The Quiet One

I’m a quiet person. I always have been and I probably always will be.

When I was younger people always told me I was shy. And I guess it’s true, but I like to think of myself as being “not talkative” rather than shy. There is a difference.

I love meeting people. I love hearing their stories. I love sitting in a large group and listening to conversations. I just don’t enjoy talking as much as other people I guess. I don’t mind sitting next to someone and not talking. The silence doesn’t bother me. (Of course, if I’ve had a few drinks, that’s a completely different situation. I will talk your ear off about anything from my love of Hanson to that new brownie recipe I made last night. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually).

In middle school I was given an award for “Minding One’s P’s and Q’s”. I had no idea what it meant but my mom explained that it meant I was quiet and always on my best behavior… or something like that. This is also the time of my life that I was most insecure. I took the award as an insult and was so embarrassed to be seen among my peers as the “quiet girl”.

As I got older, I tried to become more talkative. I pushed myself farther outside of my comfort zone. I talked to people I didn’t know. I rambled on when someone asked me a question. But it felt inauthentic. I felt like I was trying too hard. And if there’s anything that annoys me about people, it’s when they try too hard. It wasn’t me.

So I’ve slowly tried to accept this aspect of myself. I don’t necessarily like being quiet (it sure would be helpful if I was more outgoing in certain situations), but it’s just who I am.

Then a few nights ago a friend of a friend was driving me home (I don’t have a car and he lived closer to me than anyone else out that night). We were about to drop off my friend at her house and he says, “Wait, Ashley, are you going to talk to me or do I have to drive you home in silence? Because if you’re not going to talk then I’m going to have [our friend] drive you home.” Excuuuuse me?

He seriously (jokingly, of course) just said he wouldn’t drive me home unless I talked to him the entire way. And honestly, I wasn’t being that quiet- for me. I was answering his questions. We had several minutes of witty banter back and forth. I asked him about his job. I was trying.

But it was then that I realized, no matter how hard I try, I will always be seen as the quiet girl.

And I should be okay with it… I’m trying to be okay with it.

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16 responses to “The Quiet One

  1. It’s funny, I go through periods in my life where I’m incredibly outgoing and then other times where it’s almost like I have social anxiety, I become really nervous around other people and it’s all awkward. Lately I’m in my outgoing mood. I hate my quiet moods… I just wish I could figure out where they come from!

  2. I’m always seen this way, too, even though I don’t consider myself to be particularly quiet. Why is it a negative thing to only speak when you have something meaningful to say? I’m more outgoing as I get older, but deep down I’m still more of an observer.

  3. I am quiet around people I don’t know because it takes me a while to warm up to other people. I am sort of a loner and I am entirely ok with that. I I never really understood why it is viewed as a bad thing to not always be bubbly and outgoing. As long as you are happy with yourself, don’t change. =)

  4. Ha! I get like that sometimes too. I get quiet and then it feels awkward, or I get too talkative at times and then I feel a little embarrassed for talking to much. I wish I could say I wasn’t shy though!

  5. I’m a quiet girl too and I am okay with it…I think. Too much needless talking today anyway. I just hate it when people take my “quiet” and turn it into something like “timid” because “timid” I am not!

  6. I’m the exact same way, including especially the not shutting up once I’ve had a few drinks! I am shy and inhibited, which means for me that sometimes I want to talk but don’t feel comfortable. But, beyond that, even among people I’m totally comfortable with, I just don’t talk that much. I’ feel insecure about it sometimes, but one time a classmate said to me, “you don’t talk that much, but when you do talk, you really have something to say.” That’s stuck with me for years.

  7. Okay, I have a REEEEEEEEEALLY strong opinion on this (and sorry if I’m repeating anything the others said, I didn’t read their comments, ewps). I used to have this “problem,” and still do, to an extent.

    Just because someone is quiet, doesn’t mean that they’re shy. Or boring. Or don’t have anything to say. Obviously, you and I, for example, the “quiet” girls, have PLENTY to say. We have blogs, don’t we? We just don’t feel the need to fill every moment of silence with word vomit just for the sake of hearing ourselves talk or making a quiet moment less awkward. I don’t get people’s constant compulsion to talk.

    Sometimes, it’s good to just be quiet. I don’t know why more people don’t grasp this concept. When I was going to therapy, my counselor told me, “It’s the silence between the notes that make a song beautiful,” or something like that. And that just really stuck with me.

    I used to get very pissed off when people would say things to me like, “You’re so quiet! Why aren’t you more like your best friend?” and 1) okay that is RUDE! and 2) my best friend was incredibly obnoxious. I’d rather be quiet than obnoxious any day of the week.

    /rant

  8. Screw people who don’t accept that.

    That’s my 10 cents right there!

    I know that feeling of trying too hard, it’s the opposite with me. I tend to be very outgoing (sometimes loud), so I try to back up a bit and tone it down. Not always easy! I feel you girly, but do NOT be afraid to be who you are! I’m still learning too.

  9. And PS, miss quiet. Your turn to be sexy on my blog! Explanation over there, haha.

  10. I was so so shy when I was little. And then I grew out of it and now I’m very outgoing. But I still would not appreciate being told that I HAD to talk for an entire car ride!

  11. D. is an incredibly quiet person. He has days where I barely hear a word for him – except for necessary utterances. (“What should we do for dinner?”)

    It took a while for me to get used to – my family is a boisterous bunch. We talk/discuss/debate endlessly. It was hard to understand how D. had nothing to talk about. Meeting his family opened my eyes 🙂 They’re often in separate rooms doing separate things – the opposite of my do-it-all-together family.

    The point being – his silence was unnerving at first. I grew concerned that something “was wrong” – maybe he was annoyed? mad? disinterested? Once we got through that hurdle, and I understood he just had ‘quiet days’, everything was alright.

    Of course, he had to understand my need for stimulating conversation too! 🙂

  12. I was always the quite one too. When I was younger I would get so annoyed with people always being all “oh, you’re so quite” “you’re so shy” blah blah blah. And often my quietness was misconstrued as bitchiness. Sometimes people just don’t realize that I’m not trying to be rude, I’m just a quiet person. Sometimes it still bothers me and I wish I could be one of those people who can just go up to anyone and talk talk talk, but I’ve just got to realize that this is how I am. People can accept it or not!

  13. I’m also of the quiet variety. I have my moments where I can be super chatty but I don’t really do small talk well. Of course people take my being quiet to being a bitch and stand-offish so it backfires in my face often but like you, I can’t help but be quiet! I often times just like listening instead of participating.

    I want to be more outgoing and talkative, however I just don’t know if thats me.

  14. i’m exactly the same way. i try to be more talkative and outgoing and it’s kind of exhausting. even with C driving home from up north he was talking at me and i’m like omg be quiet! lol it’s like i don’t find it absolutely necessary to talk.

    i definitely loathe small talk.

  15. It is okay to be quiet rather than be loud & annoying. 🙂

    I noticed that I’m quiet too only when I’m around new people or hearing people because I’m afraid I’m not going to understand everything they’re saying to me or the people around me. I find myself not quiet when I’m talking to someone one-on-one.

  16. It is ok to be quiet, I would hate to be the person who rambles on about rubbish because they are not comfortable with silence. I like to think I observe and only speak when I have something interesting to add to the conversation, although this doesn’t always go to plan, especially when I’ve had a drink….. and then, I’m also embarrassed about how loose my tongue is!

    Your statement made me think: “And honestly, I wasn’t being that quiet- for me.” – my boyfriend says I don’t talk to his children, although, I feel that I do. I don’t think we ever really realise how quiet we really are. Thats because, for one, this is normal to us and we are comfortable being quiet, and two, your mind is never quite, and while you are observing the conversations there are times (well there are with me) that you decide not to say something, instead of just blurting it out.

    All in all I think being quiet is alluring, sexy and mysterious, and I love being who I am.

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