I may not be the first person to catch your attention. But I sure as hell won’t let you walk all over me just because you have a louder voice.
If you’re a quiet introvert like me, you probably know what it’s like to be underestimated or overlooked. People usually assume that those who don’t frequently raise their voice simply don’t have anything to contribute.
They will assume that calm, quiet people just like to tag along and don’t mind when things are decided for them. They may even think people like me are insecure and a bit boring or not really a great fit for a leadership role.
But let me tell you, they are wrong — about all of it.
Being “quiet” isn’t always fun. When I don’t voice my needs and concerns as loudly as others do, it’s easier for people to ignore them. And since, in our current society, the true power of introverts is rarely acknowledged, we quieter types might have a hard time recognizing our own strengths.
So, for the sake of us “quiet ones,” here are four things that people need to know about me as a quiet introvert — and that you may recognize in yourself, too.
4 Things People Need to Know About Me as a Quiet Introvert
1. Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion.
For me as a quiet introvert, group settings and noisy environments can be really draining. With all the stimuli present, it’s not easy to keep my focus, and trying to lead a conversation can really exhaust me. This is why, in situations like this, my common strategy is to take the place of the observer.
As an introvert, I like to think before I speak, which means that I probably won’t be the first person in a group to throw my opinion out there. Because of this, people might assume that I’m indifferent to the outcome of the conversation.
But, rest assured, I usually do have an opinion — a very clear one, that is. And when there is a need to speak up, I will certainly do so. For example, whenever racist, sexist, or homophobic comments are being made, I’ll say something.
At a previous workplace, for example, I brought up the topic of using gender-sensitive language in certain texts. I don’t frequently start discussions, but in this case, I did since the topic felt important to me. Although no one shared my opinion, I got positive feedback from my boss for speaking up.
While you may overlook my presence, I am really here. Just because I don’t speak up every single second doesn’t mean that I’m bad at having conversations. I really do enjoy deep talks with friends or even strangers. I love getting to know people — really getting to know them. Like many introverts, meaningful, one-on-one conversations just come easier to me than raucous group discussions.
Plus, because I am not speaking as much as others, I am actually listening to what you are saying instead of just waiting for it to be my turn to speak. I am taking everything in and evaluating whether or not I share your opinion.
2. Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I don’t get sh*t done.
People tend to be surprised when they learn that my quietness doesn’t mean I don’t care about what is being discussed. Oftentimes, people are even more startled when the conversation turns to what I have done or achieved, like moving to Berlin on a whim or becoming a university tutor.
Unfortunately, people like me, who prefer to stay in the background, may even come across as stupid. In reality, we “quiet ones” are usually the opposite of the classic show-offs, and for that, we’re underestimated.
The truth is, I like to spend a lot of time in my head, going over something again and again, before I eventually share it with the outside world. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get anything done.
In fact, as an introvert, I spend less time talking about my goals and more time actually working toward them. While you won’t usually see me striking up conversations at a bar or the latest networking event, I will be at home writing, painting, or reading. We introverts are frequently overlooked, but many of us have natural creative capacities.
Being quiet and introverted has nothing to say about my abilities or lack thereof; it is simply a way of protecting my energy. It’s how I function.
Similarly, just because I don’t usually initiate or lead the conversation doesn’t mean that I lack leadership skills altogether. In fact, introverts make great leaders — because they are able to listen, self-reflect, and be persistent. We do well working alone and are usually empathetic toward coworkers.
3. Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I’m not courageous.
Some people think we “quiet ones” are not as courageous or adventurous as more outgoing people, but I beg to differ. Take solo traveling, for example. As someone who doesn’t mind spending time by myself, packing my backpack and setting out on an adventure is very much up my alley.
After graduating from high school, I decided to follow my desire to travel and take a solo trip through Spain and Portugal for seven weeks (I also partnered up with another woman to travel Morocco).
The nights before my flight, I could barely sleep — I was so nervous. Yes, solo travel can be daunting, but it comes with a lot of advantages, especially for introverts. You get to choose what you do, where you go, and, most importantly, when you want to be by yourself and when you would prefer to have company.
But how come these kinds of things — like solo travel — are not expected from people with a “quiet” nature? Contrary to popular opinion, my quietness doesn’t translate to me being insecure or particularly fearful; I never felt lonely or unsafe on this trip. And I was able to prove to myself that I am indeed capable of finding my own way.
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4. Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I am a pushover.
No, I may not be the first person to catch your attention. Yes, I try to be friendly toward everyone and am not one to start a fight. But I sure as hell will not let you walk all over me just because you happen to have a louder voice.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what is likely to happen when we don’t set healthy boundaries and make ourselves be heard when there is a need to do so. This is easier said than done, in particular when you — like me — are a recovering people-pleaser.
Setting boundaries can consist of things like saying “no” to a task, demanding time and space for yourself, or making it clear that you don’t tolerate certain behavior toward yourself or others.
(Here’s how to set better boundaries when you’re a peace-loving introvert.)
For instance, in high school, there was a girl who liked making not-nice comments about me, in and out of class: She didn’t like the way I dressed or the way I spoke. When I had to give a presentation in class, she criticized me in a mean and non-constructive way. The only way to get her to stop was to stand up to her (as difficult as it was) and clearly voice that what she was doing was not OK.
Self-chosen silence can be very powerful — but there will also be moments when we need to break the silence, uncomfortable as it may be. For me, this is especially the case when people are being treated unfairly.
When it’s necessary, I will speak up: for others and for myself. I do have an opinion and am able to voice it, even if I often choose not to do so. But when I do, you know that I’m serious about what I’m saying:
- Just because I’m calm doesn’t mean I’m weak.
- Just because I don’t speak on every single occasion doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice.
- Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I’m not a force to be reckoned with.
We “quiet ones” can be anything we want to be: leaders, inventors, creators, dreamers, and doers. We are funny, smart, creative, and brave — and strong as hell.
Being quiet allows you to listen and observe, and gives weight to your words and actions. Even though others may not immediately see what’s underneath the surface, it’s important for you to know what you are capable of — not despite being a quiet introvert, but because you are one. Your quietness is a blessing in disguise, so embrace it as your superpower. I know I will.