Some people think I am one of those quiet people.
You know the ones I’m talking about? The kind of people who rarely speak up, who mutter incomprehensibly under their breath and who, when they do talk, barely squeak out a whisper. If anyone notices the quiet person has attempted to speak they can’t hear what’s being said.
“Huh?” serves as the most frequent response a quiet person hears from any and everyone.
Contrast that with the loud people. People who can’t seem to stop talking. Ever. People who feign shock and surprise if told there are other people in the room who have opinions, thoughts, voices. People who find silences, even the briefest of silence required by the intake of a breath between sentences, uncomfortable and unnerving.
Loud people take up all the space in a room, they absorb all the oxygen and leave no room or air for anyone else, quiet or medium people to say anything at all.
I’ll tell you something. The loud people get heard the most, but the quiet ones have most of the real answers.
The trick is getting the words out of the quiet ones.
You can’t just say, “Hey (insert quiet person’s name here) what do YOU think?” That won’t work. Nope. Quiet people need, crave, desire, must have a clear and open runway, a wide berth big enough to land a 747 coming in with a tail wind and ice on the tarmac. Quiet people don’t want interruptions mid sentence. They figure if what they have to say has value, (and it does, believe me,) then patience and attention dang well better be duly paid for the entire span of the answer.
None of this is conscious of course. Observant by nature, quiet people spend their time taking in details, mulling over ideas, seeing the irony, debating the pros and cons and generally becoming wise. That, or they’re slowly drilling a deep mine shaft of too much introspection and self-analysis. But not usually.
Quiet people tend to be deep in a good way, most of the time. Depth of character, depth of knowledge, depth of humor and wit.
Get a quiet person in the right frame of mind, in a small group of listeners and you’ll have a rollicking good time and learn a ton of stuff doing so.
A quiet person will always think they’ve taken up too much time and disclosed way to much personal information. Over-sharing. Yes. That word. They worry about over-sharing, in short they avoid TMI and WTMI (Too Much Information and WAY To Much Information.) Loud people excel at WTMI.
Quiet people do want their voices heard and understood.. One on one is best, but rare. A small group might get a quiet person to peek out from under their force field of silence and observation to actually launch a sentence or two, maybe even let loose a full paragraph. Depends on the group and their willingness to listen.
Don’t confuse a quiet person with a shy person. That’s a common mistake. Shyness slinks about in the shadows and makes every effort to keep a distance, avoids social situations. A quiet person still dives into the center of things, just not verbally.
Albert Einstein, a quiet person, thoughtful and brilliant, said the following:
“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”
For the mathematically inclined that looks like this:
A= x + y + z
A= success; x=work; y=play; z = keeping your mouth shut
Einstein knew a thing or two about quiet people versus loud people. Loud ones don’t have time to think up things as brilliant as the theory of relativity . They’re too busy thinking up their next three sentences. Quiet ones will give you the world changing theories, the life altering insights, the unforgettable perspectives.
If you’re one of those quiet people, I’d encourage you to speak up a bit more. Maybe you need to write in a journal, practice spilling your thoughts onto a page. There’s a bunch of loud people out there who could benefit from what you’ve thought and observed. There’s a bunch of not so loud people who need your perspective and wit.
Be a little crazy. Get loud. Don’t mumble. Get your lungs behind those words and let them be heard.
You’ll be glad you did.