Just because we’re quiet doesn’t mean we don’t have personality or have what to add
So, we’re quiet. Okay. Did you know that lots of us quiet girls are NOT introverts? Sure, some might be, but others might actually love being around people and thrive being in social settings… we just don’t speak much! We’re comfortable being quiet, but we might still love being around people. The most confusing combination for others to understand is that some of us are so quiet because we’re painfully shy, but we still love being around people! Shy doesn’t mean introverted.
I might be quiet, but please try to get to know me. I can be a lot of fun even if I’m not the rah-rah-jump-up-on-tables head counselor type! If I’m standing with girls but not talking, you can still direct comments to me and not make me feel invisible. Even teachers and principals can give us a chance. Just because we’re quiet doesn’t mean we don’t have personality or have what to add.
People might feel it’s harder to get to know quiet people because we don’t ramble on and on about ourselves, but there are ways to draw us into conversations. For starters, don’t ask just yes or no questions — that shuts down a conversation for us after we answer. Try using open-ended questions that have longer answers. That can help start a conversation! Also, it’s easier for us if you make the first move and don’t wait for us to speak up first. It might take us some time to warm up!
Please don’t comment on how quiet we are. That just makes us feel uncomfortable, as if we’re doing something wrong by being quiet. Saying things like, “Why are you so quiet?” or “You’re such a wallflower!” or, “Hello, say something!” makes us feel so awkward. If you want to encourage us to speak up, try something like, “Tell her about the time such and such happened…” or something like that. (Although, to be honest… why do talkative people feel the need to have us talk nonstop too)
Some of us might be quiet because we’re super shy. We want to be part of things, but we just have a hard time. If it’s extreme, we might get some help for social anxiety, because like anything in the world, extremes aren’t usually healthy. But often that’s not the case — we just have a hard time being so open and natural with other girls. It’s best for us to be around girls who are socially savvy and pick up on unspoken cues, because my silence might be misunderstood as discomfort or disinterest, but it’s not: It might just mean that I’m surprised that you’re talking to me and I need a little time to adjust. Please talk to me again!
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 870)
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