This is for the ones who let others speak first and are reluctant to put their ideas forward.
This is for the ones who are softly spoken and struggle with small talk, who feel most alive in their own dreams.
This is for the ones who worry about what other people think.
If you think badly of yourself because someone else has criticised your personality, or implied that it is a failing, this is for you.
I am not defined by the word ‘quiet’. It is a vague description that fails to capture the nuances of my character. Please don’t use it as a weapon against me.
I am not socially inept because I find networking a challenge, or awkward because small talk doesn’t always come naturally.
I am not boring or antisocial because I enjoy spending time alone. I’m most comfortable in my own head, with my thoughts and ideas and dreams; I love interacting with other people, but it forces me outside of my natural state and is often exhausting.
I need time alone to recharge and replenish my energy levels. I cannot operate on a full social schedule, much as I might like to. I don’t have to apologise for choosing a night in.
I prefer to listen and consider my words before I allow them to escape my mouth. That doesn’t mean that I have nothing to say. My words are just as worthwhile as yours.
I dislike the telephone. I’d rather send a text message or an email. Whenever the phone rings I feel a sinking in my gut; I have to steel myself to answer. Sometimes, I ignore the phone, hoping for a voicemail so that I can reply in my own time, so that I can prepare.
I write because my words flow more cleanly on the page. I can change and reorder them as I see fit, without judgement. I can say exactly what I mean, however long it takes me to get there. No one sees me rehearsing the conversation before I am forced to have it. I am never left struggling for an answer.
I am not inferior because I am not as social or talkative as you. I don’t need your help to socialise. Please don’t make plans and then spring half a dozen extra guests on me, especially if I’ve never met them before.
Being quiet does not make me a failure. My skills are not in question because I do not advertise myself with ease.
I shouldn’t have to exist in a state of perpetual worry because someone might misinterpret my silence or the serious expression that falls over my face when I’m in neutral. I shouldn’t have to be hyper aware of every facial expression, every tone of voice, every time I choose to be silent. I’m not a bad person: I’m not aloof or arrogant or bitchy, just because I’m not always chatty.
I care what people think of me.
But I will not change my personality just because I don’t fit your ideal. I won’t change my personality for a job.
This is me. I can be a quiet one, but I am also so much more.