Have you also discovered that being soft spoken has more drawbacks than benefits?
The absence of a loud confident voice, and irregular participation in conversations makes for being labelled (no matter how incorrectly) —a person with little strength of character.
I have always been a quiet person, one who has several things to share, but is too shy to do so. It takes a while for me to open up around people I don’t know well. Like most introverts, I am preoccupied with my own thoughts and seldom feel left out even if I am not asked for my opinion. I am observant and highly imaginative, content in my own world.
But a few months ago, some of my classmates were planning a picnic.
“So it’s set then, the whole class will go on the twenty fifth.” said an extroverted young woman. “Everyone has agreed to pitch in a fifty dollars.”
Alerted, I joined the conversation, “I haven’t agreed. My team has a presentation on the twenty-fifth.”
The lady looked at me as though she didn’t even know I existed. And we’ve been seeing each other every day for three years now.
Well at least I had seen her.
“What?” she said looking flabbergasted. “Oh. I just assumed you would agree, you know, you never really say much anyway.”
I was stumped for words. Was I such an unimportant person that my views didn’t matter? I believed I was as much a part of my class as my other classmates.
I shook my head. “The 25th does not work for me.” I said.
“Fine, we can change the date. I’ll check with the others, is the twenty sixth okay?” she asked checking her notepad.
“Yes. That would be great, thanks.” I said smiling.
“Cool.” she said smiling. “I’ll let you know.”
I sighed with relief, thinking to myself…”Well that wasn’t so hard.”
I have to prove that I am worth my salt before people take me seriously. I realized then, that being comfortable in one’s own skin is not enough. You have to be able to assert that comfort in your public behaviour, in order to garner interest towards yourself.
Don’t get me wrong—-I love solitude and enjoy having time to myself…but it is often viewed as being antisocial. How can I explain to people that I would rather enjoy the peace and quiet of my room than the din at the party upstairs? Socializing is rather difficult when you don’t know how.
Have you ever paid the price for being extra polite?
Let’s take a scenario: (this actually happened to a friend of mine, before we met)
“So the four of us can go shopping for the party, and the three of you can decide on the party games. Only one thing left, we don’t have anyone to take out the trash and tidy up afterwords.” says a bossy person, who has no qualms about fairness or sounding impolite. This person looks at the introvert in the group who is usually obliging and says “Oh you can do that much can’t you? Considering we’re all doing everything else.”
News flash : The job assigned to the referred person sucks. They don’t get to be where all the action is and they get to work on something that few people will acknowledge. People get pushed around a lot if their personality’s are not intimidating enough.
Let us change that. We do not want to be ignored just because we are good listeners, or be sidestepped for being too polite. We don’t want to viewed as a pushover, because we feel it easier not to engage in verbal sparring. So how do we do this?
It sounds simple: Speak up when necessary. Speak clearly, gesture confidently, talk about what is important to you.
Your chest will tighten when all eyes fall on you, but when you speak your mind, you’ll feel it swell with pride. Once you’ve put your point across during a discussion, and are satisfied with your contribution, you are free to embrace your quieter, shyer side.
But this little participation will help shrug off the image of you not having an opinion. It is very important that introverts don’t move away from society and hide within their shells. They are the most astute observers in the world and their insights are valuable to everyone. So let’s give each other a fair chance, and let us not judge others quite so easily.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with my post 🙂
Have a great day!