You can’t hide your introvert feelings when you’re around people, especially when they’re trying to help you with your life.
That’s because introverts are likely to be judged on their ability to manage their emotions in ways that extroverts can’t, a new study finds.
So it’s not surprising that introverts aren’t popular with the general population, says Amanda Dabbs, a clinical psychologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and co-author of the study.
“Introverts are the most introverted people in the world, and the least understood,” she says.
But her team is trying to change that by looking at introversion in a more personal way.
They wanted to know whether introversion can actually be an advantage or disadvantage to a person who’s struggling with stress and anxiety.
“There’s a huge literature showing that introversion and stress are linked, and that stress is related to increased anxiety and depression, and it’s also related to lower self-esteem,” she explains.
The researchers took that research and turned it on its head.
They were interested in what happens when introverts, people who can’t suppress their introversion, were shown a picture of someone who could manage their anxiety and stress without feeling like they had to hide it.
They gave the participants a questionnaire that asked them to rate how comfortable they felt, and then played the introvert-type person in the video.
In the video, the introverted person seemed to be a more positive personality, while the extroverted person was a less positive personality.
That suggests that introverted personalities are likely more likely to benefit from social support.
They also said that social support could be important because extroversion tends to get in the way of introversion.
So the researchers asked the participants to imagine they were in a situation where they were being asked to help someone else, but they could’t do so.
They asked people to rate their level of comfort, and found that they were more likely when the introverts in the picture were around.
“When we were in the room, they were also in the most comfortable emotional state.
We’re not just talking about a person that is more comfortable in their own skin,” DabBS says.
“So if they’re in a room with someone who’s comfortable in the moment, it could be that they’re more likely than others to benefit in the long run from being around people who are comfortable in that moment.”
And the extromote also seemed to benefit, the study found.
The introverts tended to be rated as being more comfortable, but when they were asked how they felt when someone else helped them with their stress, they tended to report feeling more comfortable with the extroposteer, DabBs says.
In other words, introverts might feel better when they can feel supported by someone who is supportive and empathetic.
The findings don’t mean that people should avoid social support when they feel anxious, Dbbs says.
It just means that introvert behavior is probably less likely to result in social stress and less likely in a negative impact on a person’s well-being.
The study is published online March 5 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
A version of this article appears on Live Science.