Timidity is a personality trait described as shyness resulting from low or lack of confidence. A timid person would behave awkwardly whenever close to another person.
It can be caused by something as simple as other people walking up to them and approaching them.
This trait is commonly associated with a feeling brought about by being around strangers or new people. Often, these people suffer from social anxiety and get easily intimidated whenever there is the possibility of interacting with another human being.
Related: Female personality types
Timidity is sometimes caused by genetic traits. However, it can also be a result of how one is raised from childhood to adulthood. Depending on the quality of nurturing environment, a person can either be outgoing and enthusiastic in social settings or the opposite.
Is timidity trait genetic?
Shyness in a person can be a result of a combination of several aspects of personality. Some studies state that being shy may be because of one’s genetic traits. But the aspects of individual personality traits, as well as the environment in which a person is nurtured are also potential contributors to being timid.
Although timidity is a behavioral trait that is not exclusive to humans because animals exhibit this as well. However, what makes humans’ timidity different from animals lies in cognition and motivation.
For some timid people, this trait may fade in time, but this would also largely depend on the nurturing environment a child experiences. Shyness in children is common, but it typically fades as they grow into adolescence or adulthood.
What triggers timidity?
Timidity level varies across individuals. Some people are comfortable mingling with others but shy when it comes to job interviews. Others can be outgoing around one particular person but would shy away from the rest of the world.
Despite the varying levels of timidity, people often have common triggers for this behavior. Unfamiliar situations are the topmost triggers of this behavior, but there are instances where timid individuals may exhibit shy behavior even in familiar situations.
Timidity is associated with apprehension and is typical for people exhibiting this behavioral trait to avoid objects or people that cause such feelings.
It does not help timid individuals overcome this behavior since they develop a habit of escaping unfamiliar situations instead of facing their fears.
As said earlier, being shy is entirely normal, especially when faced with something unfamiliar. However, shyness can become a serious problem when a person struggles to find words to express himself or herself in a social setting.
What is the difference between timid, shy, and introverted people?
With all of that being said, it is significant to point out the main difference between these three commonly interchangeably used terms.
Shyness or being shy is a natural human reaction whenever faced with an unfamiliar person or situation. Children are expected to be shy, given their developmental capabilities, knowing so little about the world.
However, the problem begins when a child becomes repetitively shy and avoids confronting one’s shyness and fears. This can lead to experiencing difficulty in making meaningful connections with other children.
A shy child may seem unfriendly or unapproachable, which can cause a child to be left out when in a social setting.
There are a lot of people who still find it challenging to overcome their shyness as adults.
Compared to shyness, timidity is often associated with feelings of anxiety and anguish. Timid people have little to no confidence and are constantly nervous about the world around them. Sometimes, timid individuals are also described as being too cautious because they always overthink what their actions could result in.
If shyness is natural and genetic, timidity is a trait that has more to do with one’s environment. How a person is raised can significantly affect how one approaches familiar and unfamiliar situations.
Timid people are exposed to an abusive and fearful environment where any show of resistance will immediately get reprimanded. This is why they developed the habit of retracting in unfamiliar situations.
Introversion is different from shyness and timidity since it is a trait where an individual prefers being alone over being in a social setting. It is the opposite of extroversion, and although it may sound a lot like shyness, introversion is an entirely different concept.
In comparison to shy people, introverts purposely avoid engaging with people because such activities are too draining and exhausting. Introverts are not particularly anxious about unfamiliar situations. They choose to be in their own company because it brings more comfort and relaxation than a social setting.