What Quiet People Want You to Know
Do you count yourself among the quiet people? Not everyone with social anxiety is quiet. Some are extroverts trapped by a socially anxious mindset, wishing they could talk more.
On the other hand, there are some with social anxiety who fall in the spectrum of introversion or just plain “quietness.” In the interest of delving into the misconceptions people have about being quiet, I thought I’d consider 10 common myths about quiet people.
In other words, the assumptions we make about quiet people that are often wrong.
Snobby or Stuck-Up
I just watched a video today from Leigha who works as an anxiety coach for people with social anxiety. She talked about how in college/university, most people in her classes thought that she was a snob or stuck-up until they go to know her when working on a group project.
What was assumed to be aloofness was actually her fear and anxiety causing her to avoid eye contact and not talk to anyone. Don’t assume someone who is quiet doesn’t like you. They might be just afraid to say “hi.”
Like I mentioned, some people who are quiet in groups are not naturally so. They might have social anxiety and actually be hiding their true self. You might be seeing only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to someone’s personality, so never assume that things are exactly as they seem.
Along similar lines, it’s easy to assume that someone who is quiet in a group is always quiet. But, that’s often not the truth.
Some people are chatterboxes in one-on-one conversation but quiet when there’s more people around.
Some people are quiet around strangers but open up to family.
And still others are quiet unless they feel really compelled to say something or hit on a favorite topic.
Don’t be put off by someone’s quietness; it could be that you just have not seen them in the right environment.
Nothing to Say
As a quiet person, have you ever been in a meeting where you get skipped over or talked over because people assume you have nothing to say or aren’t knowledgeable about a topic?
Never underestimate someone because of their quietness, and never skip over them because you think they have nothing to contribute.
Take the time to ask a quiet person for their opinion on a topic that everyone is talking about. You might be suprised at the answer you receive.
Sometimes quietness is confused with a lack of intelligence. Especially in cases of introversion, it can take a person longer to dig into their long-term memory stores to produce speech and connect ideas.
That might come across as someone who is not verbally fluent and can’t communicate clearly; in other words, someone lacking intelligence.
This is clearly untrue; introverts are just as intelligent as extroverts, and someone being quiet is not a signal of how smart they are. Don’t underestimate your quiet friends’ intelligence; they probably are taking in more than you think.
Not Friendship Material
Have you ever passed over a quiet person as a potential friend? Maybe you thought the friendship would be dull or the person wouldn’t have much to contribute.
Maybe you worried you’d have to carry the weight of the conversation or worse—help the person order in restaurants or speak for them when meeting new people.
Hold up! If you’ve had these thoughts about a potential quiet friends, you’ve totally ignored the potential benefits. What about having someone who listens instead of talks? Someone who maybe not everyone has gotten to know, and who will be willing to make a deeper commitment to you?
Don’t write off quiet people as friends, they could be some of the best friends you’ll ever make.
All this is to say that quiet people generally have gotten a bad rap when it comes to their personality, their intelligence, their contributions, and their potential to be friends. But when it comes right down to it, quiet people are just people looking to be understood like everyone else. You could be the friendly person who makes them feel welcomed enough to stay a while and chat.
What about you? Do people make assumptions about you because of being quiet or do you know a quiet person who you struggle to understand? Feel free to add your comment below.
Related Articles about Being Quiet
- You Can Positive Self Esteem and Social Anxiety
- TED Talks about Social Anxiety
- What to Say When Asked “Why Are You So Quiet?”
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