At the age of sixteen Mr. Sergeant, my RE teacher, wrote in my school leavers book:
“It’s always been nice knowing you and comparing your quiet dignity to your twin sisters gobbiness. Be assured that quiet people are just as special as loud.”
And that is the topic of today’s post gentle readers.
No, not my sister’s gobbiness. Although she is really gobby. Today’s post openly states that quiet people are just as special as loud.
I myself am one of these quiet people. A self confessed introvert. I enjoy my own company and prefer one on one conversation to group ones. I dislike being interrupted. Sometimes I’m not all that sociable. I can probably count on both hands how many friends I have. I don’t feel the need talk constantly or to be surrounded by people. Most of the time I’d rather read a book or write my blog than go out and make an effort.
But does this really make me or any of my fellow introverts less worthy or special than all those extroverts?
Extroverts are loud, proud and confident. They thrive in groups and love being the centre of attention. They have more rattle than a can of marbles and they aint afraid to show it. To all you extroverts I say snaps to ya. You go ahead and get down with ya crazy, confident selves.
But you see that girl/boy sat quietly in the corner? The one who has spent the majority of the night listening instead of talking? Well they have just as much to offer as anyone else in the room.
Introverts and quiet folk in general, unfairly, get a bit of a bad name. Shyness is stereotyped terribly. Anyone who is shy or introverted has undoubtedly at some point been accused of being awkward, moody or anti-social. We are cast as distant or uninterested, when in actual fact we are so interested in what you’re saying we prefer to listen rather than talk. I’m often asked, “Are you ok?” as my quietness is mistaken for upset or anger. It’s frustrating having to explain that yes, I’m fine; I just don’t feel the need to constantly fill the silence.
The stereotypical labels of anti-social, awkward, distant or moody are undeserved and more often than not couldn’t be further from the truth.
Quiet ones can I get a MmmmmHmmm?!
It appears to me that the extroverts get a pat on the back for their outgoing, bubbly disposition while the introverts get labeled, a little unjust, no?
Just because both ways are different doesn’t mean that either one is wrong. Isn’t being yourself what counts?
There are a number of reasons why quiet people are just as special as loud, so the next time you’re with an introvert remember that they are awesome for these reasons:
- Introverts are excellent listeners. Whether in one on one or group situations us quiet individuals like to listen. In fact we prefer to listen, so if ever you need someone to talk to free from judgment or interruption then call up your introvert friend.
- Because we have the listening thing down we are red hot when it comes to giving advice, usually because we’ve heard all your dilemmas before and because we’ve listened well enough to have all the facts.
- Extroverts tend to make rushed, snap decisions whereas introverts take their time to consider all options and weigh up the pros and cons, making us brilliant decision makers.
- Quiet time is important to introverts and quiet time equals thinking time. This thinking time is put to good use generating ideas and masterminding plans, so while introverts may be quiet you’ll often find they have the best ideas. Another plus side to being a thinker is that introverts rarely regret things that they do or say as a lot of thought has gone behind it.
- While introverts may be viewed as uptight, in actual fact they are probably more laid back than the lot of you. In opposition to extroverts we don’t really care about being in control or the centre of attention. We are happy to let the situation and conversation just freely flow around us. Introverts are easygoing and will rarely incite a conflict.
- Introverts miss nothing and notice everything. An introvert’s skills of perception are second to none. Being quiet on the outskirts means that we get to watch and listen to everything that’s going on. We never miss a trick.
- While everyone else craves attention and approval introverts are happy, comfortable and confident on their own.
Just because introverts don’t shout the loudest doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be heard. In our own subtle way we quiet peeps have just as much to offer, sometimes you just have to look a little deeper.
At the time (aged 16) I doubted whether Mr Sergeant was right. Could quiet people really be as special as loud? As far as I could tell it was always the bubbly, confident ones who got noticed first or who were valued more. But over the years, as I have become more comfortable within myself and with my introverted nature, I have discovered it’s about finding who you are and embracing it. Whether loud or quiet it’s about being yourself and finding the path that suits you. We are all special, in our own ways.
And Mr Sergeant’s parting line?
“Be good, be you and be confident.”