August 13, 2008

Why are you so quiet?

I'm quiet, and an introvert. Notable times when people have tried to "cure" me of that:

1. U.S History class, 8th grade. I had just moved to a new school. It was the first day, 5th period. The boy assigned to the desk behind me (let's call him Ted) was the obvious class clown. His favorite prop? The quiet shy girl that sat in front of him. Ted even wrote a song about me (and sang it outloud during class). It was actually quite tender and went something like, "You need to let your feelings out..." It would fit in with any of Kermit the Frog's biggest hits.

2. Literary magazine staff, junior year of high school. The class of about 12 was a mixed bag of crazy drama students and AP English nerds. A kid in the class (let's call him Fred) occasionally tried to "encourage" me to be more expressive. One day, while working on a writing prompt, Fred stood up, walked over to me, and pointed his forefinger right at my forehead. He didn't say anything, he just stood silently over my desk pointing straight at me. If he was sure I'd be forced to stop being so quiet and respond, he greatly underestimated my introversion. I continued writing as if he was invisible. It became some sort of perverted staring contest. Eventually he gave up and sat back down. I won.

3. Working at the library during sophomore through senior year of college. One of the supervisors (let's call him Ned) thought it his duty to save me from my shyness. He didn't compose songs or perform awkward demonstrations. He just asked, at least once a week, some version of "Why are you so quiet?" I'd have loved to answer, "Why are you so loud?" or maybe "Why are you so tall?" but I didn't. I shrugged and mumbled something.

I get that question, "Why are you so quiet?" or variations on that question all the time. I'm never sure what to say besides the shrug and mumble, but I found this article today that lets me know at least I'm not alone. It's called Caring for Your Introvert. I may forward it (quietly, over email) to the next Jen, Ben, or Gwen that tries to solve or cure my introversion.

It isn't a disease or personality flaw. I don't secretly hate you. On any given work day, I might be staring at my keyboard, gazing out the window, or looking at nothing. I'm usually lost in thought or deep in focus, but I don't need rescuing. No nothing is wrong with me, and yes I'm okay. Now leave me alone. :)


Jill Saunders said...

"The only thing a true introvert dislikes more than talking about himself is repeating himself."


Karleewinters said...

This is hilarious.