My daughter is a quiet girl at school. She is polite, listens well, follows directions and respects the teachers. Sadly, kids at school think she is “weird” (her word) because she doesn’t talk.
I feel her pain. In school, I was thought of as “stuck up” because I was quiet. And that so wasn’t true. Yet having been in her shoes when I was her age, I don’t know what to tell her. Why is it okay to be loud, talkative and outgoing, but it’s “weird” to be quiet, reserved and thoughtful? Both have their advantages and disadvantages. But should be thought of as having equal value.
This post came to mind today after my conversation with my daughter. I thought I would re-blog it for Wednesday Wisdom.
Quiet Please, I’m an Introvert
There is a book on the New York Best Seller list by Susan Cain called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking that has been in the news everywhere. I haven’t read it yet, but the subject itself hit close to home.
The book’s website features a quiz to see if you are an introvert or an extrovert. Can you guess which one I am? ; )
I = Introvert. If you answered the majority of the questions true, you’re probably an introvert. Given the choice, you’ll devote your social energy to the people you care about most, preferring a glass of wine with a close friend to a party full of strangers. You think before you speak, and relish solitude. You feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity that really interests you. You have an active inner life, and are at your best when you tap into its riches.
Yep, that’s me! Of course I already knew that. And while not having read the book yet, I have some thoughts on the subject. Introvert doesn’t mean shy. And it doesn’t mean uneducated. And it doesn’t mean boring, And it doesn’t mean we have nothing to say. And it doesn’t mean we are a doormat or unable to make our own decisions.
It means we take heart in what we say and do and seek out like-minded people. It means we realize we have two feet, and neither one should be in our mouth. It means we engage in conversation when we have something important to contribute, not just to hear the sound of our voice. It means we know our own minds and what we want and will not argue unless you push too hard. (Then you’ll know we’re mad!) It means we are strong and independent in a calm, quiet kind of way. It means we will likely be your best friend because we listen and we are thoughtful and we are considerate.
And here’s a piece of advice: Never ask someone, especially someone you barely know, “why are you so quiet?” It’s rude. And awkward. We would never ask you “why are you still talking?”