13 March, 2015

Quiet

People have very strange attitudes. One of the strangest, I think, is the attitude that people have towards others who are "quiet" or "reserved" or "don't talk much".

To be quiet seems to be construed as a negative thing. Someone who is quiet frequently attracts comments such as: "Are you alright? Only you seem to be so quiet." Interestingly, no one passes comment on  someone who is super-loud. I've never, for example, heard the following: "You're just so loud. Is there something the matter with you?" Or even: "Could you just be quiet for a moment, so that the rest of us can hear ourselves think." The implication, then, is that loud is normal; quiet is abnormal. Loud is good; quiet is bad.

I couldn't agree with this less. My experience is that people who are quiet are far better observers than those who never pipe down; they have a far better sense of what is going on around them; and they are far better judges of people because they actually take the time to listen to what others are saying. You can also be sure that if a quiet person does have something to say, it will be something worth listening to.

Furthermore, in my experience, being quiet has nothing whatsoever to do with lack of confidence. In fact, those people who are quiet are often the most self-confident, steely and determined of people. They are happy with who they are, don't feel the need to hide behind a barrage of meaningless words, and have the strength of character to tackle difficult situations calmly and with dignity.

Rather than denigrating the quality of quietness, we should, in my opinion, be lauding it. We have a lot to learn from such people.

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