A brief note to outgoing people from a relatively quiet person

Hello…is this thing on?

I’m not here today to talk about introversion vs. extroversion. That dead horse has been beat. I want to talk about outgoing people interacting with quiet people. I know plenty of introverts who are outgoing and also plenty of quiet extroverts. So again, this is not about that.

Really, I want to ask a favor rather than pontificate for several paragraphs.

My dear outgoing friends,

I love hearing what you have to say. I enjoy listening to you externally process. I appreciate and look forward to our interaction. I am genuinely interested in what you’re talking about (if we’re not doing small talk, because that’s another story). I’m so glad we get to have interesting and deep conversations together!

That’s why I feel comfortable asking this: can you please take a breath?

I want to have a give and take. I want to have a discussion, as I think you probably do, too. Please don’t think that because I’m not jumping in, I don’t want to say anything. I’m probably just waiting for you to get to a stopping point so I can contribute without feeling awkward or rude. I promise, just because I do not lead conversations doesn’t mean I don’t want to participate. I’m not a wallflower. I just don’t want to interrupt you. I’m not loud. I’m not quite as assertive as you, but I do have things I’d like to say.

If you do choose to wait for me, there might be a very brief awkward silence. It’s OK. You don’t have to fill the silence. If you really want to, you can even ask me a question!

Usually, there are things going on beneath the surface of the Quiet Person that you maybe never imagined. Thoughts, ideas, wheels turning. Some of that will bubble up if you give it an opportunity.

When I think about Quiet People, I always think about my grandfather. He was that stereotype, you know, the person who never says anything unless it’s really worth saying. No extra words, no quips. But when he spoke, everybody listened. He could silence a whole room, every ear craning to hear his low voice. And then he would talk, you never would have known how much he’d been thinking that whole time, or what a wealth of knowledge and insight he had.

I’m not saying all Quiet People are secretly sages and savants. I’m just letting you know that we have a lot more to say than you might think. Ask us about it!

Sincerely,

An internal processor.

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