The Quiet Ones

I wasn’t always a shy, quiet kid. In fact, I was much more of an extrovert in my childhood days than I am now. I don’t know when this social-butterfly-turn-abominable-hermit turning point of my life took place, but what I do know is how huge a turning point it was in my life.

I am scared of people. Of strangers and large crowds. Especially superior people who make me lose self-esteem. There are two kinds of situations in which I deal with meeting strangers/people I don’t know well differently:

  • Situation A: The person is someone I dislike and do not want to talk to. I ignore and avoid them. Unless I am unfortunately coerced into talking, then I start to stutter and my voice comes out all funny.
  • Situation B: The person is someone I like and want to talk to. I start to panic and avoid eye contact at all costs. All sorts of thoughts start to circulate in my mind, most of them imaginary conversation starters which I never have the guts to spill. Basically, I have this general ‘script’ of our imaginary conversation, but most of the time the other person doesn’t go along with his/her lines in my ‘script’ and this results in another panic attack. Either that or an awkward silence. Depending on the situation, I will either keep quiet from that moment onwards or attempt a feeble joke/comment which mostly results in another awkward silence yet again. If the situation persists, I shut up completely and torture myself endlessly for the next hour or two in my head.

If everything else fails, I just smile and pretend everything’s alright. I am pretty sure if everyone could hear my thoughts, they wouldn’t hear me shut up at all.

It’s not like I don’t try at all, because I do, I always do. I always start off by being optimistic, constantly reminding myself, “Michelle, don’t just keep quiet, remember to say hi.” “Michelle, you could start off by asking her how’s school.” “Michelle, remember to smile.” And these reminders usually work if we start on a conversational topic and I cling onto that one topic for dear life. But most of the time I run out of materials to talk about or in the cases of group conversations, I become irrelevant. Then I start to pay more attention to my surroundings. And so I drift away from the conversation and end up in my own bubble, as always, unless I get hold of a possible remark which I hold on to, until the moment is right and under the pressure of wanting to be sociable I blurt it out. This is a long thought process for me so this happens only once in a few minutes, or none at all.

Generally, this is Michelle the introvert in a nutshell.

I see the world divided into two kinds of people: the extroverts and the introverts. I’ve heard of people wanting to be extroverts but never introverts. This leads me to wonder, is being an introvert really a negative thing? Well I mean, yes, social interactions are problems and whatnot but sometimes, sometimes when I’m not pressured to be sociable, I enjoy silence. I can be among a group of people and choose to be silent because that’s what I prefer to be. But apparently everyone thinks more highly of extroverted people so we introverts strive to be more socially outwards but as a strong believer of naturality, I believe no one should ever change themselves because they are made to be the way they are, and changing and altering themselves is just wrong because I think the people of this world are horribly tainted, and that is just wrong. We introverts deserve a place in this world too, and we deserve to be heard, if not verbally then through words or paintings or other creative illustrations.

I find this post very difficult to write. Maybe it’s because I am contradicting myself with every word I spew out or maybe it’s because it’s already 1:30AM and this gastritis is killing me.

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Author: Michelle Teoh

23-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

3 thoughts on “The Quiet Ones”

  1. Hi Michelle,
    Picked up a link to your post via the Pingback above – I too am an introvert, but I bet I’m older than you, and I’ve had lots of time to think about being an introvert, and now I feel comfortable with that title. although I think our culture has warped it with too much negativity. I choose instead to call it, being introspective. And here’s my short list of what’s right with being an introspective person.
    * You spend more time getting to know yourself – this eventually leads to being comfortable with yourself, and being honest about and with yourself. Do not discount this ability, for this is the path to good mental health, and to building a good self image. The majority of the world’s population has no idea how to do this – count yourself lucky.
    * You tend to think things out – therefore you’ll be seen as a good decision maker, because good decisions most often result from weighing your options – and this takes time – most of the world thinks good decisions are fast decisions, but they’re wrong.
    * You tend to be an effective worker, because you don’t like to waste time.
    * You may not have hundreds of friends, but those you have are ‘good” friends, and therefore more valuable to you.
    * You sleep well, and are less likely to be bothered by stress than are your co-workers.
    * You are good company for yourself – most of the world cannot say this.

    doc

    1. Hello there.
      Thank you for the words of advice. I personally think that there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, but it’s hard for an introverted person to survive and thrive in this extroverted world. It just seems unfair that one should change who he or she is just to please society. And people always seem to have negative perspectives towards introverts. I haven’t gotten myself to be comfortable with my own personality just yet, but I’m trying not to be influenced too strongly by society.

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