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A Question to Keep Asking Introverts: Why Are You So Quiet?

Social issues can only be remedied by a collective acceptance of those opinions we view as opposing our own.

An introvert is just an extrovert that imploded! That doesn't mean they need to explode outward!

An introvert is just an extrovert that imploded! That doesn't mean they need to explode outward!

Recently I stumbled upon an article titled, "Why Are You So Quiet?": Stop Asking This Question, and it struck me as odd. It was not odd because the well-rounded writing was wrong in any of its claims, but because I found it strange that an introvert who is comfortable with themselves would want the speech of others to be limited for the sake of the comfort and confidence they claim to already have.

Being an introvert myself and enjoying that unavoidable question, "Why are you so quiet?" I decided I'd give my take on the topic.

My Experience With the Question

From a quiet person who still struggles to overcome the anxiety of approaching people, I say keep asking this question and be ready to accept it when you make someone feel insecure about the question being asked of them! The person being asked, if they are truly comfortable with their quietness, will not care that you ask. For the person who does care and is insecure with their quietness, the one asking needs to understand that a sensitive approach thereafter is what is needed!

Take for example when I was in junior high, girls would always tap me on the shoulder in class and ask, "Why are you so quiet?" and proceed to snicker with their friends. Being the introvert I am, I automatically assumed their motivations were less-than-kind and clammed up. Sometimes I'd even get an angry scowl on my face and turn red as I ignored them.

Had I known that these girls were interested in me at the time, my insecurity over being an introvert would've been quelled. Unfortunately, however, their response to my introvert-driven insecurity was that of being disinterested, and even a little weirded-out that I wouldn't talk even after being spoken to. As I grew older though, the question became more and more welcome!

I absolutely love when people ask me why I am so quiet, it is always an excellent ice-breaking question and helped me to overcome my fears of approaching and/or speaking to other people. At first I hated being asked, and would assume they just felt I was a weirdo. However, as time went on more and more people made this inquiry, I realized it was extremely common and, more often than not, came from a place of deep interest and curiosity.

Me, the introvert, and my extroverted girlfriend and her extroverted friend!

Me, the introvert, and my extroverted girlfriend and her extroverted friend!

Don't Try to Be an Introvert Converter

If you are the type of extrovert to think that every introvert is just an extrovert waiting to be unleashed, please, stop that line of thought dead in its tracks. Introverts are not some sort of rare, exotic, tamable beast for you to capture and manipulate into your own ideas of them. That isn't to say there aren't some introverted individuals out there just waiting for an extrovert to adopt and train them, only to say these introverts are nowhere near the majority.

I can't remember how many times throughout my life I've been sitting by my lonesome listening to music, drawing in my sketchbook, and otherwise enjoying myself only to have some extrovert come rushing up with their intense extroverted energy disturbing my peace. This became increasingly frequent with females as I got older, so once again I'll use them as an example. The most prominent of which occurred while minding my business at work.

One day I was sitting with my headphones in at work while relaxing in the break room; I was excited to have my lunch break and get some daydreaming time in. Alas, this was cut short when this girl came in with two of my coworkers and sat down across from me.

"Hey, hey you!" they said with little tact and I removed my headphones with a silent sigh to acknowledge them.

"Why are you so quiet? Why don't you ever talk to us?"

To which I responded, "It isn't that I don't want to talk to you, I just wanted to sit here and daydream. Now that my relaxation has been ruined, I'd be happy to talk to you!"

They were a bit taken aback by this, but I clarified I was joking despite the fact they did ruin my desired alone and quiet time. In fact, I ended up partying with these three lovely ladies later in the week after letting them get to know me better, and understanding what their motives in talking to me were. Their intentions and demeanor were truly kind and curious, and them asking me that dreaded question led to me proving that even as an introvert I had amazing extroverted qualities.

Every introvert has the ability to be an extrovert, you needn't train them to bring those qualities out; all you need to do is be kind, be genuine, and continue to express interest in who they are past the introversion!

Be Kind to Your Local Introverts

If you approach someone you see as being introverted and proceed to ask the question, "Why are you so quiet?" please make sure that you enter into the conversation wanting to get to know them and not to treat them any different than anyone close to you. That inquiry can lead to trauma that makes an introvert want to limit your freedom of speech to such a degree they seek to eliminate use of the question. Speech, if avoidable, should never be limited to the point of elimination.

When you approach an introvert and ask that wonderful ice-breaker born of curiosity, ensure that you have every intention of dealing with whatever response you receive. Many times the introvert is insecure with themselves, and will react negatively to being asked something they've been asked thousands of times. In such a case where you get rejected because of your desire to know more, please, clarify your intentions as to what you seek from asking the question to begin with.

If an introverted individual gets offended by your inquiry the worst response you could offer is a negative one, as that will only solidify the negative feelings the introvert has towards themselves and the question. At worst, the introvert will tell you to go away, and quite often that means you need to give them some time to cool off rather than to, "Leave me alone forever!"

However, if you've tried more than once to break the cold shell of an introvert and still they wish for you to be nowhere near them, you need to respect the introvert's wishes. This does not stand true for introverts only, as well you should be mindful of everyone's desires. Don't be the pushy person who creates trauma through a lack of sensitivity!

Be kind to the introverts where others have not, seek to understand why it is they wouldn't want to be asked that excellent ice-breaker, and be a true friend!

Comments

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on April 05, 2021:

My father and I shared the exact same dynamic, Mike, and he was always ashamed to introduce me to people in public. I'd hide behind his leg, and he'd drag me out from behind him as I fought. Luckily, the military also taught me how to be loud, confident, and outgoing, and I still try to hold onto those qualities today.

Some of the assumptions people make can be really outlandish. Is he a murderer? He talked to her, but not me, they must be sleeping together, right? Maybe he is gay? The list goes on and on, LOL!

Thanks for reading!

Readmikenow on April 05, 2021:

Excellent article.

When I was growing up, I was quiet. My father was such an extrovert, he didn't understand me. I guess it was easy to fade into the background in my family. I changed when I trained to be an officer in the Army. I HAD to change to survive. So, that was years ago. After that time in my life, I found myself going back to being quiet and taking things in rather than being part of them. I did learn that when you're quiet, people will make things up about it rather than ask you about it. The assumptions people have made about me because I'm introverted. It's amazing.

I enjoyed reading this article.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on April 05, 2021:

I couldn't agree more. Its my pleasure! Thanks for the lesson. An awesome day to you!!!!!!

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on April 05, 2021:

Thank you for taking the time to read, Chrish! Introverts tend to be really cool people.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on April 05, 2021:

Interesting article. It's really good that you are very open of how it feels like and what the word introvert looks like, and it helps a lot for those who aren't aware. Thanks for leaving us a lesson. Blessings

Misbah from The Planet Earth on March 31, 2021:

Good to hear from you, dear friend

keep writing

Blessings and Peace

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on March 31, 2021:

I'm so quiet because I used to be beaten/berated/punished for making the slightest noise, and then I was given medication that saw me adopting unhealthy replacement behaviors swiftly. My introversion went from being a coping mechanism to being a fault, and the only thing that has drawn me out of that is other people taking an interest.

So I thank you deeply, Misbah, for being one of those who take an interest!

Misbah from The Planet Earth on March 31, 2021:

Hi kyler,

It was an interesting read but I want to ask you, why are you so quiet ?

Kind regards and Blessings

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 25, 2020:

Introvert here! People often end up thinking I am arrogant and avoid approaching for a conversation. Only those who approach know what a down to earth person I am. My observation is that introverts are more expressive through writing. May be that's why I see more introverts here in your poll. Interesting write up! Could totally relate to it.

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on August 16, 2020:

Boundaries are always an important facet of human interaction, Bushra, but how do you establish boundaries without communication about your boundaries? Is it safe to automatically assume someone is being malicious if they ask the question?

I'll always hold it to be self evident that communication is the key to true understanding. If we turn away ever curious individuals before they get the chance to understand us, then there can be no understanding at all.

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on August 16, 2020:

I hate being asked that question. People should learn to respect boundaries and mind their own business.

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on August 15, 2020:

A truly strange coincidence that I shall take at face value.

It's an interesting facet to me, however, getting upset with the question right off the bat. It used to piss me off royally as well, but I arrived on the conclusion to, "fight back," with my own attitude and flair and that further led to a calm conclusion nine times out of ten.

When you say you get upset, from what I've observed of myself and others having the same reaction, it tends to be just as bad for the situation as it is to ask the question to begin with. It even begins to hurt as the scenario is mulled over in the mind.

Does it not hurt to be upset by the question, or is it more of a one-off occurrence you tend not to dwell on for long? I ask because I feel like if we smashed the ignorance with excellent explanations to the question, then we'd see introversion become normalized rather than demonized or seen as something strange.

Lisha C on August 15, 2020:

Maybe I don't, but it's not like I do that purposely. I don't like to be brought into the spotlight with questions like this when I don't know people well—I just end up not knowing how to respond. Especially when I get negative vibes. Also, as I think that the question is rude, it sometimes just irritates me straight away. And you can also infer from the way someone asks.

If it's one-on-one and, as you mentioned, asked kindly with interest, it would probably be alright. I would be able to respond well in such situations.

I didn't delete your comment, Kyler; I was actually wondering about that, too. I received an email notification which didn't lead to any comment on clicking it. Later, I even searched in the comment page under all filters to see if it automatically got denied or something. I then assumed you had deleted it. I visited your profile after that and came across this article!

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on August 15, 2020:

I'm so happy you gave my article a chance, Lisha, and from my perspective you seem to not have given anyone a chance to be truly interested in you. Do you often breed conversation and understanding from one line responses in other scenarios? In such a case where I offer one line responses, I too do not gain any meaningful dialogue.

I'm also interested in your statement that it is good to see a different point of view, as your deletion of my trying-not-to-offend comment expressed something entirely different to me and inspired this article!

Thanks for reading!

Lisha C on August 15, 2020:

I'm glad my article made you express your point of view, Kyler. You're the first introvert whom I've known who loves being asked this question and asks it to others, too!

I guess I've never been asked this question by anyone genuinely interested. Except maybe while having a deep conversation with my close ones—and that's totally fine, I have no problem whatsoever. But otherwise, it's always either disapproving or almost mocking. I'm not one to explain in detail to every random person that it's normal for me because I'm an introvert. If I give a one-line answer and then keep quiet, it often gets an even worse response. So, I'd just rather not be faced with it at all.

Good to see a different point of view, though.

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on August 15, 2020:

Absolutely, degrading people is completely wrong and should be avoided whenever possible. However, in my experience, those who ask this question ask out of a lack of understanding, they are instilled with curiosity and deep interest. We cannot come to mutual understandings, end their blatant ignorance and the ongoing ideas of anti-introversion, if we seek to brush them off or otherwise degrade them as well.

Humans are curious and that curiosity, even if it seems nosy, is not something to be squashed; curiosity needs to thrive if interconnection at a healthy level is to also thrive. If someone wants to challenge me in my norms of normalcy, I'll gladly be the one to put them in their place. Introversion is ever-present, more so than extroversion, and I've put people in their place just by pointing out those around us and their behavior as the conversation occurs.

Alas, I will always think people who ask the question have those ignorant sentiments but are overall innocent of any wrongdoing and simply have an interest in the introvert. My life continues to be a shining example for such sentiments.

Thanks for reading!

Val Karas from Canada on August 15, 2020:

Kyler -- Anybody asking you "why you are so quiet" is a normative idiot trying to set "norms of normalcy" and picking you for exercising their competence in that matter.

As long as we are not hurting anyone by our personality traits, it's no one's business what our personality makeup may be -- our attitudes, our beliefs, our dynamics in interacting. We are all different, with our own "personality fingerprint", and just copying someone else to be "more acceptable" is the last thing we should get ourselves into.

To me, saying anything degrading about introverts is in the same category with calling blondes dumb. After all, the greatest masterpiece ever created were generated from an introvert nature,

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on August 15, 2020:

I automatically feel defensive about the question when it is asked as well, but I can usually explain away how I feel by asking back, "Are you sure you really want the answer to that question?"

Responding in such a way usually scares away the people who aren't truly interested, and unfortunately, tends to prove their intentions weren't very kind to begin with. At the very least, though, it has allowed me a way to discern with some degree of accuracy what someone's motives are.

I don't know about you but most of the introverts I know, including myself, have developed introverted qualities or solidified them deeper due to past traumas and then even further trauma from the lack of positive reception for their introverted qualities. This method of opening yourself up, encouraging the question, allows me to overcome those traumas through proving positive affirmations more than negative ones.

It's a complex topic, but so long as we are happy then I suppose it does not matter whether we are staunchly introverted or more fluid. I doubt many will read this, including the one who influenced this by deleting my comment, but if it helped you then my goal of at least one person benefiting has paid off extensively!

Thank you so much for reading!

Holley Morgan from Upstate New York on August 15, 2020:

Introvert here, and I think you are right about the insecurity. What I hear behind the question is, "What's wrong with you?" In some cases, when I don't know the people very well, I would much rather be with a book or my laptop and some music. But then, as you say, when people are kind about it, I can be extroverted. The question puts me on the defensive - not that I would try to impede anyone's right to ask it, but it does make my walls go up a little higher. You've given a nicer way of looking at the question, a better intent behind it than I initially imagined. And I think I could be receptive if someone followed your advice. I may not totally open up, but I would likely have a conversation that I enjoy. I hope a lot of people read your article!

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