I was the quiet kid in school. Shy and awkward, no-one particularly liked me, and as a result I ended up developing serious self-confidence issues, which made me feel more shy in social situations, and it became a huge vicious cycle.
However, life has moved on since then. I started partying, I went travelling by myself, I started a blog, I found my voice, I appeared on national TV. I used to be desperate to be liked, obsessed with what people thought of me, convinced I could never be good enough. Now if someone dislikes me? I don’t care. If I click with someone great, but I don’t feel I have to be everyone’s friend.
There’s just one problem. I still get called quiet.
It goes like this. I’ll go out. Perhaps on a friend-date, maybe to a Meetup, or perhaps I’ll stay at a hostel when I go on holiday. I’ll come forward and talk to people, have decent conversations, and feel like I’ve had a good time. But then afterwards I’ll get ghosted, or I’ll hear from someone else that people thought I was “too quiet”. ARGH.
They say you shouldn’t care what people think of you, and they have a point. Your self-worth shouldn’t be dependent on other people’s approval. And I’ve got to a point where I do like myself. I’m a kind, intelligent, funny person with good values. Whether other people like me or not should have absolutely zero relevance to my life. The problem is, I want what I could get out of being liked. Some of my friends I’ve met through Meetup have very outgoing personalities, and have moved to Reading and quickly formed a large social circle. I can’t help but envy them a bit, as I lived in London for the best part of two years, and while I met my best friend there, everyone else I met ghosted me. And of course, not saying I’m DESPERATE for a relationship, but I would quite like a boyfriend, and I’m sick of hearing “you’re prettier than X but she has a better personality than you”.
The frustrating thing is, that I don’t see myself as quiet. I’m the firebrand go-getter, who did an open mic night in New York City and came out as a virgin on national TV. But I guess sometimes people come across differently to how they are. For example, some people are arseholes, but come across as nice. Perhaps some people are naturally more soft-spoken and happy to be a listener in group situations rather than dominate the conversation. Which isn’t inherently a bad thing. But the problem is, annoyingly, people seem to value extroversion above all else. Some of my closest friends are people who seemed a bit quiet to begin with, but come out of themselves once I’d got to know them and are really kind people. And some of the outgoing people I’ve met with so-called “great personalities” ended up being rude, catty, and/ or self-involved. Does it really matter how loud someone is? Shouldn’t it be about someone’s values, having shared interests, and how they treat others, rather than just who makes the most noise?
But alas, it does. So I’m on a mission. I’m fed up of being written off as “quiet” before people have even got to know me. I can live with someone not liking me, but one thing I want is for them to respect me. So I’ve taken up stand-up comedy, and I’m attending more Meetups, and making a conscious effort to drag myself out of my shell. In a bid for people to recognise all my wonderful qualities, I am going to become the Holy Grail- outgoing.
Have you ever been called quiet? Let me know in the comments!
Photography by Hey Saturday.
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