Understanding the Quiet Child
I was always the quiet child at parties and family gatherings that people often took pity on because they thought that I was bored. And to tell you the truth, I was never actually bored. Just because I sat quietly by myself did not necessarily mean that I was bored or unhappy. In fact, the only things that actually made me uncomfortable were the disapproving glances from random people, or them coming over to make small talk or to introduce me to an even more random person.
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For Introverts, Happiness Comes From Within
As a child, reading books was my favorite thing in the world. I could keep reading and reading for hours on end. If I had a good book and perhaps some cake or cookies to snack on, I truly believed that I was the happiest kid in the world.
When at home, even though my family was always around me, I never really felt the need to talk to them unnecessarily. I was just content that they were there. Although this sometimes led to misunderstandings and arguments, I still believed that they had to accept me for who I was. I could not force myself to be someone I was not.
I was always perfectly happy to just sit by myself and observe the people and things around me. Having one or two best friends was all I needed to be happy. It took a while to get familiar and comfortable with them, but once I was, they were all I needed. I never really felt the need to broaden my social circle.
"Why Are You So Quiet?"
I could never understand why most people saw being quiet as something negative. Maybe it came off as rude or arrogant to some, though I think it would be pretty obvious that this wasn't the case if only they took a minute to observe.
To all the people asking kids and teens, "Why are you so quiet?" or "Why don't you talk and interact more?", you may think that these are harmless questions. However, imagine being asked these questions repeatedly at every single function, party, or school event by endless numbers of people. It's exasperating. Especially when you know that the answer will never change—that's just who you are.
These Questions Are Embarrassing
I can't even count the number of times that I have felt embarrassed or uncomfortable when someone has asked me things along these lines—like it was something to be ashamed of. I would usually just shrug it off with a fake smile, but on the inside, it felt like I was doing something wrong or that I was not normal. It made me uneasy and self-conscious. It is not healthy for children to think this way about themselves, and it brings down whatever little self-confidence they had in the first place.
I don't think that any adult would be too pleased if they were questioned as to why they are too loud or why they talk too much. Although I guess not many people hear this because, even if this were 100% true, the extroverts would think that it is normal and the introverts would just politely walk away.
Accept and Encourage
To put it simply—be accepting. Stop for a moment to think before commenting. Most of the time, it's the things that are said without thinking that end up causing problems and hurting people. Parents usually understand their own kids' needs, but other extroverts rarely do. Don't judge a child and put negative thoughts into his or her mind.
Encourage these children to grow by taking small steps that they are comfortable with, and give them the time that they require to adjust to new things. Introversion is not unusual or wrong; it is just the nature of the person—which highly depends on the surroundings that they are in. They can probably enjoy conversations with their best friend for hours and hours together.
Be Proud of Who You Are
As an adult, I guess I am still pretty much the same, but I do understand that being outgoing is sometimes a necessity, and I try to adapt to the situation. Though, frankly speaking, introversion has no switch that can be turned on or off whenever required. There is always a tendency to shy away from bigger groups, events, parties, etc. However, as long as there are a few people (or even one person) around you whom you are comfortable with and who understand you—well, nothing else matters!
© 2020 Lisha C