They'll default to being quiet because they don't have the skills or mindset needed to act any differently. If you haven't seen it already, I wrote an article about just this topic:.
How To Be Less Quiet And Contribute To Group Conversations
In some cases people can become the quiet one through no fault of their own, because the group is talking at length about a topic they have zero to add to. Another time when it's good to take some initiative is if the other people are talking among themselves, and aren't actively trying to include you. Try to work your way in. There's no rule that says you politely have to wait for someone to directly address you and ask your opinion on something. I'm talking about when, say, two friends are gabbing about a movie and not turning to you to hear your take on it.
Of course, you shouldn't obliviously force yourself into more personal or private discussions. Someone who comes across as withdrawn and tongue tied at a family dinner may be boisterous and confident while playing video games with their friends. Quietness can be dependent on the situation. It tends to pop up if: You're around people who make you uncomfortable, whether because you're meeting them for the first time, because you want them to like you, or because you're normally intimidated by their type.
As I mentioned earlier, when the discussion is generally focused on a subject you don't have much to say about e. Similarly, when you're around people who all know each other well and who are carrying on a conversation full of in-jokes and references to things they've all done in the past, or to mutual friends of theirs you don't know.
It can feel challenging to inject yourself into that dynamic. When you're with a group where everyone is particularly loud and aggressive about fighting for their time to talk. You may decide you can't compete and give up on trying to say anything. When you're with a group of people you feel you can't relate to. They may be enthusiastically discussing a topic you don't respect, or cracking each other up over a bunch of jokes you don't see the humor in. Here it's easy to sit back and think, "Wow, I have nothing to say to these people.
Pat Campbell - Just A Quiet Conversation | Releases | Discogs
Do they really find this stuff fun to talk about? In some cases you may be in a spot where anyone would be quiet if they were in your shoes. Each of these scenarios has different solutions, which I may have covered in this article, or in the one I linked to earlier about being able to think of more things to say.
You can't win them all. It's not rare for people to be quiet occasionally, especially around a new group. For some traits it's hard to erase a first impression, but coming off as quiet isn't one of them. People instinctively understand that some of us are bit slow to warm up to new company. If you're more chatty when they see you again they'll realize you're not meek or unfriendly like they may have first assumed, and that you're actually pretty interesting to have around.
We've all heard of the character who doesn't speak much, but when they do say something everyone listens, because they're so profound and wise. This archetype appeals to some quiet people, because it promises that if they can become like that they won't have to talk a lot, but still be respected.
I don't think it's a very practical approach. It isn't appropriate in most contexts. If a bunch of friends are joking around in a mall's food court, they don't want one of them to be tight-lipped and sagely. They want someone who will be fun and contribute. Also, you'll probably put too much pressure on yourself if you try to make everything you say really perceptive. Hardly anyone can be clever all the time, and if you try to force it you'll look like you're trying too hard. It can be annoying, and sometimes demoralizing, when you someone points out that you're quiet.
Many people wonder what the best way to respond is, so I wrote a short article about it:. I'm Chris Macleod. I've been writing about social skills for over ten years. I was shy, awkward, and lonely until my mid-twenties and created this site to be the kind of guide I wish I'd had at the time.
I'm trained as a counselor. There's a lot you can do to improve your social skills on your own - I wouldn't have made this site if I thought otherwise. Though if you'd like some in-depth, personalized help, I'm available:. Succeed Socially A free guide to getting past social awkwardness. Article continues below SPONSORED Free training: "How to double your social confidence in 5 minutes" On the link below you'll find a training series focused on how to feel at ease socially, even if you tend to overthink today.
About the author I'm Chris Macleod. One-on-one support There's a lot you can do to improve your social skills on your own - I wouldn't have made this site if I thought otherwise. Though if you'd like some in-depth, personalized help, I'm available: Individual Counseling - Learn More. Making Friends. Improving Your Overall Personality.
It was — so there would be awkward things.
I screwed with him once, at this conference that he mentioned. I knew that he was doing it, he was organizing it. My entire family was there. Black: Well, it was a seminar that I had founded the year before in response to being outed at New College. I had been very uncomfortable with the fact that so many people at this college really detested what I was representing, even though I thought it was super-correct. So in response to that, the first year, I had organized this seminar up in the mountains of Tennessee, where people, where a small group would come together, and we would talk about the best ways to argue with anti-racists and to convince people that white nationalism is correct.
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And this was a year later, after that initial one, and I was a lot less certain of what I believed, and I was going back to it for…. Tippett: So what happened is that you never made — the Shabbat dinners never became conversations about white nationalism.
I feel like you all — you handled this so well, and feels like the campus handled it well. Tippett: And you knew each other well enough that they could actually say it to you that way. It was not that I had to make my points and try to get some converts; it was that I trusted this person. I liked this person. I respected this person. I entered it thinking that I was just talking to a friend, and then, a couple years later, came out the other end, realizing that everything I believed about human nature was totally incorrect, and what do I do about this now?
You were actually able to listen to a different way of seeing even those arguments that felt so clear to you. Black: I wanted to be someone who used evidence and believed something because it was demonstrable, not because it was some gut feeling. And what do I do about my identity and my family? And my future is all tied up in that that was true, and I needed to be active for it. I just wanted to disappear and never speak again, but it was a whole other conversation where I decided — with the same person, I decided I need to make a letter, denouncing this.
And it was one last hard thing to realize that I had done too much damage in my activism to just be quiet now. Tippett: If you like listening to this kind of conversation, consider subscribing to On Being on Apple Podcasts. It will help other people find the show. I love hearing from you. Derek Black grew up the heir apparent of a leading white nationalist family.
David Duke was his godfather. And I want you to talk about that. So — but I would like to hear about how you are thinking, these days, about this line between civility and outrage and activism. The context for those conversations was that an entire community of people that I had gotten to know for a semester before they knew who I was, and who I respected, clearly had come to a very intelligent conclusion that what I was advocating was morally wrong, was factually wrong.
Black: But that context was just as important as the private conversations. I was not personally engaged in any violent movement; all I had done was go to hotel conferences and wear name badges and go to banquets and talk about race difference.
Give yourself permission to be quiet
And do you think you — without those quiet conversations, would the outrage alone have brought you around? Black: No; the outrage alone would have made me a more firm adherent to being a white nationalist. Stevenson: I think, from my perspective, every message really has two components. And there is a difference between being aggressive and being strong. Where does it end? So to be strong, no question, is important. But there is a difference between being strong and violating the humanity of another person. Even at home, when — I lived in South Florida; it was a fairly urban, diverse place.
And even in that environment, when I was away from the house I could get support for white nationalism.
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And they just, on some level, thought that I was doing something good; that I was opposing political correctness and standing up for white people when everybody else gets stood up for. And they were just normal people. And that kind of positive reaction was very encouraging. And at New College, there was none of that. Tippett: Right. Tippett: Are there things you learned that you carry with you through the world that you find help you soften other kinds of experiences? Black: No, the world outside of where I came from.
I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what it means to have grown up confident in a belief system that, at one particular breaking moment in life, I decided had not only been incorrect but destructive. And how do I know that the words that I choose and the places that I go are not going to be destructive like they once were?
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And the background and the life that led me to stand there is still very difficult for me to reconcile and say, how did I get here, and what does it mean? Stevenson: I think that, for me, from a very early age, my mom was very involved in AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. There is always a chance for redemption. Black: Keep in mind that I come at my answer from the perspective of somebody who tried to be a good white nationalist and to be a very active voice in that, and so my experience involves having a rolodex of media people that I wanted to send an email to if I thought that there was something we were doing that should be story-worthy.
Black: And then we all talk about it for a while.
And looking at that dynamic happen, and realizing how easy that is and how low-cost that is, makes me quite uncomfortable. And what changed was feeling that people who were not in my in-group were being negatively impacted by my actions and that I should care about that. Tippett: And that has very practical implications for everybody. I will say, something that impressed me that seems to have gone on with the two of you, and at New College, is that while a lot of things happen online, many people, at different stages, took it offline.
I think that the — one of, of course, the great advantages of the digital world is that you can reach so many people instantaneously. One of the great advantages of not being online, though; of having a face-to-face connection, or, even if online, a one-on-one, a personal connection, is that it fosters the kind of empathy that Derek was describing.
The other person is not just words on a screen. Tippett: So let me ask you this question as we finish, another question that is far too large, so, whatever, wherever you want to begin it. Stevenson: Sure. But there is certainly a tendency, I think, increasing trend to only associating with people who agree with you, who have the same worldview, have the same opinions as you.
And that led us to think that we were not only right, but that with time, everybody would see that we were right, and agree. And then I left. And for a while, I thought that we had clearly been completely wrong, because the world is moving towards becoming more inclusive. And then I got a little bit more despair, thinking maybe they were right, because there are places where a white nationalist argument finds ground among good, smart people. People do want inclusion; they do want to make a fair society. And it starts with our own beliefs and our own assumptions.
Tippett: Thank you so much, Derek and Matthew, for modeling that, this deliberative friendship and this willingness and this courage to be bridge people. You have so much to teach us. Thank you so much. Thank you for having us. Learn more at civilconversationsproject. And the last voice you hear, singing our final credits in each show, is hip-hop artist Lizzo.
The Fetzer Institute, helping to build the spiritual foundation for a loving world. Find them at fetzer. Kalliopeia Foundation, working to create a future where universal spiritual values form the foundation of how we care for our common home. Humanity United, advancing human dignity at home and around the world. Find out more at humanityunited.
With mathematician Jim Bradley and philosopher Michael Ruse, we trace a quieter evolution of science and religion in interplay — not a matter of competing answers, but of complementary questions with room for humanity, nuance, and humor. New Here? New to On Being? Start Here. Welcome to our new digital home. Part of the Civil Conversations Project. Tippett: You two knew each other, right? Were you in the same dormitory?
Tippett: Really. Stevenson: Always a softball topic. Black: In what way? Tippett: Would you think of hate as being what it was about?