I have been told that I am SO QUIET a handful of times. It's true. I'm quiet. I dislike most people when I first meet them. They probably dislike me, as well, due to my soundless nature and my officially diagnosed Resting Bitch Face. (It is estimated that 74% of American women have RBF, so educate yourselves, people!) It takes me ages to feel comfortable enough around someone to be my REAL self. Maybe it's in my stars. Maybe it's my upbringing. Maybe I was born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline.
It's not Maybelline. It's me. I was born like this. I was quiet even as I exited my mother's womb. I refused to utter a single cry. Just kidding. I cried like a regular baby, I'm sure. (I don't know for sure.)
So when someone says to me, "Oh my goodness. You are just SO quiet!" my response is this ...
That's it. That's my response. More quiet. Or an unenthusiastic shrug. What can I say?
Oh, that's right! Nothing.
To all of you who don't experience social anxiety even in its mildest form, here's something to think about. It's not nice to say, "You gotta watch out for the quiet ones." It forces the quiet ones to offer up a fake laugh to avoid conflict. It basically gives them one choice: play along with the trope that they are silently brooding and ready to snap at any moment. And let me tell you-- I might just snap if even one more person points out how quiet (read: awkward) I am. And by "snap," I mean abashedly chuckle a bit and agree, "Yea, I know! Everyone says so."
Let me make it clear. Quiet people are not plotting anything sinister. Most of us, at least. We are painfully aware of our inability to make casual conversation. We play out full conversations in our minds as we lay awake in bed, thinking, "Oh, how clever it would have been if I had said this one thing instead." Most of us despise meaningless small talk, but we'd be so grateful if it magically came naturally to us one day.
So please, on behalf of all the quiet people of the world, let us stay in our comfortable chrysalises. Don't prod us with obvious observations about our minimal speech. Don't rush us. Don't force familiarity. Let us slowly unfold our radiant personalities hidden underneath and dazzle you when we are ready. Like beautiful butterflies, we'll emerge fluttering and unroll our super long tongues, and you'll wish we never opened our mouths.
Horror movie idea: quiet people just have really long butterfly tongues, and that's why they hate talking. They don't want anyone to know just how long their tongues are. Tagline: "You'll wish you never asked why they don't talk. It's because they have really long tongues and want to keep it a secret." It's weird. I conclude that it's not a great movie idea.
Together we can put an end to the stigmatization of quiet people. Pledge to be more empathetic. Pledge to not contribute to noise pollution. And the next time you're tempted to ask, "Why are you so quiet?" just take that question and shove it right up your butthole where it belongs. A dark, contemplative place that can teach you a proper lesson. Sometimes all that noise you're making ... is just ... a fart. So stop farting into society. Let us be at peace with one another.