Why are introverts so quiet?
Every time I hear this question, I chuckle and think about how many of us are actually not that quiet at all.
I think about the phone calls with my introvert sister that go on for so long that the kids come looking for me with pained expressions on their faces, because lunch was supposed to happen 90 minutes ago.
I think about the zoom meets with my introvert friend where we never run out of things to talk about.
I think about my introvert coaching clients who are articulate, insightful, and not shy at all about expressing exactly what’s on their minds.
And yet, we definitely have a reputation for being quiet and that reputation is not entirely undeserved. There are many situations where we do come off as quiet. So quiet that some might think we have nothing to say or that we are afraid to speak up.
But that’s where people get it wrong.
THE REAL REASONS WHY INTROVERTS ARE QUIET
Many of us have lots to say and many of us are not afraid to express ourselves given the right circumstances. The real reason why introverts are so quiet simply comes down to preference. We prefer to stay quiet in certain situations, because…
1. We like to think before we talk.
As opposed to extraverts who prefer to process information by talking things through out loud, introverts prefer to process internally. We think before we talk.
So a lot of times when we are quiet, it’s not that we don’t have anything to say. It’s that we are thinking about the topic of discussion. And in a group setting, the topic will often have changed by the time we’re done thinking! 🙂
2. We’d rather focus than bounce around.
Extraverts like to bounce around and touch on many different topics in conversation, whereas introverts tend to want to stick to a single topic and cover it thoroughly before moving on to something else.
So when extraverts are doing the bounce thing, we know the conversation isn’t going where we want it to go and might just decide to sit it out.
3. We don’t like aggressive communication.
Many extraverts don’t mind being assertive in order to have their voice heard. They are okay with quickly interjecting themselves into a conversation, interrupting, and even talking over others. Even their volume is usually louder. Introverts, on the other hand, are typically not fans of this style of communication. It feels aggressive to us.
Consequently, we’d rather stay quiet than compete with others to have our voice heard.
4. We prefer one-on-one communication.
Whereas extraverts find hanging out in a group setting fun and energizing, introverts prefer one-on-one communications. All the examples of introvert talkativeness I gave in the intro were one-on-one settings. We prefer these settings, because it makes it a lot easier to set the pace for the conversation, pause to process, go deep, and not have to compete with others for attention.
So the vast majority of the time the “quiet” introverts are to be found in group settings. Put us in a one-to-one and you can’t get us to shut up. 🙂
5. It’s just not worth the effort.
Doing things in a way that doesn’t come to you naturally takes effort. For introverts, speaking up without having a chance to reflect first, random chit chat without a focus, and competing for attention takes effort.
And a lot of times, it’s just not worth the energy expenditure to put forth that effort. This is especially true in situations where our values are not at stake and there are other people who clearly have a higher need to express themselves out loud.
In those situations, we’ll just sit back and let those people do the talking, because why bother?
What do you think?
Do you agree with the reasons I listed? Do you have others to add? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂