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.