In defense of quiet people

I am a quiet person. That is, I don’t blurt out every random thought that passes through my mind, nor do I make it a practice to express my opinion on a topic without a reasonable grasp of the relevant facts.

Apparently, this marks me as antisocial. I was just browbeaten by Mrs. CG for not mingling more at a gathering of her colleagues. Particularly upsetting to her is my habit of closing my eyes when I am not speaking to anyone or looking at anything in particular - I like to just sit and listen or think. She thinks it is extremely rude.

What kind of a society is it which cannot let a person sit quietly without being considered a snob or a weirdo? Anyone else out there know what I’m talking about? Or maybe I really am an asshole.

I’m a quiet person too. I’ve been told that many people see me as rude or snobish but it reality I’m just shy and have a great deal of trouble trusting people I don’t know very well. This frequently causes problems as co-workers or people I deal with socially take me the wrong way.

Many other cultures, for example Japanese, being quiet and reserved is a atribute.

Well, speaking as the significant other of quietgirl…

You tell 'em, City Gent. Nothing wrong with not being a talker.

Not antisocial, but maybe a bit asocial.

I’m a quiet person too. (Well, maybe that’s an understatement, as I have been previously clinically diagnosed as a mild social phobic and scored >90% on an introversion inventory. I’ve made progress since then, though.) I avoid large gatherings and parties when possible. When I can’t avoid them, I stay close to my husband, who is quite the extrovert and can talk to anyone like he’s known them his whole life. I then smile and nod at what they’re saying, to make it look as though I’m participating in the conversation, when I am actually counting the minutes until we leave. This is a strategy that usually works well for me. (Most recent exception: my own wedding, which was very difficult, as not only could I not abandon the party, but I was also the center of attention. Uugggh. I survived, though.)

Fortunately Mr. Nim tends to be sensitive to my discomfort (although he doesn’t understand the anxiety I feel in large gatherings) and lets me cling to him like a barnacle. Most people don’t know my reasons for being quiet (only my husband and my parents know, in fact). So I imagine there are people who perceive me as strange and distant, although I am always very polite and responsive to friendly conversations. Recently I had to leave Mr. Nim’s father’s retirement party early due to panic attacks, and Mr. Nim didn’t know what to tell them so he just said I was “tired.” Highlanders are very much “party people”, so they were probably baffled. The worst part is when people assume you’re acting this way because you don’t like them.

(Btw I’m fine and socially active in smaller gatherings.)

I’m quiet sometimes, talkative sometimes. It depends on the situation, and how well I know the people or how inviting they are. I wouldn’t say that I’d find someone who’s quieter than me to be rude or antisocial. I would, however, be inclined to think that a person was, well, less than polite, if he sat with his eyes closed at a social gathering.
My word of advice, keep your mouth closed if you want to, but try to keep your eyes open.

'Tis better to be quiet and thought the fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt.
Not a quote from me, but one I’ve learned from. IMO most quiet people are thoughtful,kind,caring types.

I’m quiet by nature, but sometimes I don’t want to be. I just often feel rather awkard talking to people I don’t know very well, so I don’t say much. Of course, what comes across is me only answering remarks directly addressed to me and not elaborating much and generally making it hard for people to keep talking to me. I would guess it seems like I don’t want to be spoken to, when it’s often quite the opposite.

I’m quiet too, but City Gent, closing your eyes in a social setting might be interpreted as a bit rude.

As body language, closed eyes mean you’re bored, you’d rather be somewhere else, and the people around you aren’t interesting enough to keep your attention. That’s kind of insulting.

Shoot, we have a smilie for that, don’t we?

I’m also pretty quiet, and it takes me a long time get comfortable with people I don’t know. My biggest problem in group situations is when I do say something it often isn’t taken the way I intended.

One thing I liked about living in Japan was that my quietness was much more acceptable. The Japanese tend to view silence as a mark of intelligence, while the opposite is generally true in the West. In the U.S. at least, we seen to be living in a time when boorishness and outlandishness are supreme virtues.

You know what they say. (Or at least Lisa said it once…)

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Seriously, though…there are some people who would be improved with a silencer.

We live in an era that trumpets acceptance of differences, some of which could have gotten someone beaten up or even killed in the past. It’s ironic that at the same time simply not talking is stigmatized as strange or weird, in many cases by people who have benefited from the new acceptance.

I like it!

Another quiet person stopping in. I’ve never been called rude for my reserved nature, although one person told me that others thought I considered myself above them because of my quiet nature. (Quite the opposite is true, but that’s another issue). The closing the eyes thing, though, could be seen by some as odd at the very least.

Voted most quiet in high school, class of 82.

I can be a very quiet person or very talkative one. It’s a situational type of thing. Generally speaking tho I’m more of the quiet observational type when meeting new people.

The way I see it, more or less, is there’s two ends of the spectrum - introversion and extroversion. People that energize by occuping themselves alone and people that energize by conversing with others. I think I lie close to the middle of the spectrum.

I am quiet. After years of trying to change myself I’ve finally accepted it. I just don’t function well in social situations, no matter how much I try to relax and go with the flow.

The main problem with being quiet, like Kipper mentioned, is that you are often assumed to be a snob. I think it stems from the fact that shy people are very uncomfortable when strangers talk to them, and their body language – squirming, looking around nervously, short sentences – is often interpreted as dislike.

Interestingly, most of my friends have been extremely outgoing. I guess it takes a lot of tenacity just to break past my initial “shyness barrier”.

When told by someone how quiet I am (and for some reason, everyone thinks they need to let you in on the fact that you’re a quiet person - no, really! I hadn’t noticed!), I usually tell them that someone has to do the listening (and if I’m really on that day, I can say it in a tone that implies that they are blabbermouths) :smiley:
My bf handles being notified about his quietness by shrugging and saying nothing. Touché.

I tend to be quiet at large social situations, but like Nimue, I am fine in smaller groups. In fact, people who know me well, that are in my circle of friends, have a hard time believing I think of myself as shy.

I read a great book once for a class about 4 years ago called “The Personality Self Portrait”. It is a series of questions that you answer and then plot out your personality. It breaks personalities down into 16 (I think) different types, with very few people being strictly one or the other, but a combination of very strong in one type, and scoring lower in one or more other types. It was very informative. It gives tips on dealing with your dominant personality type, and on your friend/significant other/family member’s personality types.

Interestingly enough, I found out that my type is one of the best matches for my best friend’s type, because we balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses perfectly. It made sense, since we have been close friends ever since we were 8 years old. :slight_smile:

"I am a quiet person. That is, I don’t blurt out every random thought that passes through my mind, nor do I make it a practice to express my opinion on a topic without a reasonable grasp of the relevant facts."

To me, your definition of a “quiet person” seems to be off a little. You can practice those things you said, and not be a “quiet person”.

I don’t think you’re rude for being quiet though, just don’t expect to make it to the top of the “most popular” list in social circles. If you want to just sit there most of the time, then you’ll have to live with some people feeling a little uncomfortable around you, and not inviting you over alot.

Honestly though, if I was at a social thing, and someone was sitting there with his eyes closed, I would think he was pretty strange, or pretty high.

One time in an interview I read, someone asked Bob Dylan why he always wore sunglasses. Dylan said that if it was up to him, he’d wear one of those helmets with the full face shield on it. But he’s Bob Dylan.

I would say, since you asked, if you are comfortable with it, don’t worry about it. There are things you can do to make yourself more sociable though if you want to change.

*Originally posted by Nimue *

Wow! Spooje and Nimue: Separated at birth? I am exactly the same way(except I’m male). It’s good to see I’m no the only quiet person.

C’mon, everbody, group hug! {{{{{{{{quiet people}}}}}

Another quiet person here. I have been told many times that before people get to know me, I seem aloof and superior. I like to sit back and observe, and if I really, really, have something to say, I will. This is ture even when I am with people I have been friends with for years. (although I do talk more around friends that I do with strangers). I’d rather kill myself than have to engage in “small talk” with someone I don’t know.

I’m half Japanese. Maybe I’d do better if I moved to Japan. :wink: