When I think of soft spoken people, I think of Marzia, Audrey Hepburn, Katie Holmes, Snow White and Winona Ryder. The thing with the way we speak is that we don’t really hear ourselves. It’s similar in the sense that we don’t hear our own accent. When I speak, I forget how soft and quieter my voice is at times, because it’s normal for me. However, I’ve found over the years as an INFJ and HSP, there are certain misconceptions and stereotypes made about people who are soft spoken.
I was painfully shy when I was a child at school, even though at home I was very talkative and unafraid of being completely myself. As I grew older, I was much more confident, but I always had a softer voice. Having a soft voice doesn’t mean you can’t be direct, confident and self assured. It simply means that we show those qualities in different ways. I’ve listed below some of the misconceptions where some come from my own personal experience.
Soft spoken people are always quiet. I remember answering a question in class, and the teacher told me to shout the answer, because it would be like a normal speaking voice. I naturally have a gentle voice. I know personally I am more of a quiet person, however I have moments where I’m extremely talkative.
They are a sensitive person. Sensitivity is stigmatised and often seen as a negative, however it shouldn’t be that way. Sensitivity is natural. Some soft spoken people (like me) are indeed more sensitive, and some aren’t. It depends entirely on someones own personality.
Easily influenced, bossed around and manipulated. There is a huge misconception that we can’t be assertive. Soft spoken express confidence in different ways, without the need to be loud. Too often loud is equated with power and confidence. I know for myself, I don’t allow anyone to treat me unfairly.
Our gentle nature, can make it quickly assumed that we’re easily persuaded and influenced. I know I am one of the least easily influenced people. I’m quite strong in terms of my value. A quick example was my very first year of uni. I left myself out a lot in the uni accommodation I lived at, because I didn’t want to drink alcohol and party.
They aren’t able to speak up for themselves. Similar to the previous point, most people are able to stand up for themselves. It doesn’t always mean we have to get angry about it, but we just express it differently. I know that if someone crosses my line, I will be very direct. But I also know, I tend to hold certain things inside that aren’t necessary to express, if they won’t change the situation.
Gullible and easy to believe anything. This stereotype definitely comes from how we just naturally want to be nice and polite. I know that when I was at school, I was definitely gullible in the sense that I was too trusting, and tried to see the good in everyone. Unfortunately not everyone is an honest person.
We are always extremely polite. I can’t count the amount of compliments, when people say “you’re such a nice person”. I still remember when I was very assertive with someone, they got a shock, because of the contrast of me being a soft person. It can be off putting for some people as people expect you to always be polite and nice.
As an individual, people still need to be able to communicate, be firm and express their views. It’s important to be a kind person, but no one can be nice all the time. The synonyms of nice include agreeable, satisfying, acceptable, enjoyable. People think you’re always nice, as I wrote in a previous post why being nice is not always so nice.
They can’t take on leadership roles. In this point, I want to state that soft spoken people can be an introvert or extrovert. There are many introverts who were soft spoken, who did great things and made great changes. I think of Rosa Parks who was a civil rights activist, stood up in a bus refusing to give her seat up to a white passenger.
Soft spoken people are shy and quiet. I do consider myself more of a quiet and low key person, and I definitely am shy in certain situations, but not all the time. There is a connection that being soft means you must be quiet, shy, socially awkward and a long list of stereotypes. However, everyone is different, some people are and some people aren’t.
We rarely get angry. Over the years, there have been countless times someone says “I really can’t imagine you angry”. The thing is everyone is an emotional being, and we all cry and laugh, however some of us might do it in private. I know for myself, I rarely get angry but I do get upset.
We prefer to listen rather than talk. Being soft spoken doesn’t mean we aren’t interested to chat or be noticed in a conversation. Everyone’s views are usually shared, and I know that many soft spoken people are naturally listeners, but many also love to talk!
Being soft spoken means you’re soft. This is the most natural association, considering the word soft is in soft spoken. Some soft spoken people tend to be more gentle and quiet, there are many soft spoken people who are very outgoing, loud and energetic. Being soft spoken doesn’t deliberately mean you are in a certain category, it simply means that that is the sound of your voice. Your voice is important, but it doesn’t define your personality.