[INFP] On being quiet, and does it = shy?

On being quiet, and does it = shy?

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This is a discussion on On being quiet, and does it = shy? within the INFP Forum - The Idealists forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; 'Why are you being so quiet?" I can't count the number of times I am asked that. I think there's ...

  1. #1
    INFP - The Idealists

    On being quiet, and does it = shy?

    'Why are you being so quiet?"
    I can't count the number of times I am asked that. I think there's a good chance most INFP's have been asked that question in the past. I am never quite sure how to respond.

    What bothers me is that people equate being quiet with being a shy person. I have nothing against shyness, but I don't feel like it's an accurate representation of my experience. Merriam webster defines shy as "feeling nervous or uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people". I am usually comfortable around people (unless I have a good reason not to be, such as knowing them to be judgmental) but I am still pretty quiet in groups. I don't like talking unless I feel like I have something I really want to share. I don't want to talk just for the sake of talking. Even on here, I rarely comment and almost never start threads. It's not because I'm not comfortable to. We're all INFP's. We're homies. I just don't often have an urge to share.

    But I understand why that makes people feel frustrated with me. They want to get to know me better and feel that my quietness is an obstacle to that. I appreciate them trying to engage with me, but I often feel stuck. I don't want to speak, especially if I am in a big group, where several conversations are already happening. It's chaotic enough as it is and it's taking everything I have not to feel overwhelmed. Thinking of conversation topics on top of that? I can't. I don't feel like it's shyness that's stopping me, but rather that my resources are turned inwardly, trying to regulate the flow of information I am being bombarded with, and not much energy is left for sharing.

    So here are my questions:

    1) Can anyone relate to being quiet/in your head a lot, but not feeling shy?

    2) If being quiet means that you don't get close to people unless you spend time one on one with them (and that doesn't always happen), should you try to change that about yourself in order to connect with more people? Is it even possible to change? I tell myself I am going to be more talkative in social settings, but then it just doesn't happen. I'll throw in a comment every now and then, but I can't manage talking the whole time. Sometimes, I am even quiet when I am just with one person, but that's due to either me being out of it (I am really not a morning person) or the other person having said something mocking and now I think they might make fun of anything I share.

    Thoughts?
    sensei.of.slow and Jaytheinfp thanked this post.



  2. #2
    INFP - The Idealists

    Well this is what I tell people about myself. I'm quiet because I'm waiting for the people I'm just meeting to react to me as a person. I will admit that I'm a little more than just goofy. Sometimes I'm flat out strange. I have this funky kind of goth couture but that's only one some days because other days I look halfway normal and then on top of that I have an intense obsession with the paranormal and psychological disorders... and I write poetry and draw tattoos when I can and then my feels and it's just too much for some people. Plus I'm a little cynical and I know that I'm just too much for people to handle all at once so I have to wait for them to react to me and for me to slowly ease them into my world. It's a long process and it takes awhile for people to get close to me.

    It's kind of hard actually to get your confidence up. Try working with smaller settings at first, that's what happened with me. I went to a smaller high school and suddenly I broke out of my shell and instead of being 100% introverted, I'm about 50/50, leaning towards introvert most of the time. Try speaking up a lot more around your friends or family, then start branching out a little bit. Say hi to that coworker you see but never really talk to. Make small talk. Soon enough you'll have a lot of acquaintances and sometimes acquaintances can lead to friends, and once you have legitimate friends, talking becomes a LOT easier, trust me.
    Phantomwise and question my existence thanked this post.

  3. #3
    INFP - The Idealists

    @CaptainShawnee

    I really like how you phrased it: slowly easing them into your world :)

    I do find it easier to talk with my current friends, and hopefully, enough trust has been built, that they don't feel insecure whenever I space out and am quiet for a bit. I have to explain to new friends that they shouldn't take it personally. Some days, I have less energy than others and am not as talkative. the other thing is that with every friendship I have, it was the other person who initially pursued me. I am bad at taking the initiative, making small talk, etc. :/. But that's sound advice.
    CaptainShawnee thanked this post.

  4. #4
    INFP - The Idealists

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantomwise View Post
    'Why are you being so quiet?"
    I can't count the number of times I am asked that. I think there's a good chance most INFP's have been asked that question in the past. I am never quite sure how to respond.
    Someone asked me that only a few weeks ago. My response was, "Because silence is peaceful to me." The person was at least willing to acknowledge that it was only her own personal preference for the work area to be busy/noisy, not some universal rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantomwise View Post
    1) Can anyone relate to being quiet/in your head a lot, but not feeling shy?
    Definitely. I'm very rarely shy; talking with people doesn't make me uncomfortable and self conscious. I can get through social interactions just fine and people will say I was friendly, welcoming, etc. Sometimes my initial quietness is mistaken for shyness, but this is usually dispelled easily if we end up talking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantomwise View Post
    2) If being quiet means that you don't get close to people unless you spend time one on one with them (and that doesn't always happen), should you try to change that about yourself in order to connect with more people? Is it even possible to change?
    Hrm, well to the first question: I believe you should make the effort to connect with certain people if they are intriguing and you feel they could be friend (or more) material, yes. To the second, I think you may be able to change, but I don't think it's necessary. Does that make sense? I can go out of my way to talk with someone and be more outgoing, but that's not my "natural" state of being, you know? That's okay, but I also realize sometimes it's more beneficial if I put on my extrovert "mask".

    You haven't really explained why you feel the need to be more talkative in social situations. Throwing in comments now and then is fine - you don't have to burden yourself with always being the center of the conversation. And if it's a crappy time of day for you or the other person is being a jerk, then why would you need to go out of your way for them?
    Phantomwise thanked this post.

  5. #5
    INFP - The Idealists

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantomwise View Post
    @CaptainShawnee

    I really like how you phrased it: slowly easing them into your world :)

    I do find it easier to talk with my current friends, and hopefully, enough trust has been built, that they don't feel insecure whenever I space out and am quiet for a bit. I have to explain to new friends that they shouldn't take it personally. Some days, I have less energy than others and am not as talkative. the other thing is that with every friendship I have, it was the other person who initially pursued me. I am bad at taking the initiative, making small talk, etc. :/. But that's sound advice.
    There's nothing wrong with waiting for the other person to make the initiative. My friendships normally start out the same way because I have this intense "God I hope they don't think I'm annoying" thing and normally I just kind of wait for them to come around hahaha! And some days I have less energy as well. (And I'm also the kind of person that if someone thinks it's weird that I space out or gets offended by it, I just explain that I zone out sometimes and if they make a big deal out of it, I tell them to take a hike or give THEM the weird look... hahaha!)

    Small talk isn't quite as hard as it seems. Comment on the weather! Yeah I know it's kind of like rudimentary but it's my go-to when I have nothing else to say haha!

  6. #6
    INFP - The Idealists

    Quote Originally Posted by Khendjer View Post
    You haven't really explained why you feel the need to be more talkative in social situations. Throwing in comments now and then is fine - you don't have to burden yourself with always being the center of the conversation. And if it's a crappy time of day for you or the other person is being a jerk, then why would you need to go out of your way for them?
    I feel I should be more talkative because so many people have expressed that they wish I would talk more, and some say that they feel like they would like me if they could get to know me better. I guess the few comments now and then aren't cutting it. With those people, I feel like they are genuinely worried that I might be quiet because I am uncomfortable, and I need to keep reassuring them that that's just how I am. I probably should try to connect with them in a less crowded setting. If the other person is being a jerk, then I don't feel like I should be expected to talk to them. But sometimes, they are not consistently a jerk. They have just said one thing that made me retreat into my shell, and then my silence made them feel snubbed and insecure, and they said more slightly offensive things, which made me more silent.. so it's a vicious cycle. Sometimes, with some luck, I manage to break that cycle, and I end up being good friends with those people, and we marvel at how we each thought the other was a jerk at first.
    Khendjer thanked this post.

  7. #7
    INFP - The Idealists

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainShawnee View Post
    I have this intense "God I hope they don't think I'm annoying" thing
    Me Too!!

    It's not that easy to determine how much social interaction is expected, because it's different for everyone. Some people like it if you text them every other day, and others are freaked out by it. I don't want to come on as too intense so I let the other person determine the pace they want (how often to contact).
    CaptainShawnee thanked this post.

  8. #8
    INFJ - The Protectors

    The world needs more quiet and "shy" people. When is the last time anybody said to himself, "It's too quiet in here." or "We need less shy people." ?? We should encourage shyness and quietness. I am quiet, because I am polite. You can't go wrong with being quiet. Shy people don't embarrass themselves and not know it. People talk too much, and they talk too loudly. I love a good conversation, but in public, I keep my conversation as efficient and short as possible.

    I like order and competence. And speed. I am high strung. I hate when people talk, because talking infringes on attention necessary to complete a task. Like I go to a receptionist and it's my turn in line and she is talking to other people, or others are talking to her. Or in a store. That conversation distracts from the task at hand. It makes her lose attention of the task at hand, and makes my stay longer. Shut up, move on, and get out of my way. Talk on your own time.

    Our society kind of thinks that being talkative is being friendly and polite. For me, it is the exact opposite. If you initiate conversation with me, you are being rude. But society has that flipped, people who don't talk are considered rude. I always get shit from people, "Stop talking so much." I am one of the least talkative people I know, but I can talk your ear off if you interest me.
    Kaspa thanked this post.

  9. #9
    INFP - The Idealists

    I can be quiet at times and I'm not shy at all. I'm usually talkative by filling up silence with random unimportant things but sometimes I get caught off guard and stop talking. If people really get to know me, they realize how quiet I am. I think that I never been shy In my life and some say that I am but I never get why.

  10. #10
    INFP - The Idealists

    I definitely see the two as not being the same. I think being quiet is more related to introversion than shyness, although introverts can get gabby on the right topics and perhaps given enough caffeine :P.

    I am both shy & quiet. This is probably extra confusing, because with new people I do feel awkward & unsure of myself, but if I become comfortable I can have moments where I am more animated. But I still am quiet a lot, and then people may think I am in bad mood or uncomfortable. But I'm generally just quiet, even if not feeling shy.
    Phantomwise thanked this post.


 

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