The Struggles Of Being A Quiet Person

Breaking news: I'm a quiet person. I like one-on-one interactions better than large groups, I only speak up when I feel like I have something to contribute, and I'm perfectly content to sit in silence.

In this world that values things like being loud and making yourself heard, being quiet can be quite the struggle. If I had a nickel for every time I've side-eyed someone because of an incorrect or otherwise insensitive comment about my lack of talking, I wouldn't have any student loans left to pay off. I most certainly talk! Become my friend and there's a good chance that at some point I'll yap on and on to you about something you're not even really interested in (which is why I created this blog, let's be honest)!

Basically, being quiet often means being misunderstood, underestimated or flat out overlooked. Quiet friends, I KNOW you'll feel me on these!

And suddenly that Photobooth selfie I took while working (read: procrastinating) in the QMUL library comes in handy!

+ "How come you never talk?" Bonus: this (and other versions of the same sentiment) is always said by someone I've just recently met. Excuse me, borderline stranger, but has it crossed your mind that I'm not being Chatty Cathy because I don't feel comfortable with you yet? That maybe if we were friends I'd have no problem talking your ear off? How about you spend more than 10 minutes in my presence before judging my talkativeness? Or maybe -- stay with me here -- I just don't have anything to say at the moment! If you're talking about something I don't understand or don't have much of an interest in, I'm not going to flap my gums just for the sake of hearing my own voice. So be a dear and don't assume I'm a mute based on this one single environment you've seen me in.

+ Louder people get all the credit. My first time in London, I was on the tube with my grandparents and cousin Molly, and we were heading to Buckingham Palace. We'd been on the train for several minutes when I looked up at the map and realized we were going the wrong way. So I said, "We're going the wrong way." Molly, who was sitting next to me, heard what I said and exclaimed, "We're going the wrong way!" It was only then that my grandparents heard, and they ushered us off the train and began thanking Molly profusely for noticing that we were headed in the wrong direction. Luckily this was a pretty inane situation, as we promptly burst out laughing and Molly gave me all the credit for noticing and I gave her all the credit for being loud (our differences make us a great team!). We still joke about this regularly. But in a more important situation, in which getting credit for a job well done is actually important, and when you're not dealing with someone willing to give it to you? Um, that's a problem.

+ People assume you have no personality. LOL, this one might be my favorite. Just because I'm not constantly word-vomiting my personality all over you from the get-go doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Not all quiet people have the personality of a wet dishrag. Most of us have quite a lot going on underneath the surface; the phrase "it's always the quiet ones you've got to watch out for" is a thing for a reason. I've heard people say things in surprise like, "...oh wow, you're feisty!" numerous times, and each time I've been equal parts amused and miffed. Don't let the glasses and soft-spoken demeanor fool you, my friends. I won't take your crap, am more sarcastic than is socially appropriate and can cuss like a sailor.

+ "You're so shy!" Alright, let's clear this up: introverted, quiet and shy are three different things. They often go together, sure, but they're not mutually exclusive. Introverted means being introspective, and being energized by being alone rather than in social situations. Quiet means not talking very much. Shy means being timid and self-conscious around other people. I, personally, am probably about 100% introverted, 50% quiet, and 25% shy. My being quiet often has very little to do with being shy, and I'm perfectly capable of (and, in fact, greatly enjoy) friendly small-talk with random strangers in public places. So just because I'm not saying anything doesn't mean I'm afraid to speak up. #TheMoreYouKnow

But hey, there's at least one benefit of being quiet: when you do open your mouth, people are more inclined to take you seriously!

Quiet folks, do you agree with me on this? What comments and misconceptions have you faced?

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  1. YES! Seriously this is 100% accurate. I'm the same as you, 100% introverted, 50% quiet, and 25% shy. But people give me a lot of crap for it. I hear "how come you dont talk a lot?" on a regular basis. People make countless jokes about my "quietness."
    Its not that I hate talking, its just that I'm not comfortable with you yet. Dont take it personally gosh dangit.

    This post spoke to me on a spiritual level. lol.

    Introverts unite! But not for too long because we need alone time too.

  2. Haha so true! The worst is when people give you looks of pity and say "You're being very quiet, are you okay?"... I highly recommend reading Quiet, by Susan Cain. It's super interesting :)

  3. YES! I get this wayyyy too much! Especially during my masters, we had little seminars of like 6 people, and everyone was always asking why I was so quiet, etc. I just don't believe in saying everything that comes to my mind. I need to know I'll make a valid point to add to a discussion. But that usually stops when I become friends with people - then I get comfortable to speak my mind :)

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  5. Yeah I feel you. Thank God it's not just me.

  6. IT seems like sometimes, the loudmouths just can't leave us alone or us quiet ones simply want some peace and quiet on the PVTA BUS don't get it because loud people are yapping on their smart phones and this is annoying as hell, or you get two loudmouths yapping back and forth about something us quiet ones could care less about and they do this at work too.