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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?

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!

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.

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".

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.

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

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

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 11:13:03

Or just say 'yes...and?'

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 20-Oct-13 10:47:14

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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'

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

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

Great line, Quote smile

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Quote I am stealing that line. Thank you. wine

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.

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