Major difference between autism and shyness?

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Greatsharkbite
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01 Nov 2012, 9:57 am

Or can autistics be shy? Or even.. is introvertness the same thing as being shy?



Dillogic
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01 Nov 2012, 10:02 am

The DSM-IV-TR puts it as:

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Asperger's Disorder must be distinguished from normal social awkwardness and normal age-appropriate interests and hobbies. In Asperger's Disorder, the social deficits* are quite severe and the preoccupations are all-encompassing and interfere with the acquisition of basic skills.


Shyness comes under normal social awkwardness.

*As defined in the DSM-IV-TR



lostonearth35
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01 Nov 2012, 10:11 am

Shy is one thing I've never been accused of being. My problems were lack of eye contact not knowing how to have conversations that weren't one-sided where I would just go on and on about my special interests and not notice or really care if they weren't interested. I'm not as bad now since learning my diagnoses, in fact it's pretty embarrassing when I think about how obsessed and overexcited I would get about whatever I was interested in, like a new video game or a cartoon...



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01 Nov 2012, 11:30 am

No, introversion is not the same with shyness but an introvert could be shy. I don't know about autism because I'm not sure my brain is autist.
And yes, shyness and social awkwardness are not the same with autism. It is written everywhere, yet people ignore it.


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Callista
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01 Nov 2012, 11:46 am

Greatsharkbite wrote:
Or can autistics be shy?
Yes. In fact, autistics are more likely to be shy. About 75% of us are introverts. About 25% of NTs are introverts.

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Or even.. is introvertness the same thing as being shy?
Depends on how you define shyness. If you define shyness as "experiencing anxiety while in social situations", then that's not the same thing as introversion. Both introverts and extroverts can experience social anxiety. Many introverts do not experience social anxiety; they are just exhausted by too much socializing, or simply prefer solitary or small-group pursuits. Quite a few actors and public speakers are actually introverts with good communication skills; in fact, introverts can have very good social skills, especially when communicating complex and involved topics. Many of the most skillful college professors are introverts.

Another difference between introverts and extroverts is that extroverts will deliberately seek out stimulation of all sorts. They're the people who like loud parties, bright colors, big groups, and spontaneity. They like intense experiences, because their internal state of arousal is usually low, so they look for outside input to add that stimulation and get it up to a comfortable level. Introverts, on the other hand, have a naturally very active internal state; they're already very mentally active by default and don't need a lot of stimulation to get to a comfortable level, which is why they are overwhelmed by the same things an extrovert enjoys. Introverts will like small groups, quiet places, and predictability. Rather than looking for intensity, they tend to like complexity. When things move too fast, they withdraw, while an extrovert would thrive in that fast-paced environment.

Of course, it's a spectrum. Extroverts and introverts aren't two distinct groups, but two extremes on the same continuum. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, with traits of both.

Autism can happen in both extroverts and introverts. So can shyness (social anxiety). An autistic extrovert will often be "active but odd" in style--seeking out other people, talking their ears off. They'll often seek out more intense sensory experiences than their introvert counterpart; instead of rocking chairs, they may ride rollercoasters, and they're often diagnosed with hyperactive-type ADHD too. An autistic introvert will be happier alone or in small groups, and is likely to be drawn to patterns, information, and organization.

Social anxiety expresses itself in both extroverts and introverts. For obvious reasons the introverts are more vulnerable, but an extrovert is much more distressed by social anxiety, because he gets his energy from being around other people--the very thing he wants to enjoy causes him to fear rejection. These are the people who tend to obsess constantly about socializing and failure at socializing. An introvert with social anxiety is more likely to withdraw and become reclusive, but also to be less troubled by it, because he needs less social contact to feel fulfilled. On the other hand, the introverted person with social anxiety usually has a harder time taking advantage of treatment, because it is natural and healthy for him to be alone--he has to step farther out of his comfort zone to try the social activities that frighten him.

Autism, when it comes to socializing, affects primarily the potential for learning and thus the skill level, but it doesn't cause social anxiety. It's a risk factor for social anxiety disorder because the failures feared by those with social anxiety will probably happen. An autistic person with social anxiety doesn't just have to understand that it's not that scary to socialize; he also has to learn how to deal with the inevitable mistakes and embarrassment, and reconcile himself to the knowledge that those things will periodically happen. That's more of an obstacle than a socially anxious NT has to overcome.


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01 Nov 2012, 11:54 am

Although I am not officially diagnosed, I can speak as someone who very strongly believes they are on the AS end of the spectrum.

I don't go out for many social events these days, but, when I have, I think people sometimes see me as outgoing rather than shy at least some of the time. This is especially true if I am in a well known setting with trusted friends. What they don't know is that this outgoing persona is incredibly stressful to maintain a lot of the time. If I am somewhere crowded, new or with people I don't really know, I have a LOT more trouble and sometimes have had to lock myself in a cubicle for 10 mins just to calm down.

This determination comes from a desire to overcome that strange social difficulty I have always had but never understood. At about 18 I told myself that if I kept trying, I could become 'normal' and fit in without trying. Becoming social was almost a special project for me as I went to university. I found I was able to at least appear social but it was draining and although I became better at hiding it, going to the pub for a pint with friends still makes me anxious and stressed a lot of the time.


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Uprising
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01 Nov 2012, 1:41 pm

AnotherKind wrote:
No, introversion is not the same with shyness but an introvert could be shy. I don't know about autism because I'm not sure my brain is autist.
And yes, shyness and social awkwardness are not the same with autism. It is written everywhere, yet people ignore it.

A lot of people seem to abuse the shyness thing to not interact with certain people they hugely dislike.

This is why I don't like the term "shyness".



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01 Nov 2012, 1:53 pm

Uprising wrote:
AnotherKind wrote:
No, introversion is not the same with shyness but an introvert could be shy. I don't know about autism because I'm not sure my brain is autist.
And yes, shyness and social awkwardness are not the same with autism. It is written everywhere, yet people ignore it.

A lot of people seem to abuse the shyness thing to not interact with certain people they hugely dislike.

This is why I don't like the term "shyness".
What does that mean? abuse the shyness thing to avoid to not interact with people they dislike? Not trying to be a smart ass, just want to know what it means.



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01 Nov 2012, 1:57 pm

Rascal77s wrote:
Uprising wrote:
AnotherKind wrote:
No, introversion is not the same with shyness but an introvert could be shy. I don't know about autism because I'm not sure my brain is autist.
And yes, shyness and social awkwardness are not the same with autism. It is written everywhere, yet people ignore it.

A lot of people seem to abuse the shyness thing to not interact with certain people they hugely dislike.

This is why I don't like the term "shyness".
What does that mean? abuse the shyness thing to avoid to not interact with people they dislike? Not trying to be a smart ass, just want to know what it means.

Act like they're shy as f**k, so their interaction with that person becomes more minimal.



antifeministfrills
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01 Nov 2012, 2:09 pm

What if you're a socially anxious introvert with poor social skills, but the ability to make eye contact etc?



Rascal77s
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01 Nov 2012, 2:23 pm

Uprising wrote:
Act like they're shy as f**k, so their interaction with that person becomes more minimal.


I'm just not comprehending this. Why would someone act shy in order to not interact with another person? Wouldn't just plain not interacting with them be easier?



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01 Nov 2012, 2:32 pm

Rascal77s wrote:
Uprising wrote:
Act like they're shy as f**k, so their interaction with that person becomes more minimal.


I'm just not comprehending this. Why would someone act shy in order to not interact with another person? Wouldn't just plain not interacting with them be easier?

Because acting shy would make it less suspicious and obvious.

Otherwise it could be used against them.



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01 Nov 2012, 2:58 pm

Uprising wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
Uprising wrote:
Act like they're shy as f**k, so their interaction with that person becomes more minimal.


I'm just not comprehending this. Why would someone act shy in order to not interact with another person? Wouldn't just plain not interacting with them be easier?

Because acting shy would make it less suspicious and obvious.

Otherwise it could be used against them.


You mean not interacting with a person can be used against you unless you are perceived as shy? Isn't shy viewed as a negative attribute in and of itself? Could you just make up an example of how of this so I can understand it?



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01 Nov 2012, 3:09 pm

Yeah, I don't see how that's exactly a bad thing; deceptive, but not something I'd look down on someone for. If somebody did that and I knew they were doing it, I think I'd just figure they were either tired and didn't want to interact right then, or else that they didn't like that person, didn't want to interact with them, but didn't want to tell them straight out. That would be more like a "little white lie" of the sort that many people tell when they want to do something that's not socially acceptable, but don't want to admit they are doing it or don't want other people to get angry at them for doing it. Avoiding someone they don't like to interact with is something that they might not want other people to know they are doing. So they act shy instead.

It seems to be a self-protection thing, much like Aspies who act like NTs as much as they can in public. It's a "little white lie".

I haven't yet seen anybody actually act shy to avoid interacting with people, but I suppose it could happen.


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01 Nov 2012, 4:39 pm

antifeministfrills wrote:
What if you're a socially anxious introvert with poor social skills, but the ability to make eye contact etc?


I'm a socially anxious introvert with....hmm wouldn't say poor social skills but not very good social skills, but I can make eye contact.

Actually, saying that, I fail to make eye contact with strangers passing in the street, but that's only because I irrationally believe that if a stranger makes eye contact with me (without a smile) then they are judging me. Deep down I know that isn't necessarily true, but my social anxiety gets the better of me there and I can't think of a way to stop myself believing that. It's irrational paranoia. I make natural eye contact with people I'm to interact with, like cashiers, bus-drivers, et cetera. And also when having a conversation with anyone, of course.

I wouldn't say my social skills are as poor as I think they are. I wouldn't say I'm excellent, but I'm good enough at making conversation with one other person, but I'm not very good at joining in groups. The reason being is because I'm always afraid to hear my own voice, and I also fear being interrupted or not heard by the others, or not being able to get a word in and so on. See, my poor social skills all seem to come from fear, not so much ''lack of ability to socialise''. I know what to do in my head, but I have problems verbalizing it, due to severe social anxiety, leading to shyness and also embarrassment and/or self-pity and low self-esteem too.

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01 Nov 2012, 5:13 pm

MBTI shows I'm INTJ, so that makes me an introvert, I'm also shy unless I have courage that particular day. :shrug: