Sunday, 20 March 2016

MANDA: IT'S OK TO BE QUIET!

Reader Manda has some very wise words on being an introvert teen...  a must-read!


Manda says:
Friendly reminder to all those this may concern: it's OK to be quiet. It's OK not to talk all the time. You know why I'm saying this? Because I didn't hear it nearly enough growing up. I'm eighteen and I am only just realising in the last year or two that this is OK, that I don't actually need to change. All my life, people have been asking me, 'Why don't you talk more?' 'Are you shy?' 'You're very quiet...' (Why thank you, Captain Obvious, I would never have noticed!) Well, I don't blame them. Most of them meant well... they probably just wanted me to join in more, or get to know me better. Maybe they genuinely couldn't understand why someone might not want to talk all the time. I didn't really see it as peer pressure. To me, it didn't feel like actually changing who I was, just learning to express myself better, to 'come out of my shell' as everyone put it, gain confidence in myself. It was more like an extension of myself, a better version of the same person I already was.

And in a way I was right. Part of it is natural. As I get older I am growing more comfortable with myself and others, with hearing my voice, my accent, accepting that I won't always be heard or paid attention to. That's OK, and you know who I've got to thank most of all? Not the people who told me I needed to talk and socialise, but those who accepted and included me for who I already was. That's why I want to stress what others don't stress enough... it's OK. If you can answer people when they speak to you and hold some kind of conversation, if you can speak when it's necessary and valuable to do so, you're already doing great. That's all you really need in life. And if you struggle even with that, that's OK too. Things will get better.

The point is, it's OK not to like talking to strangers, not to like talking loudly, not to feel comfortable shouting over seven other people to be heard. It's OK not to talk so much you end up talking about nothing, or worse, bitching about other people because there's nothing of substance left to talk about. It's Ok to sometimes be ignored or forgotten because there will always be someone talking louder... the people ignoring you might just be jerks, or they may not even realise they're doing it. Either way, it's their loss, not yours. It's OK to worry that you're not funny enough or interesting enough, to think 'They'd want to be friends with me if I could be more spontaneous...' People will always be drawn to the crazy, entertaining ones - we love to laugh, be entertained, surprised. But it's OK not to be that person ALL the time, because we all have the potential to be, even if we don't show it, or don't know how.

Somehow, if you're anything like me, you WILL meet amazing people who see past that top layer, acknowledge you as a multi dimensional human being rather than forever stereotyping you as the 'quiet' one. They'll make an effort, take a second glance and accept you for whatever you are and include you in their personal circle. And you know what the irony is? Those people who don't care about your 'interesting' side are more likely to see it than the ones who only want to see that! It's OK to save your loud, funny, crazy, interesting side for the people who actually care about who you are, not who you could one day be. That's the weird thing about confidence - you have to understand that who you are already is OK. Don't EVER let society convince you otherwise.

If even one person reads this and ends up feeling happier about being themselves, I'll be content. And to all my extrovert friends... I love you too. Life wouldn't be the same without you!

Thanks to models Cait and Ana for the photos!

Cathy says:
Wow... love this, Manda! I am introverted too, and wish I'd known as a young teen that that was OK. Are YOU an introvert  or an extrovert? Maybe a mixture of the two? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

2 comments:

  1. I'm an introvert and it always annoyed me when people tried to push me to socialise more, to speak up, to meet new people and spend less time alone. Did they ever consider that I'm alone because I like to be alone? I'm not closing myself off or hiding away, I'm simply taking some time to breathe and relax, away from the pressure of social situations. I am happy to spend time with friends and family but they have to understand that that's not ALL I have to do. Humans aren't one size fits all - just because being extroverted is seen as confidence and introverted seen as low self esteem doesn't mean that's true for everyone. I was actually more extroverted during my more self conscious stages because I was desperately seeking validation that I was funny and interesting and wanted. If I'm more introverted, it's a good sign I'm feeling good and stable in myself. Why change that? It's a good thing!

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  2. butterflyrainbow22 March 2016 at 12:26

    im probably both. I can be loud when im in a comfortable situation like with my bffs but meeting new people im shy and nervous and queit. I dont see this as a problem.Its who i am.

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