As I’m writing this, I just had an encounter with someone at a meeting that told me “You’re so loud, I can’t hear you over there” as I do nothing wrong but sit there. Of course this is not the first time I have experienced this kind of situation. If you’re a shy/quiet person, you most likely understand the anger when someone comments on your quietness.
Let me just name a couple sayings you have probably heard: “you’re so quiet, do you talk?”, “awww you’re so quiet, you don’t talk much huh”.
If you’re on the other side of this saying these things to quiet people, let me just tell you this. Saying that is inconsiderate, rude and just completely unnecessary. I’m a very shy person and have dealt with this my entire life. I could honestly say that is has gotten worse as an adult! To add to these awkward encounters, I have pretty bad social anxiety. We understand that you’re just trying to spark up conversation or be funny or whatever you’re trying to portray but that is NOT the way you should be doing it.
I know it can be difficult trying to start a conversation with shy/quiet people but I believe that people need to be more educated on how to actually converse with us. I wanted to give some tips on how to speak with quiet people because what we deal with since we’re not huge extroverts is not okay and let me just say: YES we are okay, YES we are most likely having a great time, NO we do not hate you or hate what is happening around us, YES we want to talk to you but let us warm up and try these tips to get us to talk without making us feel bad or put us in an awkward situation.
OH PLEASE Don’t Try And Noise Up Quiet People
Personally, I would say this is the most common way I deal with. Sometimes I believe that people do this because society has made us afraid of silence. It has become some sort of trigger for most people. It puts us in an awkward situation and it’s almost impossible to respond to this way of you trying to converse. If anything, now we feel some type of embarrassment or a feeling of just wanting to leave at this point because everyone will be waiting for a response. This makes us more quiet and does not help any situation responding with things like “so you don’t talk much, huh?” or “you over there, you’re so quiet I haven’t heard a word from you!”.
We Most Likely Feel That There Is No Value To Add To The Conversation
We could be in a room full of loud and talkative people and we will still feel like we have nothing to say. We want to join in on the conversation but we may feel like there is no significant value to add. Another common feeling is not wanting to speak over other people or saying the wrong thing. Oh and NO it does NOT help when you tell us “oh just speak! You can do it! I believe in you!”. It’s like us telling you “oh come on! you can stop talking! You got this!”.
We love to observe in silence more than engage in small talk. We will talk when we’re ready to add something to the conversation. If we’re engaged and listening but not talking, we are included in the conversation but just in a different way. One thing that’s obvious for most people is when they genuinely don’t care for what’s happening around them. They will be zoned out or their head will be down. One thing us quiet people have learned is that body language speaks louder than words.
Just Because We’re Quiet Does Not Mean We Want To Be Alone All The Time
Human interaction is very important no matter who you are or what your personality is like. Social interaction is essential in our existence. We may be quiet in social settings but that doesn’t mean we’re having a bad time. I know that it can be difficult that we’re not much of a talkative person but I promise once we’re warmed up or are ready to talk, we will include something into the conversation. It may not be much but please keep in mind it probably took a lot for us to get the courage to speak up and put our two cents in.
Quiet people are often misunderstood by many people. Give us time to warm up and we will talk more when we are ready. I often hate the saying “First impressions are very important.” While I agree to a certain extent that this is true, I disagree with the fact that we shouldn’t judge someone based off of what we see on our first impression. Pointing out our quietness makes us insecure and just pushes us further away. It’s not that easy becoming a social butterfly just by someone saying “don’t be so shy! Just say what you want to say!”. Respect the way we like to live life just like we respect the way you like to be the life of the party or are more comfortable talking than being content in silence.
I recommend checking out this video made by a shy introvert that has dealt with these comments her entire teenage life. I relate a lot to what she says and you might too.
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