A.K.A the shy girl, the shy guy, the silent type, the person either no one notices or everyone talks about, the one that causes class-wide silences when asked to read a passage or picked to answer a question, the one that everyone is somewhat afraid of because they never say anything–also known as the introvert.
This is a pretty difficult personality to have. I say this because shyness is often associated with other qualities and terms that are negative–lack of self-esteem, anti-social, self-hating, no friends, et cetera. Sometimes this trait is viewed positively, as we shy people are often modest, nice, and caring, but then that seems to give the incentive to others to take advantage of us, like copying our homework or making us drive people to places, or even convince us to give people money.
Not all introverts are shy people-pleasers, however. There are those of us who are just as confident as extroverts–even as stubborn against doing tasks for others–it’s just that we prefer to spend most of our free time alone. Of course, similar and same negative connotations arise for us who are in fact loners–anti-social, having no (social) life, lack of being in intimate relationships, so on and so forth. But, this is hardly true–in fact, the opposite often exists without people realizing or taking the time to get to know their introverted counterpart.
Quiet people tend to have a lot of acquaintances–and I mean a lot. We don’t even try to acquaint ourselves with strangers, it just happens. For some reason, we attract people for odd and unknown reasons. It could be the aura we portray, or simply because our silence beckons others to come talk to us. Whether it’s in the workplace or out during our leisure time–the rare times we do come out of our homes–people have a knack for staring at us, and sometimes, come talk to us. We become familiars in the workplace when we’ve hardly said anything to anyone.
Perhaps our muted nature is rather attractive; because we live in a world where no one stops talking, it’s a rare treat to find someone who listens more than they speak–willing or not. Thus, positive connotations often come forth with strangers who like talking to us: caring, honest, a great listener, easy to talk to, et cetera.
With family, however, we’re often seen as the black sheep of our relatives. We’re seen as rude, disconcerting, simple, and even mean. Concerned family members tend to ask us why we are the way we are and tend to tell us how to run our lives by being like them. They may tell us to go out more, force us into social events, force friends on us, give us unwelcomed advice on how to talk to people, and how being introverted is generally a bad thing. We’re even mocked and ridiculed in some cases. We’re not locked into our comfort zones, nor do we have a problem talking to people. It’s just we tend to pick people to talk to whom would match our interests as closely as possible. We actually talk quite a bit once we’re comfortable. One thing about being introverted is that we actually think before we speak–not blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.
There have been many successful people who live rather quiet lives. J.K. Rowling, the writer of the famous classic Harry Potter, is very reclusive. Bill Gates is another known example. Surprisingly, even Christina Aguilera identifies as one of the shy ones, despite her extroverted reputation.
We know we’re quiet. We don’t need constant reminders from others. We don’t need to go out and have that perfect social life everyone wants us to have–we’re perfectly happy with the small group of friends we already have that don’t mind our tendencies.
The fact of the matter is, regardless of who you are, what you identify as, what you do in life and how you live it, being yourself has to be the most important thing you can always do, regardless of what anyone says. If someone doesn’t like you the way you are, then there’s no reason to continue a relationship with them–even if they are family. Thanks to the internet, introverts are more social than ever–and just because a lot of us prefer to talk through a screen doesn’t mean we lack a social life. We also go out, but when we want to, not because someone felt they needed to dictate our lives and forced us out of the comfort of our homes. Simply let us be, and how we run our lives is our own business. The best thing you can do is accept us for who we are.