The Advantages of Being Shy

Shy people are often empathic and good listeners.
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Although shyness may be seen as a weakness, there are many benefits to having this personality temperament. Shy people are more likely to look before they leap, and they are often conscientious and dedicated in their work. They also tend to be good listeners who are sought after as friends. Recognizing these positive qualities can help you feel better about your personality if you are a shy person.

1 Empathy

People who are shy often have great empathy because they are extremely sensitive to the feelings and emotions of others, notes author Douglas Eby, as cited in the Psych Central article, "5 Gifts of Being Highly Sensitive." If you are shy, you are probably a good listener whom your friends count on to ask lots of questions and give feedback -- without chattering on about yourself. Because of your empathy, career options such as being a teacher, manager or therapist are well within reach. Shy leaders are often effective because they talk less and listen more than outgoing leaders.

2 Creativity

People who are shy and sensitive are often in touch with their feelings and highly creative, notes Susan Cain in the "New York Times" article "Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?" Many shy people become writers, painters, inventors and engineers -- all pursuits that require inner focus. Many famous actors identify themselves as shy -- acting may be another pursuit that allows a shy person to get in touch with his inwardly focused creative side. As a shy person, you may not get caught up with idle chitchat between friends, notes psychologist Barbra Markway in the Psychology Today article "Quiet Is Not a Four-Letter Word," and so have more time to focus on projects and ideas.

3 Sensitive to Details

A shy and sensitive person is often also detail oriented, notes Eby. This extreme focus arises because of a natural sensitivity to stimulation. Although this can be a disadvantage when doing something overstimulating, such as riding a roller coaster, it can also mean that you have a great appreciation for fine details. For example, you might notice all the different flavors in a meal or feel excited watching the first snowflakes of the year. Your sensitive nature allows you to pick up on subtle differences that other people often miss.

4 Cautious

As a shy person, you probably spend a lot of time making decisions and carefully consider different options and outcomes, writes Cain. Given your cautious nature, you are likely to be conscientious and live by a moral code rather than choosing to break rules. In many life situations, these traits can be an advantage. You are less likely to find yourself in trouble for misdeeds, and you are probably someone whom people see as dependable. Parents, teachers and other authority figures likely trust you to make smart decisions -- so you are given more freedom to make decisions on your own.

Arlin Cuncic has been writing about mental health since 2007, specializing in social anxiety disorder and depression topics. She served as the managing editor of the "Journal of Attention Disorders" and has worked in a variety of research settings. Cuncic holds an M.A. in clinical psychology.