Friday, September 21, 2007


Growing up, I was painfully shy. I don't know why. It may just be part of being an introvert. The point is that, although I'm still a little shy, I'm MUCH better than I used to be. I may not be a good conversation starter, but I am a good conversation maintainer. Plus, I've always just enjoyed listening to the conversation. If I have something to contribute, I will. But I won't talk just to talk. I've always liked the Mark Twain quote, "It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt."

Where am I going with this?

As I have gotten older, I have noticed that it seems to be socially acceptable to be rude to shy people. People have no qualms about saying things like "You never talk", "You don't say anything" or "Why are you so quiet?" in an accusing tone of voice. When those comments are directed at me, it flusters me and causes me to retreat even further into my shell. It seems counterproductive. Shy people don't like to be the center of attention.

Once I happened upon that idea, it made me start thinking about why people think it's okay to be so snotty. I do have a theory. First, I think people who talk a lot are uncomfortable around shy people because they don't know what they're thinking. Often people who talk incessantly (these are the most common offenders of said faux pas) are insecure, and they want verbal validation. If one person isn't responding as much as everyone else, they react as though you're mentally critiquing them in your head and are preparing to point out their shortcomings on your blog. (Maybe I am! ha ha!)

However, the reason for this behavior may be even simpler than that. Extroverts don't really "get" introverts. I know because I live with one. It boggles his mind when I'd rather spend Saturday night at home in my pajamas watching movies than going out with a group of 40 to a loud bar or club. I'd rather go on a road trip with just him or a close group of four people than a big group of twenty. And he's one of those people who is bothered by my quietness. It's a wonder he stuck around for a second date. Our first date was a blind date and it was essentially me and three strangers: hubby, his best friend, and his best friend's girlfriend. An introvert's nightmare.

Anyway, if you have shy people in your life, please try not to call them out on it. They know they're shy. It's like telling an octogenarian that they're old. It's rude, and it doesn't accomplish anything.


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