No Personality

I have often been told that I have no personality because I am quiet, shy, and introverted. It takes me quite a while to warm up to and trust new people, therefore I am quiet around them so that I can watch them and see what they’re about. (Sounds creepy, but it’s really not.) I like to get a sense of who people are before I start talking to them or trusting them with stories about my life.

I sometimes get questions along the lines of: “Why are you so quiet? Are you mad? Are you sad?”

Then I want to ask them questions like: “Why are you talking when there’s really nothing to say?”

Does having a big personality mean talking a lot – about nothing at all and to people who really don’t care but are only listening out of polite consideration? Maybe it does.

But honestly… I’m not stupid just because I’m quiet. When I pause for a long time after you ask me a question, it means I’m thinking about what to say – not that I’m staring at you with empty eyes. I’m not the type of person who blurts out the first thing that comes to mind.

I apologize for the rant, but this is something I’ve been thinking about lately – how introverts are often misconstrued as sad, angry, stupid, or lacking personality.

I might start quoting this:

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

16 thoughts on “No Personality

  1. Aww . . . you’ve got plenty of personality, Maggie. It shines through loud and clear in your writing. 😀

    I’m an introvert too ~ I recharge by being alone with my thoughts. But, in groups, most people would assume I’m an extrovert because I smile and laugh and twirl about ~ then, as soon as the spotlight is turned off . . . I watch them.

    And, at the end of the evening, I go home and recharge. 😆

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    1. Exactly – around people I’m used to, I can be a pretty big extrovert, but when it’s a new situation or new people, I feel drained by all the human interaction. Thanks, Nancy!

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  2. Ah, Maggie…
    You make so many good points.
    Perhaps it is because I specialize in writing dialogue that I find mindless chatter, well, mindless. I’ve seen people get to gether for an hour and never stop talking. Which in itself, would be fine if information was actually being transferred, but usually it is just the same few ideas over and over. Makes my teeth hurt.
    I find Nancy’s comment interesting, too. I’m also an introvert, but nobody believes me because I lead meetings, and take part in heated conversations. But that only happens when there is a clear place for my contribution. Without it, I find myself unable to speak at all.
    We’re odd folk, writers. But I think we observe on a very high level. ))

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    1. True – if there’s no reason to speak, why bother? That’s been my philosophy. Don’t go throwing words around if there’s no place for them. You might even end up saying something you’ll regret. Thanks, Rik!

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  3. This is heartbreaking. Why can’t other people just let quiet people BE? Like nrhatch, I can pretend in groups, but I need serious quiet time when I get home.

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    1. I know – whenever someone comments about how quiet I am, they’re all like, “What’s wrong with her?” Strange. The next time I see someone talking too much I might have to say, “You haven’t stopped running your mouth in two hours. What’s wrong with you?” Haha!

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  4. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, we live in an age where people reveal and advertise things about themselves at an alarming rate. People respond to emails almost before receiving them, often before reading them, and then have to use that “recall” button. (And don’t get me started on the misuse of “Reply to All.”) Better to think before you speak or post or comment. I start twice as many blog comments as I ever post. Quite often I think better of it in the middle of writing and cancel the whole thing.

    I don’t know if I’m introverted. I used to be a musician and I performed on stage quite often. I’ve conducted training classes with 80-100 people at work.

    But, as you say, I try not to talk if I’m not going to add anything to the conversation. Okay, here’s the boring-old-fart line: That’s not being introverted. When I was growing up, that was called being polite.

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    1. I read everything over a few times before I put it out into the world. Too many people don’t seem to understand the permanence of everything on the Internet – even though it appears that it can be deleted.

      I have to agree with the boring old fart line – politeness seems to have gone out of style these days. Sad.

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      1. I used this generational disparity with a couple of my characters (one in her forties, the other fifteen). As I said:

        “When she and SarahBeth have been together, Tammy has been appalled at the younger woman’s relentless broadcasting of her urges, opinions, humors, desires, and bodily functions to the world.”

        If something annoys you, it’s always good to be able to use that in the writing.

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  5. Reading your post reminded me of this video: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/shorts/the-story-of-a-nice-girl-by-jean-yi.html – Just thought I’d share it.
    I’m the same way, I’m quiet until I really get to know a person or become comfortable with my surroundings. I was voted “Quietest Girl” in middle school and even to this day that still infuriates me. To me, that title just meant they didn’t know me well enough to fit me into a real category. If you don’t flaunt your personality loudly in people’s faces, then they aren’t willing to look for it. Luckily for me, that viewpoint seemed to change in high school and college. As I grew up, people started to see my quietness as intelligence and took more time to get to know me. Of course, that isn’t always the case.

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    1. That video was pretty much the story of my life, lol! I was always known as “smart,” “quiet,” “nice” and “doesn’t she ever talk?”

      “If you don’t flaunt your personality loudly in people’s faces, then they aren’t willing to look for it.” – This is the truth, unfortunately.

      Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂

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  6. I appreciate this, its amazing how people think there’s something wrong with people like us being quiet. Sometimes its better to listen to the people who don’t know when to shut up and keep making fools of themselves, i find it amusing!

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