When I was a junior in high school, I took a sociology class and I really enjoyed it for a little bit. But my interest in the class tanked when one of my friends who was close to the teacher was talking to him one day and she told me that I got brought up and he asked her if I was a mute. Now, of course, he was joking. However, that was extremely rude and insensitive. When talking about my frustrations of being quiet with the people closest to me I always say that I speak when I’m spoken to. It’s not like I’m so shy and anxious that I would ignore someone if they talked to me. In fact, that makes more anxious because that’s so rude. So, allow me to let you inside the mind of a frustrated quiet person.
Well, why do you talk so much…
Almost every week that passes, I find myself asking at least once, “what’s wrong with me that I’m quiet? What’s wrong with me that I get anxious around other people?”. There has been a lot of frustration and misunderstandings I’ve had to deal with in my twenty-one years. And honestly, I’m over it. We never question extroverts or people that like to talk and ask them why they can’t stop talking. So, why do people find it appropriate to put such a negative connotation on introverted and quiet people that they think they’re a snob, boring, or rude? For people that don’t share that much that quickly, there sure are a lot of rash and quick judgments made of them.
This has been my reality almost my whole life. In fact, I was just talking to my best friend, Coral, and she is struggling with the same person. She is one of the sweetest people that I have ever met in my life (even though we technically haven’t met in real life) and I’ve never felt more understood and related to a person than I have with her. It’s always been so interesting to me that people get so upset when you are not like them. This can go for anything in life.
But how bizarre is it that people make such a harsh judgment about how much a person doesn’t speak especially when you first meet them. Everyone has a different personality. I mean I don’t get upset when I’m around someone who is more extroverted than I am. In fact, I’m really thankful for extroverted people because they can take the heat off introverted people more in crowds. But we all have different personalities. We all have different life experiences. We all have different family dynamics.
I am not a snob
Just because I’m not saying anything doesn’t mean I’m judging you or thinking I’m better than anyone. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I think everyone is better than me. I am worried about everyone’s opinion of me because I want to make a good impression. Sometimes it’s so ridiculous about how much I want to make a good impression sometimes but that’s just the people-pleaser in me. I’m worried I’m going to say something stupid or the wrong thing so I’m psyching myself out. Actually, I’m putting way too much meaning on your opinion of me.
I am not a bitch
I am not avoiding eye contact, giving awkward smiles, and giving one-word answers because I’m being a bitch. To be honest, I’m really intimidated by you or the situation that I’m in. It also doesn’t help that I get anxious in social situations, anyways. I’m trying to be your friend you, not trying to offend you. I don’t think that I’m too good to communicate with anyone. Personally, I think it’s unfair that someone being quiet is equated with them being a mean person. It just makes me more nervous.
I’m not trying to be rude
I always have my phone in my hand, partly because women’s clothes are the worst and don’t have pockets, but also because my hands need to be doing something. It’s my crutch. I’ll occasionally look at it because I feel the need to do something but then I have an overwhelming feeling that everyone is thinking I’m the worst because I glanced at my phone in a gathering. Basically being quiet and anxious can be a never-ending nightmare.
I’m also paying close attention to what you’re talking about even if you think I’m not into the conversation because I’m not contributing. One of the things that I love about being quiet is that I think I’m a really good listener. I want to make sure people are really heard. We all know there is a difference between being listened to and being heard. We can all listen but not everyone is being heard. When I’m talking, I can tell when someone is just listening and when I’m being heard. I really appreciate when I’m being heard so I do my best to do that for other people.
I don’t talk, I lose. But I stick up for something for once, and I lose.
I am not one to stick up for myself. Like ever. Do you want to walk all over me? I’ll hold the door for you. However, if you come for someone I love, I will say something. What I realized is that people don’t like that either. People get annoyed when I’m quiet, but because they expect that of me, the moment I open up my mouth to defend something – they don’t like that either.
So, I suppose in the words of Kacey Musgraves, “you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. So, you might as well just do whatever you want”. As long as whatever you want isn’t hurting yourself, anyone, or anything – go for it.
You don’t have to tell me I’m quiet, I’m aware
I talked about this subject briefly in my 10 Things This Introverted and Socially Anxious Communication Major is Tired of Hearing post but the phrase I’ve probably heard most in my life is, “you’re so quiet!” Like, yes? I know, thank you. It’s only going to make me feel more insecure. When I’m in a conversation with someone or in a group, I’m always really aware when I haven’t added anything to the conversation for a while and then I’m thinking I need to say something so they don’t think the above things. But then it creates a mental roadblock for me and I can’t come up with anything to say because I’m so hyper-focused on that I need to say something – anything.
Also, don’t ask me when I’m quiet either because I don’t ask why you talk so much.
I’ve been struggling with publishing this post for a few weeks because, again, I’m worried about what some people are going to think if they even read this. And if they do read this, I just hope they know it’s coming from a place of frustration and not spite. Doing things out of spite or being hurtful will never be my goal in life. My goal in life is to live my truth in hopes that what I create helps other people. Maybe one day I won’t care what people think of me, but today is not that day. And maybe one day we can all learn to be more tolerant and accepting of people who are different than us. Because that will honestly make the world a happier place. Why would you want everyone to be the same anyways? What’s fun and interesting about that?
Sometimes I wish I was more outgoing, but most of the time I think my quiet trait is one of the best things about me. There’s always constant noise going on around us at all times so you have to find – or be – that balance.
Do you struggle with the same thing? What frustrates you the most?