Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Why Are You So Quiet?" - My Introverted Life

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    Ever since I came upon the words of "introvert" and "extrovert" and learned what they were about, I've personally identified myself as an introvert.  Since then I've recently learned of the term "ambivert."  Now I feel like my personality is mostly that of an introvert with some characteristics of an ambivert.  If you don't know what any of these are, an introvert is a person that's usually considered shy and tend to keep to themselves or to small groups of people while avoiding large groups.  An extrovert is more outgoing and social (the total opposite of an introvert), and an ambivert is balanced between the two.
    So as an introvert I can be pretty shy for the most part, especially around people I don't know very well or that I am not around on a pretty regular basis.  That means that I don't really talk often while out in public, unless I'm around people I know and that I'm comfortable with.  Which also means that my overall social and communication skills may not be the absolute greatest all the time, or at least not as proficient as an extroverted person.  Other reasons I may tend to be quiet around others include not feeling like I have anything to contribute to conversations, to avoid awkward moments like stumbling over my words or practically sticking my foot in my mouth, just feeling like listening rather than speaking, to avoid conflict with others, etc.  But in the past several years or so, I've been trying to speak up and for myself more and more, little by little.  I'm still not the greatest at communicating my thoughts and problems most effectively, but I think I'm getting there for the most part.  I've also been trying to start conversations more and more, little by little.  
    Last night I was getting ready to go to bed and thought about my personal experiences with keeping to myself and with actively speaking up, and I've realized something rather frustrating...  During the times when I was quite for the most part, it would come off as odd to some people.  Not necessarily disturbing or irritating, but rather my chosen silence was not what they normally expected.  It was like something that people were just not used to.  I would be asked, "Why are you so quiet?  You're so quiet!" or I would be told, "You should talk more often!"  I never really know what to say to these kinds of remarks.  I would just usually reply with a small joke, or shrug and apologize.  To be honest, sometimes I really don't know why I'm so quiet, I guess I just naturally am.  These remarks never really bothered me, but they did make me smile sometimes.  But during the times when I would try to speak more often, I would at times not be greeted with such positive reactions as I did when I would be silent. Its not like I'm spouting things that are super offensive or serious.  It's more like my voice is insignificant or just some kind of annoyance to them.  Albeit, this reaction doesn't happen ALL the time, but it's just enough to leave me confused and that the best idea may just be stay silent.  And then, eventually, it would happen again.

"Oh, why are you so quiet again?"
My reply, as I shrug, "I don't know."
And all the while, I'm thinking to myself, 
Because I think that speaking is a pointless thing for me to do now.

    Again, this wouldn't happen ALL the time, but it happens enough.
    There was this one time I was in a car with someone, someone with whom I am no longer on very good terms.  Before this point this person would encourage me to talk, to make conversations more often with them, that they wanted to hear what I had to say.  Or so they claimed.  There were times when I had nothing to talk about in particular, but thoughts would run through my mind.  Half of the time these thoughts would be completely random.  I would sometimes use some of these thoughts as conversation starters.  And this time in the car, when our casual chatting hit a stand still and silence came between us, one of these thoughts came to mind.  Actually, this thought came in a form of a question.  For the life of me, I can remember what the question was exactly, but I do know that it was an "I wonder" kind of question.  So I asked, "I wonder if... yada yada yada?"  It wasn't a question I was super serious about, so if I received a simple "I don't know," I would have been perfectly content with that reply.  At least I had tried to fill the silence and made an attempt at chit-chat.  But instead I got, "Look it up on Google when you get home."  I replied with a simple, "Oh," feeling disappointed, and this person continued on with, "If you really want to know, you'd look it up."  This person also mentioned how they found it annoying when people asked questions that they could very well easily answer themselves by looking it up if they really wanted to know.
    I'm in the passenger seat, trying my best to engage in conversation, and this person seemingly ignores my efforts and basically puts me down over asking a question.  And this was a person who wondered why I was quiet all the time and wonder why I didn't talk a lot.  I kinda want to tell them, "How about you Google the answer to that query when you get on the computer later."  The funny thing is, once I hit "Publish" on this blog post they can... that is if they still really wanted to know...
    Add this person, as well as anyone else like them, to the list of reasons why I don't talk much.  Because why waste my time with this kind of nonsense?  Why encourage me to speak, and then disregard me when I finally do?  I'm not insulting you.  I'm not unnecessarily challenging your beliefs or questioning your morals and values for the sake of conflict or "debate."  I'm not trying to purposely stir up drama because I'm bored.  I'm not trying to mess you up psychologically by trying to tear apart your very psyche.  This question wasn't meant to guilt-trip or anything.  It wasn't one of those kinds of questions.  If this person didn't want to talk, then they could have just politely said so.  "I'm sorry, but I really don't feel like talking right now."  That's fine with me!  I'm practically an expert at that!  But please, PLEASE don't make social interactions any harder than they already are sometimes.  Being an individual with an introverted personality can be difficult enough as it is without any "assistance."
    While I accept my introversion for the most part, I do sometimes find social life to be quite frustrating.  And that's why I'm so quiet.  But I'm trying to do better at a lot of things (communicating, expressing myself, etc.) and those are some of the reasons why I have this blog.  I hope this was, in some way, helpful to you as it was therapeutic for me.

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