To HATE the perception of 'quiet' people?

(72 Posts)
SugarMouse1 Tue 15-Jan-13 18:07:34

AIBU to HATE, HATE, HATE it when somebody asks 'why are you so quiet?'.

What is the point in this question?

Especially when its just because you dont scream into peoples faces like others do. Its such an ignorant thing to say, FFS.

I mean I can be making a lot of effort being, polite, freindly etc, and then everything gets ruined by this question, it makes things worse, I never want to talk after someone says something like that.

Euphemia Tue 15-Jan-13 18:13:36


That's been me most of my life. My fantasy answer is usually "Because you're all so fucking up yourselves you never shut your faces long enough for anyone else to speak, also you're boring the fucking arse off me," but I'm much too polite, sadly. smile

AllYoursBabooshka Tue 15-Jan-13 18:13:44

I'm quiet too.

I think some people worry that you are being so quiet because there is something wrong/your not enjoying yourself.

SugarMouse1 Tue 15-Jan-13 18:15:20

I know- I WISH there was some way round this- i feel like i'm just banging my head against a brick wall.

HeathRobinson Tue 15-Jan-13 18:15:45


And after they've asked it, everyone looks at you.
The last thing you want!

LetsKateWin Tue 15-Jan-13 18:16:21

I hate it too.

not everyone has to be a loudmouth

AllYoursBabooshka Tue 15-Jan-13 18:16:54

Also some people really cannot deal with sitting in silence for more than three seconds and assume everyone else is like them.

They exhaust me, do they ever just think?

vjg13 Tue 15-Jan-13 18:19:23

YANBU, I always remind the kids how important it is to listen. I'm quiet and like quiet people.

MadBusLady Tue 15-Jan-13 18:19:42

You need the introvert threads!

ArseyDarcey Tue 15-Jan-13 18:20:49

I'm another quiet one - my mums the same, she always says i take after her. but we're not quiet with each other hmm

it also depends what group of people you are with, if it's a big group then i suppose i kind of sit back and listen more as there are usually one or two who like to be centre of a conversation.
if it's only a couple of people i do chat more.

BunFagFreddie Tue 15-Jan-13 18:23:09

I've always wanted to reply with "Why are you such a twat?" when someone asks me that. I wouldn't though, because I'm too polite.

foxache Tue 15-Jan-13 18:24:44

Yes, it's usually because I can't get a word in. Or been interrupted in the middle of something several times, and have now given up hmm

Mostly, I don't have anything to say.

People make incorrect assumptions about loud people too: you're loud, therefore you are confident, therefore I can say shitty things to you and you won't take offence.

Some people are just wankers.

euphemia I was so close to saying exactly that to my inlaws once!!!!

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 15-Jan-13 18:33:43

Akiss I agree, people assume loud = confident, bossy, outgoing.
IME, some of the quietest people I know are the most confident, self assured,
controlling, opinionated ...

cumfy Tue 15-Jan-13 18:33:52

I'm an introvert but I think you're over-reacting a little.

You could just tell them why.

EmpressMaud Tue 15-Jan-13 18:34:36

I was about to suggest the introvert thread too!

I haven't personally been on the receiving end of this comment (I'm very confident but reserved and introverted at the same time) but I don't know how you'd begin to respond to that. Though the temptation to use one of the responses other posters suggested would be great grin

marjproops Tue 15-Jan-13 18:36:06

Im the same, I get told Im boring/miserable/somethings wrong.

I cant stand loud noise (misophonia) anyway and why is it when you talk quietly people shout back to you cause they think you're deaf????!!

EmpressMaud Tue 15-Jan-13 18:37:04

Or you can even find yourself accused of being snobbish (I only overheard this).

reallyyummymummy Tue 15-Jan-13 18:38:41

I have been asked this question before. Usually by someone who is so loud it defies belief.

TheMouseDancing Tue 15-Jan-13 18:39:38


I was going to type a response but I think Euphemia sums it up nicely grin

pineapplecrush Tue 15-Jan-13 18:39:49

I was labelled quiet as a child and I remember My Dad returning from a parents evening and telling me the teacher thought I was quiet, he said to me "and what's wrong with being quiet?". Quite. I think people today are louder than they used to be. Everything seems louder. As Allyours says some people cannot bear being silent. The office behind me is like that - they never stop talking drivel. Exhausting it is and definitely not conducive to productivity.

BoundandRebound Tue 15-Jan-13 18:41:19

Introvert and extrovert is just a personality type. Don't understand why it's ok to attack extroverts for being loud though, not sure they can help it

I was once told that the sign of an extrovert is announcing when you go to the toilet grin

TheSecondComing Tue 15-Jan-13 18:44:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MamaBear17 Tue 15-Jan-13 18:47:36

I am the opposite - well, sort of. I wouldn't say I am loud, but when I am in company that I am familiar with I am chatty and will always offer my opinion on something. I'm not confident though. Will spend hours going over conversations in my head worrying that other people might think badly of me because of something I have said. I would never be so rude as to ask a quieter person why they are quiet (it seems like a stupid question to ask tbh) but I wonder if people ask it to deflect attention away from themselves?


I am quiet, and because of that people have assumed that I am stuck up, moody, bored or boring.

I don't go around asking loud people 'whats wrong' .

nearly2013 Tue 15-Jan-13 18:53:08

I'm really quiet too, I used to want to be louder and outgoing but I can't make myself so I am the way I am!
Mine stems from childhood and I was really held back in every area of my life. I was expected to be quiet and stay in the background by narcissistic and Alcoholic parents.

If someone asks me that I tend to glare (in silence of course) at them until they get uncomfortable and fuck off.

bedmonster Tue 15-Jan-13 18:58:42

There are an awful lot of assumptions here that loud people are all rude hmm

NoillyPrat Tue 15-Jan-13 18:59:15


I am quiet, and because of that people have assumed that I am stuck up, moody, bored or boring.

I don't go around asking loud people 'whats wrong' ."

This and this:

"I'm really quiet too, I used to want to be louder and outgoing but I can't make myself so I am the way I am!"

And pretty much what everyone else has said.

I'm really shy too and HATE having to talk to people as I get scared blush

BunFagFreddie Tue 15-Jan-13 19:16:46

My parents used to tell me that I was too introverted and that I should make an effort to be more like my cousin. angry

I saw my family over Xmas and just gave up trying to talk to them in the end, because I couldn't get a word in edgeways. Everyone's different.

marjproops Tue 15-Jan-13 19:41:50

what noillyprat says. smile

OmgATalkingOnion Tue 15-Jan-13 19:52:28

Yanbu. I've had this all my life toohmm

Not all quiet people are shy either. That's another assumption that annoys me.
I was always described as shy at school. My mum used to say to teachers 'she's not shy, she's reserved'grin.

DameFanny Tue 15-Jan-13 19:56:57

Why are you so quiet?

'i like to think before I open my mouth'

Count the seconds til they realise what you said grin

BunFagFreddie Tue 15-Jan-13 19:57:11

People have said that I'm reserved, like it's a bad thing. hmm Not saying it's a great thing, but it's just a character trait. It's like criticising someone for being chatty.

DameFanny Tue 15-Jan-13 20:02:40

I get the reserved thing too. I tell myself they're just unnerved because they realise I'm quietly plotting their doom <cackles>

coribells Tue 15-Jan-13 20:03:18

Google Susan Cains book ' Quiet : the power of the introvert in a works that can't stop talking '

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 20:18:28

I just assume that quiet people are either shy, bored, or prefer to speak when they have something to say.

I'm one of the gobshites extroverts on the other thread, and I've found it really interesting to find out about the other side, as it were.

There's a mum at DS' school who admits she's socially awkward and v introvert. I just want to invite her round, get her pissed, and teach her some knob gags. But, I know this'll never work, it's not like she'll suddenly come out of her shell.

CrunchyFrog Tue 15-Jan-13 20:19:50

I hate being asked it, because if I'm quiet, I'm probably dead. It's always a bad sign with me.

Heart on my sleeve, always smiling like a maniac and a terrible one for knowing everyone's business.

Makes me good at my job (entertainer). Something about external locus of identity or summat.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 20:20:54

The thing is, if she was happy with her state of affairs, so what? Who cares? Sadly, she isn't, but I don't know what the answer is.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Tue 15-Jan-13 20:22:04

This bugs me too! Sometimes when I'm quiet it's because I'm bored shitless. Lol

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 20:29:02

I've got an internal locus of identity, but I lovelovelove people! What they think, what they do, how they got to where they are, the lot.
Among my friends I am happy to say there are people who really shouldn't be there! Think polar opposites on the big issues of life (if you get me). To accept them, and to have them accept me, is something I'm v proud of.
The day I get tired of people is the day I shall turn my face to the wall.

AlanMoore Tue 15-Jan-13 20:30:53

Some charming views on here!

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 20:31:46

Like what?

amicissimma Tue 15-Jan-13 20:34:39

"Better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Attrib Abraham Lincoln

"A wise old owl sat on an oak.
The more he heard, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?"

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 20:38:09

Amicissimma, I'll raise you this!

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 20:39:19

Hope this converts, I'm on my iPhone.

BunFagFreddie Tue 15-Jan-13 20:45:11

There's a mum at DS' school who admits she's socially awkward and v introvert. I just want to invite her round, get her pissed, and teach her some knob gags. But, I know this'll never work, it's not like she'll suddenly come out of her shell.

What makes you think that introverts don't have any decent knob gags? grin

I'm not an introvert, I'm a closet extrovert. Quiet and reserved until you get to know me - then the full extent of my eccentricity and weirdness is revealed. Queue the stereotype about having to watch out for the quiet ones!

allgoingtoshitnow Tue 15-Jan-13 20:48:43

We need extroverts to fill in the gaps between real conversation.

YABU OP, because you have been conditioned to see thoughtful silence as a bad thing.

That said though - there are times where the gobshite always wins, and so you need to learn to push yourself forwards and talk over people. Any old shit will do as long as you are talking.

Those who suffer from shyness and nerves, smoking helps a lot. Smokers are a chatty bunch for a reason and its not their outgoing personality.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 20:51:57

I've had some great knob gags from introverts!
Unfortunately, the woman I mentioned is also a bit awkward socially, so I can't imagine a stream o' smut issuing forth!

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 20:52:59

But why do extroverts not have real conversations?

mrsjay Tue 15-Jan-13 21:07:36

I am quiet really I sometimes dont want to say anything and im not 1 for filling space with drivel ( that is what mumsnet is for ) my dh and dd2 are loud and chatting I feel like taping their mouths shut grin

BunFagFreddie Tue 15-Jan-13 21:09:26

Those who suffer from shyness and nerves, smoking helps a lot. Smokers are a chatty bunch for a reason and its not their outgoing personality. *

OK, what do you have to smoke for that? grin

SpringTimeRain Tue 15-Jan-13 21:12:49

I started a new job and I'm quite a quiet person anyway but the added nerves of a new job made me a bit more quiet, after working there for three years one of the girls told me

"Everyone hated you at first and said you were stuck up because you were so quiet but don't worry they like you now."

I dated an American and his friend said - what's up you're being quiet to which my boyfriend at the time turned around and said

"Yeah that's why I prefer English girl, they don't feel the need to talk crap all the time like American girls do"

Eliza22 Tue 15-Jan-13 22:18:55

I'm so quiet, I can only

Actually, it really pisses me off. I'm NOT quiet, at all. I am thought-full. I don't just talk for the sake of talk. I'm considered and considerate.... I wouldn't dream of pushing myself or my opinions on people.

I'm a real hoot as well, when you know me but NOT with people who ask me or worse, describe me, as "quiet". Even as a child, I was "the quiet one" as oppose to my sister who could talk to anyone/anytime.

We can't all be the same!

My retort to people who enquire after my lack of "volume" is "it's a good thing there ARE some quiet people.... No one would be able to hear a thing, otherwise!!"

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 22:32:05

But I WANT to hear your opinions! You're not forcing them on me at all....

I think this is a big difference, and one that's overlooked, between these personality types.

Snog Tue 15-Jan-13 22:38:28

I find quiet people quite un-Nerving because you can't tell what they are thinking very easily.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 22:44:11

They're coming for youuuuuuu, Snog.
They're so quiet, though, that you'll never hear them......

Right, goodnight, ladies.

PurpleStorm Tue 15-Jan-13 22:44:48

YANBU. It's an annoying question.

Not seeing how taking up smoking would help with shyness and nerves either.

<stares at snog in silence>

<contemplates eating snog's brain>

<damn, did I think that out loud>

Snog Wed 16-Jan-13 21:27:38

Sorry murder of goths someone beat you to it ...some years ago now
And Stop it with your weirdly silences you quiet folk who are watching not posting on this thread

SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 16-Jan-13 22:04:37

I'm a quiet, shy introvert and I've been perceived as snotty, snobby, distant, cold, boring, dull and lacking in personality. I don't have much confidence in social situations, especially large groups, and in the past I've been ignored, dismissed and talked over. In fact it happened as recently as last week. I wish others wouldn't be quite so judgemental of my personality but I can't change other people, and I'm not prepared to completely overhaul my natural personality just to fit in with the 'norm'.

I'm not the kind of person who speaks just for the sake of it - I prefer to listen. After all, you can't hear other people if you never stop talking. We have one mouth and two ears for a reason.

Callycat Wed 16-Jan-13 22:47:12

"Ooh, you're very QUIET, aren't you? VERY quiet. Isn't she, Janice? Janice? No, Callycat here! Isn't she QUIET? I say, Janice - Callycat's so quiet! Aren't you? You're very QUIET."

Yeah, like they expect me to suddenly start chattering away about how awfully QUIET I am. Sympathies, OP!

Eliza22 Thu 17-Jan-13 08:14:35

Sshhhh! ALL of you, FFS!

starlightraven Thu 17-Jan-13 09:25:23

Ah I hate that question! Throughout high school I was asked that question so often and it made me feel so alone and killed my self esteem every time I was asked it. I never knew what to reply.

"Why are you so quiet?"
"Smile, it can't be that bad"
"Why don't you just talk more?"
"You're blushing!"

Leave me alone!!!! You think I WANT to struggle with shyness? You think it's a choice? Grrrr.

Luckily as an adult I'm not asked it as often (still very shy though), but I still don't know what to reply when people do. Makes me automatically not warm to them though!

twoyearsandcounting Thu 17-Jan-13 09:45:18

I get accused of being quiet and looking pissed off alot . Just because I don't like being the centre of attention and grin like a loon all the time doesn't mean i am having a crap time. Sometimes in a big group i am happy just to listen, soak up the atmosphere and will contribute if i feel like it.

MadBusLady Thu 17-Jan-13 09:54:47

starlight Throughout high school I was asked that question so often and it made me feel so alone and killed my self esteem every time I was asked it.

That's interesting, it echoes the process suggested in The Highly Sensitive Person (Elain Aron) which I bang on about on introvert threads. She suggests most quiet/introverted people's self-esteem is actually just fine (or no worse on average than extroverts'), until the rest of the world starts suggesting to them there's something wrong with their behaviour. Anyone would lose self-esteem being constantly told their natural behaviour was wrong! The idea that quietness is a problem comes from other people.

Nectar Thu 17-Jan-13 09:55:29

I'm glad I stumbled across this thread!

I've often been asked since I was a young child, why I'm quiet. Less so as an adult, although one person I used to work with was v annoying with her constant questioning, "Why are you so QUIET?" Even when we were all chatting together she still said I was quiet, and made me v self conscious. She doesn't work with us now, thankfully!

I have friends, hobbies and love chatting to people, but I'm not naturally dominant in a conversation, prefer one to one and small groups.

I felt exhausted recently as we had my sister in law staying with us. She's a nice person, but just doesn't stop talking! She has an opinion on everything, always has to challenge other people's views, bring every conversation to a conclusion and talks over the TV constantly! She never agrees with the way a programme is presented, who's been picked to present it, the way the judging is done, ie, X Factor etc and it's SO irritating when you just want to watch!

My dh knows I find her difficult but he's more on her side, says she's more 'engaged' with things and has a different outlook on life. I'm 'engaged', but don't feel the need to challenge every little thing and when I get the chance just like to chill out a bit!

I was exhausted after those few days, and she often asks me if I'm ok, or (said sarcastically) 'Sorry Nectar you'll be bored by this I know but I just must say ......'

It's not the fact I'm bored, I'd just like to listen to the programme, finish what I was saying or be able to listen properly to my dd! Everybody's different I know, but I almost give up trying to contribute when she's here, as I just can't get a word in edge ways!

I remember being down the pub with a load of people from college, and one of the guys (slightly worse for wear) coming over and begging me to talk because my silence made him scared of me. hmm grin

Elongase Thu 17-Jan-13 10:35:15

I would try to reply with "why are you so rude?"

atthewelles Thu 17-Jan-13 10:46:58

I hate this too. Especially at parties or weddings where the 'mad extroverts' try to force you to join in the sing song or the dancing or the Karaoke when you're quite happy sitting chatting with a couple of friends and soaking up the atmosphere.

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