Life

It’s Okay to be Quiet

“Why are you so quiet?”

“Why don’t you talk?”

“You should talk more.”

I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of times I have heard questions and statements like these in my lifetime.

I have been a quiet and introspective person for as long as I can remember (aside from a loud and obnoxious phase from 8th-9th grade with my best friend). During all of that time, I have never felt like my quietness was well-received, except perhaps by a teacher here and there. To me, the reactions of others consistently told me that being quiet was something that is frowned upon.

I’ve never once considered asking a particularly extroverted person “Why are you so loud?”, “why do you talk so much?”, or telling them that they needed to talk less. I’m doubtful it would be taken well if I did.

Why is it acceptable to ask these things to those of us who are quiet?

An Extrovert’s World..

It can be challenging enough at times feeling like an introvert in an extrovert’s world-even without the added discomfort of feeling called out for not speaking as often as someone believes you should. Especially when these individuals are often strangers or acquaintances who know little about you.

I understand that others out there may be uncomfortable with silence and must talk to fill the void. Perhaps this is why they say these things-they simply don’t understand our comfort in silence.

Or perhaps, they always have something to say and enjoy making conversation about mundane topics and don’t understand those of us who don’t feel the need to speak if we don’t have anything meaningful to say.

Not One For Small Talk…

I will often end a conversation when I feel I have nothing of importance to contribute or if I’m not much interested in the topic. This leads to an inability to carry small talk for too long. I often worry that my disinclination towards small talk gives the impression that I am rude or that it leads me to miss out on potential friendships.

However, I’ve found that the right people will continue to make an effort to get to know me. Eventually, I’m more inclined to come out of my shell and discover more common ground that I enjoy discussing.

Environment Matters

I am a chameleon of sorts when it comes to my environments. At work, I’ll often be extra quiet and keep to myself, because I need to put myself into “work-mode” in order to focus and be productive. I was the same way in school.

BUT, if you catch me at a happy hour, or better yet, some other type of activity – I’m more inclined to be in social mode and chat more.

I like to have separation, otherwise I can become easily distracted or my social battery drains quickly. When this happens, I often feel exhausted and lack focus in the tasks I need to complete.

We All Thrive in Different Ways

Being a quiet person does not define me, but it is primarily what others will notice before getting to know me. I’ve forced many conversations that have felt false in hopes of making a better impression. But that’s simply not me-and that’s okay.

If you’re a quiet person like me, remember that it’s okay to be. Nothing is wrong with you. Next time someone asks why you’re so quiet, don’t feel like you need to ramp up your personality to fit in. Some people will understand you, some will not. This is also okay. You’ll find those who matter.

You are just as worthy of friendships, getting the job, having your wonderful ideas heard, spending time around others, and feeling comfortable. It’s your voice and you may use it as you please.

Are you a quiet person? Have you ever asked anyone these questions? Are you a chameleon?

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