Although this chapter has addressed many definitions of shyness and embarrassment, there are still problems in identifying one from the other. One way of distinguishing them is presented by Rowland Miller (1996, 2001), who suggests that shyness can be considered as anticipatory (i.e., caused by dread of encounters before judgements have even occurred), whereas embarrassment can be considered as reactive (i.e., pertaining to the realisation that one has transgressed a social norm). Thus, where embarrassment can be socially helpful in repairing faux pas and restoring order after a bad encounter, shyness can only be detrimental as it prevents us from engaging in situations in the first place and denies the opportunity of connections with others.

What do you think is the best way of distinguishing shyness?

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