The Common Misconceptions Of Being Quiet

45c646c035593dc7d4fb6c8c56844118.jpgI grew up feeling as if being quiet meant that there was something wrong with me. A reminder to my dear fellow quiet souls that that simply isn’t true. As you grow older, we know that it’s polite to talk to others and open up more. Being quiet means that we don’t feel the need to say anything to fill in the silences. I feel that many quiet souls also feel that they can be talkative, open and outgoing when they choose to. Other times, they don’t feel the energy to do so or they’re genuinely listening to what someone is saying. Everyone is different. Quiet isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s a way of appreciating the peaceful moments.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I’m rude. We live in a world that is always talking and making noise, that it can seem odd to some people to feel the quiet. I think this most often occurs with those we’re not close to. Most quiet souls like to keep many thoughts in their head. I think some of us keep a certain distance with those we aren’t too close with, which can sometimes be portrayed as rude.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I have nothing to say. Many people who are quiet often have an ocean of thoughts. Think of the nights lying in bed where you particularly have many thoughts wondering into your mind. Most of the time we have many things we want to say, but it’s a matter of stringing them into a sentence. Many of us are also good listeners, which means we may talk less in that case.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I don’t understand. This one is a phrase I hear often when I travel back to Taiwan. I generally don’t talk a lot around people I don’t know well and in many group situations, I’m usually the listener. It can be quickly assumed that I don’t understand Mandarin.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I don’t like you. It is true that when I feel a connection with someone or talk about a subject that interests me, I will be talkative. If I am quiet, it can be a whole string of reasons. I’m tired, I’m thinking of what to say, I’ve just met you and am not sure if you’ll get my sense of humour and so forth.

Being quiet doesn’t define my personality. Sure, being quiet is a part of who I am, but it doesn’t define my personality. I can be loud and chirpy when I’m excited or with people I’m close with. Everyone has layers of their personality that most aren’t likely to show someone at once, but are likely to peel little by little over time.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I think I’m better than you. This is a common one, because it can often be thought of as arrogance. Many of us are quiet in situations we are new to or we’re in an environment that we don’t feel fully comfortable in. Other times we may be surrounded by strangers and don’t know what to say.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I’m angry, upset, uncomfortable or annoyed. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been asked “Are you okay, Katie?” and 9/10 times I’m feeling fine and dandy. Being quiet is often simply because we’re in a state of peace, we’re zoned out, we’re in deep thought, we’re listening to you and various other reasons.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I’m awkward. This is a general one, because not everyone who is quiet is awkward. I on the other hand, would definitely say I’m a slightly awkward person. I have a strange sense of humour and a part of my personality that I don’t like to reveal to most people, which can make me feel more reserved in certain situations.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I’m judging you. Most of the time when someone is observant, they are in silence. Which means it can be easy to assume that the person is judging. It can also give an atmosphere that the person is quiet because they’re not interested, they’re bored or they have a resting sad face that may give them a relaxed frown.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I’m shy. I wrote about the difference between shyness and introversion a while ago, as well as an article called I’m not Shy, I’m an Introvert. It’s an article for those who are an introvert, but are not a shy person. In my case, I tend to be more shy depending on the situation.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I’m boring. Everyone has a different idea of fun and entertainment. I feel many quiet people have a side to themselves that most people don’t see. Most people don’t have the opportunity of seeing because they don’t give them a chance. It’s seen as more fun to see a bubbly, outgoing and loud person, but I find after getting past the small talk, many quiet souls have very interesting personalities.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I don’t like talking. There are those you can talk for hours and hours, and have extremely engaging conversations with. Many quiet souls love to talk, have long conversations or simply have a different way of expressing themselves.

Being quiet doesn’t mean I’m hard to make friends with. There’s a barrier that is often created, when making assumptions about those who seem quiet on a first impression. Most quiet souls are misconceived as very quiet during a first impression, and aren’t given a chance to show their personality. I think when you give them the time, there is so much more to them.

“Now that you’re an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you’re told that you’re “in your head too much”, a phrase that’s often deployed against the quiet and cerebral.

Or maybe there’s another word for such people: thinkers.”
― Susan Cain

Art by Lieke van der Vorst

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