Prior to making a new friend at church, I always jumbled up these two words - "introvert" and "shy" - in my head to mean basically the same thing. Or rather, I knew that there was a distinction but I wasn't quite sure what it was. Then, I met a talkative and bubbly introvert. Her nature partly comes from her years of working customer service jobs, but it also comes from "recharging" herself with little stimulus while driving and commuting throughout her day.
Let's take a step back. To start, the matter of being an introvert versus an extrovert deals with where someone get their energy from. This energy is said in both a physical and mental context. For example, "low energy" would refer to feeling physically tired and wanting to stimulate the brain from a sluggish state of mind, in whichever way suits the personality type. Extroverts get their energy from talking and interacting with others; these are the types of people who become extremely bored with being by themselves and find that they perk up when hanging out with others. However, introverts get their energy from being alone, hence the "recharging" metaphor. These are the people whose energy levels slowly decrease the longer they hang out with groups of people, and must have some alone time in order to feel more energized and ready to socialize again.
Me after talking to new people for 0.0002 seconds media2.giphy.com
This being said, it is completely realistic for my friend to state that she is an introvert, and then watch her turn around and greet all the new churchgoers at the church we both help out at. She has driven 45 minutes in a low-stimulus environment to get to this church, and therefore has had time to recharge in order to socialize. All this means is that she is not shy, like me.
As an introvert, no matter how much "alone time" I give myself, I still find it extremely difficult to talk to new people and make it look like I'm enjoying the conversation (which I am, I promise!). I naturally act timid, reserved, maybe even nervous in front of others, even if I'm awake and have had the whole day to myself.
However, people like my friend give people like me hope, that introvertedness and shyness don't have to go hand in hand. It may be difficult to change being an introvert, but shyness is something that can be overcome - with a little bit of practice and newfound confidence, and having my friend as a role model to look up to.