To hate it when people say that I am quiet?

(51 Posts)
silverphotoframe Sat 19-Oct-13 21:35:40

I am naturally quite a quiet/shy type of person. When I am around people I know well or people that I just feel comfortable with, I feel confident, and comfortable in my own skin. But mostly, if I am around people I don't know or am not too sure about I tend to keep to myself. I consider myself to have reasonably good social skills however, I ask about the other person and don't ignore people etc. But every now and again someone will point out that I am really quiet. They'll say something like "why are you so quiet" and this always makes me feel so bad, I take it personally like a criticism. It is usually said by someone who is quite loud and brash and it feels like they have picked up on my nervousness or something and that they are using it against me to make me look stupid in front of other people.

One particular instance of this happened at a work do, I had been chatting happily with my colleagues during the evening and had felt reasonably relaxed. There is a guy at work who is very loud and domineering. Has something to say about everyone, thinks he is important, patronises everyone etc. All of a sudden he starts with "ooh, silver is so quiet, why are you so quiet?, I've worked here for x years and I have never had a conversation with her" blah blah. I was sat right next to him while he addressed this to the whole table. I just felt so undermined. I had actually spoken to him as at one point we worked in quite a small team together. I appreciate that I can be quiet sometimes, but AIBU to take this as an insult and be really annoyed by it. Do other "quiet types" also find it massively irritated to have it pointed out? Is it actually rude or AIBU? Also does anyone have any good replies/comebacks?

AmIthatHot Sat 19-Oct-13 21:45:03

There was a not too dissimilar thread last week about this. I recall the consensus was that the types who feel the need to pass remarks about the demeanor of others are twats of the highest order.

People that need to comment on others, whether it be the "cheer up love" shite, or how quiet someone is, should be pitied

TEErickOrTEEreat Sat 19-Oct-13 21:47:12

Well, so what? You are quiet. They aren't lying, are they?

"Better to be quiet and thought a fool than open your mouth and prove it."

claig Sat 19-Oct-13 21:47:12

Yes it is rude. I am also quiet in large groups that I don't know. It's normal and often sensitive, intelligent people are more quiet than loud, domineering people.

You could say something like

"yes I know, still rivers run deep"

or the more aggressive

"I prefer to remain quiet, so you can make a fool of yourself"

Sometimes very loud people feel uncomfortable with a quiet person because the loud person is often acting and playing a role and they feel intimidated by the quiet, genuineness of the quiet person who they think has sussed the role playing.

It can also be cultural. Some cultures are much louder, but often English people are more reserved and quieter.

JohnSnowsTie Sat 19-Oct-13 21:47:53

There's nothing wrong with being quiet. (Said as a quiettype.)

Yes, it does seem rude to point it out, especially as by their very nature quiet people tend to avoid drawing attention to themselves, so it's certainly no one else's place to do it. I'm sure the man you refer to wouldn't have liked anyone pointing out that he's a brash obnoxious prick, although I'm sure that's what most of the table were thinking (they just had the decency to keep it to themselves).

claig Sat 19-Oct-13 21:48:50

Another aggressive comeback is

"an empty vessel makes most noise"

SomethingOnce Sat 19-Oct-13 21:50:33

I'm not a quiet person but I don't care for the loud, brash types either. I have an acquaintance I avoid, not because she's horrible but because she's rather OTT and I sort of recoil in her presence blush

And I know exactly what you mean about the ones who make an issue out of others' quietness. I do think it's quite rude, actually.

Bumblequeen Sat 19-Oct-13 21:51:29

I understand that it can make you feel very put on the spot.

It is not a crime to be quiet. Very rarely are loud people told "you are so loud. Why is that?"

I am naturally quiet and hated it as a teenager but have now accepted this is me. I am sociable when with others but need a lot if me time. Someone once said "You do not say much about your family, do you?". I thought "No, but then you do not let anyone get a word in edgeways".

FrauMoose Sat 19-Oct-13 21:53:38

Perhaps a bit of irony. 'Unfortunately I don't have your particular set of social skills.. But thank you for that helpful contribution.'

Pickle131 Sat 19-Oct-13 21:54:24

Gosh I think I'd have looked at him, paused in disbelief, and pointedly turned to the person next to me and continued my conversation as though nothing had happened. He must be a very ill mannered person and / or drunk. Sometimes there really isn't something to say around strangers, and that's ok. I find that sometimes the chemistry just isn't there. Other times it is, and the conversation flows better. I've decided not to lose sleep over it any more, I'm just not always capable of small talk. Life's too short to make friends with everyone or to give the time of day to rude, loud people!

Bumblequeen Sat 19-Oct-13 21:57:23

I struggle with the school run. Some most of the mothers seem to gravitate towards one another and I cannot wait to meet dd and get going. I smile and do the niceties but I feel awkward.

claig Sat 19-Oct-13 22:00:27

"ooh, silver is so quiet, why are you so quiet?, I've worked here for x years and I have never had a conversation with her"

The following line is likely to end his conversation

"Because you're boring"

silverphotoframe Sat 19-Oct-13 22:01:45

I'm glad that its agreed that he was being rude. What I tend to do in these situations if just sit there like a lemon hoping the earth will swallow me up and not really say anything. Sometimes I wish I could say something like "why are you so loud?" or something really agressive but would be scared of looking like a massive arse so end up saying nothing then feeling terrible afterwards.

HelpMePleaseImConfused Sat 19-Oct-13 22:04:43

I know exactly how you feel and i dont think we abu! I am sick of being told im quiet or 'what's wrong with you'? And just as you say, i often feel like it's done to make a fool of me.

I am louder and more confident with people i know well too, but can be quiet with work colleague or on nights out with friends of friends etc. I actually enjoy meeting new people though and will make an effort to talk and be friendly.

However, I can think of numerous upsetting occasions where i have felt like im doing 'well' chatting to lots of people and being friendly etc, only for one person to shoot me down with a "you're not saying much" or "cheer up" or "try to look like you're having a good time" and i just feel like its so unjust and can sonetimes ruin my day/night. It is as though they are criticising your social abilities and it can be humiliating. Some people seem to enjoy putting quieter people down in this way. What do they expect you to say in response?!

claig Sat 19-Oct-13 22:04:51

You could try saying something aggressive in return but say it with a big smile on your face as if you are joking, then he won't know how to react

so with a big smile you could say to him "because I find you boring"

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 19-Oct-13 22:05:42

'One can barely get a word in edgeways' would have been my response.

quoteunquote Sat 19-Oct-13 22:07:55

Just say, "Nobody plots a murder out loud"

Then give them your best paddington stare.

and pop along to your local Quaker meeting, and find people who embrace silence.

claig Sat 19-Oct-13 22:10:33

'Some people seem to enjoy putting quieter people down in this way. What do they expect you to say in response?!'

I have met some very nasty, unhappy people in my time, who were the life and soul types but it was all an act and they were in fact totally stressed out by the situation and having to act over the top. They are usually the ones who pick on quieter people and tell them to cheer up as it makes themselves feel better and gives the impression to others that they are actually enjoying themselves as opposed to acting.

So if someone says "cheer up" or "you're quiet, what's the matter?"
you could always show that you have got their number by saying

"stop acting the fool"

JohnSnowsTie Sat 19-Oct-13 22:11:57

That's the thing isn't it - some people mistake loud for interesting/quiet for uninteresting, when often is entirely the other way around.

Ugh OP - I really can't stand people who make you feel as though you have to justify the way you are to them, but I'm afraid to say I often respond in the same way as you, i.e. by feeling/behaving embarrassed and explaining myself which just gives them carte blanche to think they're justified in putting people on the spot!

claig Sat 19-Oct-13 22:17:41

I am a Scorpio, so I don't forget.

What tends to happen is the first time someone does that to me, it takes me by surprise and I am too polite to react. But, as a Scorpio, the sting is prepared, and the next time they try it, I am well prepared and they feel the sting.

claig Sat 19-Oct-13 22:18:49

What star sign are you? Are you a water sign?

Pusspuss1 Sat 19-Oct-13 22:19:21

Very irritating! Suggest pointing out that they say empty vessels make the most sound...

P.S. I think the eejit probably fancies you!

ZangelbertBingeldac Sat 19-Oct-13 22:21:45

He was rude.

I'm a pretty outgoing person, and will chat to lots of people, though it takes me a while to feel confident with them - but I tend to fake it til I make it, I guess.

One of the other Mums at my DC school who I have known for a few years is just as you describe yourself - polite, friendly, warm, not loud, but very definitely friendly and lovely to be around.

She is one of my favourite people in the playground - very sweet and very genuine, I would love to get to know her better, actually.

I envy people like you who can come across with as very warm and friendly, without being a gobshite or putting your foot in it as I frequently do.

Nothing wrong with being quiet at all, you sound lovely smile

YouTheCat Sat 19-Oct-13 22:25:51

OP, are you me? grin

I'm quiet and get comments sometimes.

MomentForLife Sat 19-Oct-13 22:29:16

How rude of him. Absolutely nothing wrong wih being quiet. I'm quiet, not really shy. I just prefer to people watch and will happily chat to people when I feel like it.

Iaintdunnuffink Sat 19-Oct-13 22:56:13


I'm internally confident and not shy but like to be quiet. I like a laugh, enjoy being very silly and have a chat but want lots of down time in between. People who feel the need to point out that I'm being quiet grate on me.

One of the line managers I sit near often pisses me off. Most of his staff are temps and he's always tutting if they talk, he spends a good part of every day huffing about general noise in the office. He doesn't talk to his temps, or bother to find out anything about them. Then suddeny he'll trap people into some inane conversation, that's all about him.

The level we're talking about is ; showing everyone pictures of his daughters car. After talking and laughing, loudly, and at length, he'll remark how quiet every one is.

WyrdSista Sat 19-Oct-13 22:59:35


It's so unhelpful. Because there I was, thinking I was all loud hmm

I tend to get quieter because I get embarrassed if someone says I'm quiet. So it really doesn't help.

wickeddevil Sat 19-Oct-13 23:03:10

Quote I am stealing that line. Thank you. wine

Permanentlyexhausted Sat 19-Oct-13 23:10:17


I'm just about to start reading Susan Cain's Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking which I hope will help me view my 'quietness' in a more positive light.

Gretagumbo Sat 19-Oct-13 23:21:00

I'm not quiet yet have often had this said to me by patronising loud speaker types with poor social skills that mean they don't stop to listen.
I usually come back with - I couldn't get a word in edge ways.

Goofymum Sun 20-Oct-13 00:32:30

I am reassured by the many people on here that have the same issue. I also have always been quiet. I can't stand it when people remark on it. It takes me back to my teenage years when I was picked on for being quiet. I think others thought it meant I was boring or a weak person. People who don't have this issue have no idea how a remark can really hurt and make you clam up even more. I don't understand why some people have to remark on other's personality. It's just judgemental and rude.

YouTheCat Sun 20-Oct-13 00:39:13

Sometimes it makes you want to comment back 'yes, and you're such a gobshite' grin

JadziaBats Sun 20-Oct-13 00:44:14

How rude of him!

I get that too - my usual answer is a smile and "You know what they say, it's always the quiet ones that they need to watch", then this expression hmm.

BlueJess Sun 20-Oct-13 01:07:41

OP I'm sorry that happened to you, that was a very rude and hurtful thing to say.You are absolutely right it's completely unnecessary to comment on someone else's personality.

I'm very chatty. Just naturally very chatty. It is regularly commented on, often quite hurtfully. It embarrasses me and I find myself the punchline of jokes. Now I make as much effort to be quieter as others on this thread say they do to speak a bit more, but it's very hard to go against your basic nature.

I'm only driven to post because Mumsnet quite often has these kind of threads and as with this one there are a number of rude comments about 'loud' people and how awful they are.

Just thought I'd offer a different perspective.

Mymumsfurcoat Sun 20-Oct-13 01:14:32

Great line, Quote smile

AmIthatHot Sun 20-Oct-13 01:15:16

See, I would say "Sorry, what did you say" and then sit back and watch the twat repeating his pointless comment

Guaranteed who will be thought the worse of

Lazysuzanne Sun 20-Oct-13 01:19:17

I guess any kind of personal observation of the you're very quiet/talkative/short/tall variety can be a bit of a conversation killer, are they expecting you to provide some explanation or justification for whatever it is? hmm

one can always reply with a terse, 'ten out of ten for observation'

Viviennemary Sun 20-Oct-13 01:30:42

I don't think it's acceptable or even very polite for your colleagues to remark on how quiet you are. I'm not quiet but I don't usually like loud brash centre of the party types. But it takes all sorts.

Catchhimatwhat Sun 20-Oct-13 02:26:39

I simply reply "Yes I am" and smile.

I'm proud of being quiet. I like it. I feel I am a peaceful soul and if anyone thinks they are going to make me feel any discomfort by pointing out an aspect of my nature I am well aware of, they soon discover they are wrong.

TheNunsOfGavarone Sun 20-Oct-13 02:28:51

OP I feel your pain.

I tend to be quite reserved when in new situations and among new groups of people. I don't feel precisely nervous, it's just that I seem to like observing and feeling my way in gradually. Most people don't mind at all but some have a problem with it.

The mother of a one-time boyfriend made a huge fuss about it after I failed to make enough noise when I came to Sunday lunch for the first time. I got up to go to the loo and the old cow said to the table at large "does Nuns know where the loo is, we'd better tell her, she'll be too shy to ask". She made several other remarks along those lines and I went from feeling perfectly (if quietly!) happy to feeling angry, awkward and embarrassed.

It's cropped up again recently with a woman I volunteer with at an historic site. The comments she makes about my quietness are so tiresome and stupid and next time she starts up I'm just telling her I think it's rude; that I don't like it and I've had enough.

WyrdSista Sun 20-Oct-13 08:53:12

I remember when I was a teen (an quiet), I'd get 'gentle' jokes from my best friends (they were really lovely apart from that, and didn't see what they were doing kind of). Every now and then, a classmate would be walking along with me and theyd ALWAYS ask why I was so quiet. It made me feel very embarrassed and nervous, and it made me feel awkward and my self esteem just dropped. I was quite happy in being quiet until that sort of age, and then I really, really hated being quiet and being me. hmm

Beastofburden Sun 20-Oct-13 08:55:46

Another vote for the Susan Cain book.

OP you used a couple of American phrases- are you posting from the US? If so, you have a harder problem than me, in introverted old England. The Susan Cian book is v interesting on what it is like to go Harvard Business School as an introvert.

He was rude, a bit drunk, and probably fancies you.

moanalot Sun 20-Oct-13 10:43:28

I have had to put up with similar comments, throughout my life really. All through childhood I struggled so much, other kids in the playground all making friends so easily and I'd stand alone wondering what the big secret was to being able to relax and join in, then when I'd make friends with someone I'd be so frightened of losing them for fear of being alone again. This went on into the workplace, the ordeal of new people who all seemed so confident and the dread of when one of the louder ones would draw attention to be by commentating on my quietness. Sometimes I'd try to have a ready answer to shoot them down with but I was usually just too afraid. I've always found it such a huge millstone round my neck. I'm not as bad as I was now and can cope with most situations but still get that awful churning feeling if going into a situation I'm not happy with. If only the loud confident ones realised how much it crushes you to have to hear how quiet you are broadcast for the world to hear. They can say these things and then move on but your then left devasted, especially when you think you've been doing ok.

I like " my mother always said if I have nothing good to say, to say nothing"
Then stare pointedly at the loudmouth twat.

Lazysuzanne Sun 20-Oct-13 11:13:03

Or just say 'yes...and?'

EverythingUnderControl Sun 20-Oct-13 11:27:46

I've had this all my life and dd gets it toohmm We don't all have or (desire to have) a loud mouth.

Unfortunately now more than ever in our sleb/X Factor driven culture we live in an age where being loud and centre stage is seen as a positive. The only thing way to 'be'. And those of us not cut out that way are derided for it.

Lazysuzanne Sun 20-Oct-13 11:30:51

Who cares
I subscribe wholeheartedly to the 'empty vessel' adage grin

sneezecakesmum Sun 20-Oct-13 11:36:28

I've had this all my life. I am a nurse and worked for 9 years in A&E so hardly under confident.

It's a form of bullying.

See it as such and don't let it affect your confidence.

It's someone trying to make themselves look big by making you feel small.

TheNunsOfGavarone Sun 20-Oct-13 11:56:27

Lazysuzanne "yes..... and?" can be very effective. I haven't actually used it when people say I'm quiet or shy though; unfortunately they tend to say it in a slightly more indirect way; it's usually been snide comments "she's too shy to....." etc. However, I've used it to good effect when certain people, unimpressed when I finally do open my mouth, say "eew you're posh".

pertempsnooo Sun 20-Oct-13 11:57:26

Describing someone as 'quiet' generally means you haven't bothered to get to know them. Often said by people who are too lazy/ loudly self obsessed to be truly sociable themselves and feel threatened by someone who appears to think before speaking!
I have been a very quiet person in the past, often when I was depressed in some way. I make no assumptions about others who don't speak much though. I agree it is extremely frustrating to have this word used to describe you as was the case on many of my school reports. It became a kind of insult from my perspective and I felt inadequate.
An employer, when I was 21, told me I should make more effort with her as she was 'very shy'. This was extremely frustrating because she hadn't considered that I was also a quiet person!
It's a shame that quietness can be perceived as aloofness and snootiness.

HootyMcOwlface Sun 20-Oct-13 12:40:33

I'm quiet and I utterly hate people who point it out loudly in a group situation.
I always feel like they're trying to make you look stupid, whilst bigging up how great they are.. Grrr!

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