Small warnings: This post is long and fairly personal so if that isn’t for you, don’t continue reading.
So this is something I have heard several times throughout my life.
Why’re you so quiet?
Why don’t you talk very much?
Why don’t you speak up more?
These words used to really bother me. They used to get under my skin.
This all started when I was quite young. My best friend at my primary school was always very bubbly and talked a lot but we got on really well even though I would admit I was probably the more shy of the two of us. But, wherever I went I seemed to make friends quite easily and didn’t have a problem speaking to people.
Moving on from my primary school to secondary I never thought or considered that I was especially “quiet”. I feel that I got on with people, and made some good friends. But somewhere along the way, I was asked “Why’re you so quiet?”
At first I didn’t really think much of the question, but it was over the years that the saying kept cropping up. You should be more confident, you should speak up more.
First of all, how do you even expect me to answer that question?? Do you really expect me to come up with a plausible reason? Or secondly, do you honestly think that by asking I will immediately become a complete chatterbox and talk the socks off you for the next hour?
It really doesn’t work like that. I’m sorry, but I just didn’t feel like talking at that moment.
I remember that every time I heard those words they would have this effect on me, almost as if I feared them. It may seem silly to some people, “fearing words” but I did. Every time they came up I thought that there must be something wrong with me and it used to make me clam up, and make me stop talking entirely. I thought about that sentence every time I met someone new, and at every pause in conversation I always used to think that because neither of us were talking it meant that it was obviously my fault. I used to get this horrible warm feeling and I would feel boiling hot even in the coldest of rooms. I would get panicked and want to avoid the situation entirely and consequently situations similar to those. And I did avoid meeting new people. I had a small group of close friends and I always felt comfortable around them, but during my University years, for example, when everywhere you go you are meeting new people, joining societies and expected to go out in the night just felt so overwhelming for me. I used to think that because I didn’t talk and talk that it meant I was under-confident and the feeling grew.
But in reality, when I look back now on the various times and situations I’d found myself in, that panic-filled state that I’d brought upon myself was also not helpful in the slightest. I needed to just stop, and calm myself down.
I was not at all sure whether to post this until recently because I have always felt that it’s very personal, and that putting myself out there and saying what has affected me in the past did scare me slightly. But I’ve realised that words are just words and opinions aren’t facts. Just because someone else says or believes that does not make it true. It is what you believe that counts, and you really shouldn’t fear or be scared of other peoples opinions, especially if they don’t know you all that well.
Or in the words of Hermione Granger – Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.
No, I will never be the loudest in the room. I will probably always prefer to think about what I say before just blurting something out. And it may take a little longer to get to know me than some other people. But I’ve come to accept that it is just the way I am and I cannot change that, and honestly, I don’t think I should have to change that for someone else.
Has anyone else faced this problem? Or is there something else that triggers the same sort of reaction from you?
It would really mean a lot to hear from you.