can find social situations extremely difficult to deal with. While most people find some social situations challenging some of the time, social anxiety disorder can cause anxiety and dread on a scale that stops a person from getting on with their life.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines social anxiety disorder as: “persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be embarrassing and humiliating.”

The condition can impact school, work, and social situations. People with social anxiety disorder experience intense and relentless fear of being scrutinized by others.

Someone might have social anxiety disorder if they experience the following psychological symptoms for at least 6 months:

  • fear of being judged by others
  • self-consciousness in everyday social situations
  • avoidance of meeting new people due to fear or anxiety

It can also result in physical symptoms, including increased heart rate and sweating.

These symptoms can make it challenging to cope with everyday life. People with social anxiety disorder may withdraw from social situations, turning the issue into a vicious cycle.

Learn more about social anxiety disorder here.

As noted above, introversion and extroversion are one trait of personality.

While people may be more likely to associate introverted people than extroverted people with social anxiety, results from a 2020 study suggest that “anxious extroverts” exist. During the study, 265 people diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and 164 people without the condition completed personality and anxiety assessments.

The study’s authors used five key elements of personality, known as the “big five traits of personality”:

  • neuroticism
  • extraversion
  • openness
  • conscientiousness
  • agreeableness

Overall, they found that people with social anxiety disorder were more likely to score higher for neuroticism and significantly lower for extroversion, openness, and conscientiousness.

However, they also highlighted that people can be anxious without being shy. In fact, the largest subgroup of participants was socially anxious but scored near normal for extroversion and high for openness.

Social anxiety can be challenging, regardless of a person’s tendency toward extroversion or introversion. However, they can take action to help themselves to cope with this anxiety disorder.

Here are several strategies they can try:

Gain knowledge about the condition

To prevent social anxiety disorder from becoming overwhelming, it can be good for people who may have a tendency toward extroversion to gain as much knowledge about their condition as possible. Reading up and joining support groups can help people with social anxiety learn about the symptoms, spot them when they arise, and stem them before they get out of control.

Take a breath

Developing the ability to take a breath before diving into a social situation may help make socializing something to look forward to rather than dread.


Performing acts of kindness can help extroverts feel as though they are making a positive contribution to the world. Knowing they are doing something that others will judge in a positive light may help to reduce any social anxiety. It is equally important for extroverts with social anxiety to treat themselves with kindness if they tend to criticize themselves about their condition.


Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or even focusing on a hobby, can help take a socially anxious extroverted person out of their head. Any way a person can reduce stress can help alleviate all types of anxiety, including social anxiety. It may also provide them with techniques they can adopt when they feel an attack coming on.

Talk with a professional

The first line of treatment for social anxiety disorder is individual or group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Findings from a 2021 study suggest that group CBT is beneficial for social anxiety, social functioning, and overall mental health in adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.

A person can talk with a healthcare professional about how to start CBT.

Social anxiety disorder is not always manageable through self-help techniques alone, in which case it is important to seek help.

When the condition begins to cause issues in a person’s everyday life — such as avoiding social interaction due to fears at school, work, or with friends and family — they should speak with a doctor.

A doctor may be able to help, or they may refer the person to a psychotherapist or other specialist healthcare professional, depending on their individual circumstances.

People often view extroverted people as outgoing and confident, and introverted people as more likely to experience social anxiety. However, extroverts can also be socially anxious.

The actual meaning of introvert and extrovert has shifted in recent years. People tend to use extrovert for outgoing people and introvert for shy people. However, this is not necessarily correct. Rather, the terms introvert and extrovert refer to where a person’s energy and focus come from.

The intense fear of other people’s judgment that comes with social anxiety can affect school, work, and social situations.

This can be particularly challenging for extroverts, who often thrive in groups and get their energy from other people. When social anxiety starts to take over everyday life, a person should seek help from a healthcare professional.