“Why are you so quiet?” “Do you know you’re quiet?” Being a quiet person has a lot of perks but like every thing else it has its downfalls as well. Those darn questions are the first thing that come to my mind.
As an introvert, I often struggle with socializing. It’s not always easy to come up with witty small talk or introduce myself to new people. Sometimes it seems I spend so long figuring out how to word the perfect response the conversation has moved on long before I’m prepared to say what I’m thinking.
Group situations are the worst. I tend to be quiet. It’s not that I don’t care or don’t want to be part of the discussion, I do. The matter is quite simply explained, I’m better at listening than talking. While everyone else is fighting to get their point across I’m listening, observing. Sometimes I see things others don’t. Because I’m not often concerned with preparing the perfect response, I am able to appreciate the conversation for what it is in the moment.
Without fail, group situations always lead to someone telling me I’m too quiet, or worse asking why I’m so quiet. I’ve noticed, sometimes, if you’re quiet, people will confide in you or reveal interesting things they wouldn’t normally. Not talking has a lot of advantages.
But, how is a person supposed to respond to those things? It’s not a question or an invitation to talk. It’s just an awkward and negative comment. No matter how much I try, I feel as though they’re saying, “you’re quiet and it’s weird. what’s wrong with you?”
So I’ve thought long and hard and came up with some responses to that question. Practice them, own them and next time you find your self face-to-face with that dreaded question you’ll have a response no one will forget.
If this sounds like a great post for you, you might also enjoy my list of books every introvert should read.
How to respond when people ask, “why are you so quiet?”
I really like this one, especially if it’s a child who learnt the awful question from their parents. It makes them think and hopefully encourages them to listen a bit better themselves.
“I was raised by librarians.”
We’re you? Maybe, but probably not. Although given the libraries penchant for quiet, this is a great answer. True or not, stupid questions beget stupid answers.
“You can’t plan a murder out loud.”
If they push, tell the you don’t want to risk it becoming ‘premeditated.’
“Does that bother you?”
I love this one because it’s conversational but sprinkled with the perfect amount of passive aggressiveness.
“… you can see me?”
Honestly, I love this one. Especially when people mention my quietness after essentially ignoring me for the entire conversation.
“Only around you”
“You have a keen sense of the obvious.”
Stupid questions and all that. Do they think you don’t know you’re quiet.
This answer isn’t going to make anyone thing you’re anything but awkward. But gosh, I would love to see someone talk their way through that one.
“I know you are but what am I?”
Gets them every time.
“IS THIS BETTER!?!”
Clearly they were referring to the volume of your voice, not the lack of words coming out of your mouth.
“I’m in energy-saving mode.”
This made me laugh.
“What would you like to talk about?”
I have to think if someone were making such an effort to talk to me, they must have a topic in mind.
*Nod* as if considering some new information.
Sometimes it seems like they’re telling you because you don’t already know, doesn’t it?
“I don’t waste words.”
That’s a fair point, isn’t it? So many people simply speak for the sake of speaking.
“Limited word count. Please feed the meter for conversation”
I’ll probably never be brave enough to try this one. But, gosh I want to.
That might be a better response for the movie of my life. But again, I wish could do that.
“I have social anxiety.”
There’s no harm in being honest. Especially if that is the case.
“You are very intrusive.”
They’re stating the obvious, why can’t I? It’s like a not-so-fun game.
“You talk enough for the both of us.”
Best part is, they probably do!
“Thanks for noticing.”
They’re simply stating the obvious, aren’t they?
“It’s the best way to listen.”
Truly, it is. One of the first things I learned as a Social Worker is you can’t listen if you’re focused on figuring out what you’ll say next.
“Talking will get you killed in a place like this.”
It won’t unless you’re in a prison or something. This response is sure to make the other person raise their eyebrows.
“You remember that saying, ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.'”
I’m generally a positive person, but even I usually have some not so nice words for people who put me in a position to say this.
“I don’t like to talk over the voices in my head”
Another one I’d probably never use, but I could see it being effective.
“Just because I don’t talk to you, doesn’t mean I don’t talk.”
Fair point in my opinion.
“Yeah, an abusive household growing up will do that to you”
Again a bit too much truth, or not truth. But this is bound to end the conversation. It might be more difficult to respond to a confession like that than it is to respond to the original question.
“Oh, did you want to talk about the weather?”
That’s pretty much what small talk always becomes isn’t it?
“Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm.”
Isn’t that an interesting way to think about words?
“Not in the bedroom”
This might be misconstrued as a painfully awkward attempt at flirting. If they do, tell them the correct implication is that you snore like a grizzly bear.
“What do you mean? I’ve been talking this whole time. Havent you been listening?”
That’s bound to make them think.
“Because I don’t like talking.”
Shouldn’t need more than that. It’s honest and concise.
“And how does that make you feel?”
Again, let’s turn it back on them. I have no problem putting those people on the spot.
“You clearly haven’t mastered the art of telepathy.”
That’s kinda funny, isn’t it? I’d probably laugh in the middle if I ever tried to say it.
This is most effective if you yell it at them.
“You should try it some time.”
Seriously, they should.
“That’s because I’m not saying very much”
It’s the truth, isn’t it?
Really, what do they expect?
“I’m an introvert. Watch out, it’s contagious.”
I’m sure at least a few people in my social circle would think I was serious. Just might be a blessing in disguise.
“You talk a lot, yet you’re not saying anything.”
Truth be told, that’s probably exactly the case.
“I didn’t want to spoil the moment, so I left that to you.”
Nothing beats a thinly veiled insult.
Obviously there’s nothing to be sorry for, but it’s a response nonetheless.
“Still waters run deep”
Because why not? It’s philosophical and invites about as much conversation as the original remark.
“I treat people how I want them to treat me. I leave them the alone.”
Perhaps a bit passive aggressive, but it’ll get the point across.
What’s your go to response when people ask why you’re so quiet? Surely I’m not the only one who has to deal with that question on what feels like a daily basis.
Have a friend who contstantly gets asked why they’re so quiet? Be sure to share this somewhere they’ll find it.