You’re Too Quiet

You’re Too Quiet

“You’re so quiet.” The words that I’ve heard so many times before echo around in my head. When I try to sleep it’s all I can hear; my mind trying desperately think of ways I can come across as less quiet. Learn the art of small talk, make more of an effort, don’t only speak when it’s necessary.

Throughout my life, my quietness has been equated with low confidence. And, as a result I’ve become attached to the view that other people have of me, that I’m not confident, that I feel uncomfortable in social situations. As a child I was incredibly confident but I was still quiet. However, as the years have gone on, the way people see me has become the way I see myself.
At the age of 24, I’m now trying desperately to make it look like I’m not quiet. Daily I try so hard to not come across as quiet because for the whole duration of my life, quiet has been a negative. An insult. An aspect of my personality that has become my whole personality. “You’re so quiet,” has become my mantra. I’m quiet, don’t pay me attention.

I’m quiet has turned into I’m insular. I’m quiet has turned into saying no to party invitations, begging not to ever be asked a question, not out of a fear that I’ll do or say something stupid but out of a fear I’ll just end up being the way I’ve always been: too damn quiet. But now that effort I put in to seem like I’m not ‘too quiet’ is overwhelming me. I can’t fully take in what someone is saying to me because I’m so conscious of my body language, eye contact, what I’m saying. And it’s so anxiety inducing.

I’m quiet and that was never a negative to me. I’m not brash, I’m not loud. I never speaking without thinking. These are aspects of my personality that I’m proud of, features that I thought people would value, but as I’ve grown older, it seems that this is not the case.

Being quiet makes me stand out when the thing I want least is to be the centre of attention. It makes me seem rude when I’m not butting into people’s conversations because I don’t want to be rude. Being quiet feels like a minefield and it’s one that I don’t feel adequately equipped to deal with.

Rachel x-x-x

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15 Comments

  1. June 25, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    You’ve literally just wrote what I always think about myself!! I’m forever being told that I’m too quiet or too shy. Only today someone who I barely know told me to stop being so bashful! Like you I never saw my quietness as a bad thing until people pointed it out and made me concious of it. I was once told by somone that peoplw who are quiet are great thinkers…so we do have some good qualities too!!! Having said that quietness doesn’t have to be a bad thing, we all don’t have to be the same and shouldn’t be.
    Great post.

    • rach
      June 27, 2017 / 5:29 pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment. I think I’m slowly getting back round to seeing my quietness as a positive!

  2. June 25, 2017 / 10:22 pm

    So so so on board with this! I always got the “good student but so quiet in class, needs to speak up more” on my reports or on parents evening. I can remember one teacher made it like her mission to get me to speak up more in class and it made me so so anxious. My quietness has always just been part of my personality but weirdly when I went to uni there were only 7 of us on my course and a few of them had crippling anxiety. Suddenly I wasn’t the quietest and it was down to me to speak up, to start conversation and slowly they came out of their shell a bit. It definitely helped me and I find it much easier to make small talk, to make friends and to basically fake confidence! Lovely post as always chicka xx

    • rach
      June 26, 2017 / 7:52 pm

      It’s so hard when people try to ‘help’ like that. That’s so good you had that opportunity at uni though. Thanks for the lovely comment 🙂 xx

  3. Josh Watts
    June 27, 2017 / 9:31 am

    I think that with the increase in reality TV, there is a pressure to be abnormally brash and bombastic – something I find quite repellant when faced with celebrity culture.

    You do you, my love. Take a cue from two Americans I admire.

    When you see him talk, Noam Chomsky is one of the most quiet, reserved, people who speaks with a seemingly-inherent humility. But – and whatever one thinks of his politics – he is an intellectual powerhouse with a razor sharp wit who is universally-respected for his work and morality.

    Secondly, Bill Hicks. Keep this gag in mind:

    “People come up to me and say, ‘What’s wrong?’
    I say, ‘Nothing’
    ‘Takes more energy to frown then it does to smile!’
    ‘Yeah, you know it takes more energy to point that out than it does to leave me alone?'”

    I’ve met you a couple of times and I think you’re an absolute delight. Just do what you want to do.

    Love ya xx

    • rach
      June 27, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      This is the nicest comment ever, thanks Josh. I’m now going to watch Noam Chomsky do his thing and feel a little better about life!

  4. WhatLydDid
    June 27, 2017 / 9:40 am

    Whether they mean to or not, when people say this, they are likely projecting their own negatives at you and making it seem that you are the one in the wrong. ‘You’re too quiet’ can equate to a feeling of unease, of wanting more attention from you, of feeling there is something wrong with them that you don’t want to chit chat with them.

    That’s THEIR problem, not yours! You don’t owe it to anyone to fill a silence or make small talk about their cat. Being quiet is more unusual but certainly not a flaw xx

    • rach
      June 27, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Lyd. Laughing about the cat part 😂

  5. June 27, 2017 / 9:42 am

    You appear quietly confident Rachel, don’t change for anybody. In my experience some of the louder among us can actually be more nervous/shy and it can sometimes be a bit of a front. Funny how we perceive confidence isn’t it? Love this piece, very relatable.

    Evie- http://www.ohevie.com

  6. Matt Smith
    June 27, 2017 / 10:03 am

    Cracking peice and couldn’t agree more. How many parts of one on one conversations have you missed because your head is thinking of a response or thinking am I making eye contact, how does my body language look!? But at 35 ! I hate the fact it’s taken me this long to….grow, I suppose, I now try and keep the eye contact (without thinking about it to much)

    I’m rubbish at small talk and conversation in general ( who wants to hear what I have to say ) but I’ve started going for solo pub trips and forcing myself to have small talk while having a dirty fag. And I can really tell the difference that it’s making to me. It’s uncomfortable at times but it’s gotta be done because I want to improve. Take care and all the best

  7. Caz
    June 28, 2017 / 3:30 pm

    I really relate to this. I don’t think being quiet is necessarily a problem, it’s the negative perception of others that can really shape how we feel about ourselves. For some reason being quiet is not rated by other people – I’ve had people think I hated them or was a snob or somethng for not talking much to them, when that’s not the case at all! Saying that I am incredibly shy and nervous to talk to new people and it causes me a lot of anxiety so if anyone has any hints on how to improve in that respect that would be really helpful! And yes I know how lame that makes me sound! Conversation just seems to come easier for some people, idk! Xx

  8. July 1, 2017 / 2:17 pm

    I didn’t read the whole post because it brought up memories of my friends at school ganging up on me to tell me I was too quiet. I should blog that, thanks!

  9. July 11, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    Honestly don’t think I’ve ever related so much to anything I’ve read before!! In lessons it was always “you’re smart but you need to contribute more” until eventually teachers and family abandoned trying to get me to speak up. I would always think that if I didn’t say anything then I can’t say anything wrong… I’m trying to change this though. To let my voice be heard, it’s a strange feeling for me but I’m getting there 🙂

    • rach
      July 12, 2017 / 12:00 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. I totally agree with not wanting to get things wrong. Hopefully we’ll get there 🙂

  10. July 14, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    Oh my goodness Rachel, I relate to this SO much! I’m a very quiet person and it’s always been associated with my confidence xx

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