Misconceptions about quiet people

Earlier today, I came across a Facebook page that features motivational quotes intended to improve people's moods and enhance their overall self-esteem.

Interestingly, I noticed two quotes that focus specifically on quiet people:

"Be afraid of quiet people; they're the ones who actually think."

"The quietest people have the loudest minds."

I've observed that most people's views of quiet individuals can fall under one of two categories:

1. The ones who say quiet people are antisocial, suspicious, snobbish, and/or full of themselves.

2. The people who say their introspective nature and propensity to be deep in thought makes them smarter than their more garrulous peers. The quotes above speak to this mindset.

As an introvert known to be quiet at work and at social functions where I might not know anyone, I feel I'm well positioned to dispel any inaccuracies surrounding quiet folks.

First of all, the above statements misguidedly put all quiet people in the same bucket. Yes, many quiet people -- including myself -- direct our energy inward. We love to contemplate and make sense of the world in our heads. We have an intellectual bent, always looking for any excuse to learn about and discussing subjects of a deep nature, whether politics, science, or human behavior. We choose our words carefully before uttering them.

But the fact a person is quiet shouldn't automatically render them a bookworm. Perhaps they want to verbalize their thoughts or opinions but are just too shy to do it, or they refrain from talking for fear of sounding stupid. In other words, to assume that all reticent people in the world are deep thinkers and have a fondness for Shakespeare is just unrealistic. That's like saying that everyone who abstains from eating fast food is a vegetarian.

I'm sure there's an ample number of talkative extroverts in the world who enjoy intellectual pursuits. Take Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary of the United States. He was arguably the most brilliant of the founding fathers, but the man, by all accounts, was a blathering hothead who didn't know the meaning of keeping his mouth shut.

Some of the brightest minds in the world are in the political sphere, where keeping quiet is surely not an option -- from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The second quote definitely applies to me, as I spend the entire day thinking -- almost to a fault. But I l like that about myself, and I find it an endearing quality in other people. To me, there's nothing wrong in refraining from saying everything that pops to mind. I like to think carefully about what I'm going to say before I say it, and it has served me well so far. I've hardly ever had to retract a remark I've made at work, home, or elsewhere. But that doesn't mean I chastise my more outspoken peers for being any different.

As I've said in prior posts, people have disparate personalities. We should respect each other's temperaments without immediately passing judgment on one another, especially when we don't know each other all that well. Being talkative should not be equated with intellectual deficiency any more than being quiet should not be construed as being antisocial or snooty.

1 comment:

Sharron Dark said...

Great passage and I can relate of différent perceptions of quiet people.