Would you prefer I start shouting?
December 7, 2011 11:59 AM Subscribe
Others describe me as "quiet". Is there something wrong with how I interact with others?
posted by wansac to human relations (37 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I'm an introvert. As a younger person (during my teen years; I'm 23 now), I was very shy and even experienced a lot of anxiety and nervousness around socializing and social events. However, these days I no longer experience those issues at all. Although I'm not an outgoing person, I often really enjoy talking to strangers and learning things about their lives. I rarely have issues with others. I work a very social job in a hospital ER, and I am able to get along with all my coworkers, though I have become close with none. I also talk to strangers in emotionally wrought situations all day long, and it honestly doesn't phase me. I feel like I have a knack for it, and from my perspective it seems like the patients and their families respond really positively to me. I'm also lucky to be getting married in 6 months-ish, so I don't really seem to have issues maintaining close long term relationships.
My issue is that people (mainly coworkers) tell me I'm "so quiet". They usually say this in a tone like that's a problem or they want me to explain why. People will also sometimes say things to the affect that I am "timid" or "too nice". I don't feel quiet. I don't feel timid or scared (in fact, I think I'm braver than most people; I'm training to become a paramedic and will give just about anything a shot once). It's true I'm not much of a small talker myself, although I don't mind listening to other people at all. My fiance says everything I say tends to be "short and to the point". I don't think he means that I'm abrupt or rude, but rather that I just say what I mean directly without a lot of excess detail surrounding it (or at least that's how I feel like I am). It's also true I don't make friends very easily. While I've never had a problem finding a boyfriend, and as I've said before I can get along with most everyone, I become close with very few people and it takes me a very long time to get there. I try to be really friendly and nice, so I don't thinking people perceive my "quietness" as aloofness or dislike of them (but of course I don't really know what they think). I have some significant abuse in my childhood, so I do think I have a naturally skeptical or slightly mistrusting nature, but at the same time I really try to give other people the benefit of the doubt.
I don't have any issues with the way I am. I really love my life and am grateful for what I have. But it bothers me when people tell me I'm quiet. I generally try not to be overly concerned with what other people think of me, but this one comes up recurrently, and I'm honestly not sure if it's my problem or theirs. I go through my days feeling normal and happy and very engaged with the world and the people I meet, and then someone tells me I'm "so quiet", and it makes me feel like I'm not as engaged as I thought or I'm experiencing life in a lesser way. I also worry that this perception of me will affect my career in the future, because coworkers and potential employers may think I'm shy or timid (for clarification, I have not had issues with this yet; I have had an unusual level of success in finding decent employment and have yet to get a bad review from a manager).
I know there are a lot of other introverted mefites. Do you have this problem? Should I try to change some aspect of how I interact with others? Is this likely to be a significant problem in my life/career, or is this more one of those moderate annoyances that is only an issue if you let it be?