Thought Catalog

5 Things You Can Do To Make A Quiet Person Feel Bad

  • 0

1. Ask the quiet person why he’s so quiet

Asking a quiet person why he’s so quiet is probably the easiest and most effective way of making him feel bad. “Why are you so quiet,” you’ll ask, a vaguely amused and curious expression on your face, as if the quiet person was merely a cute child serving as amusement for a group of inquisitive adults. “Uh…” the quiet person will stammer, failing to make eye contact, and most likely noticing that he’s failing to make eye contact. “I don’t know. Am I quiet? I’m just this way…” Here follows from the quiet person a string of mumbling not discernable to the listener.

The problem with asking a quiet person why he’s so quiet is multifaceted: a) because severe quietude in social situations runs counter to public convention, it’s not unreasonable for the typical quiet person to be at least somewhat embarrassed for his quietness; as such, by asking why he’s so quiet, you’re essentially asking him: “why aren’t you normal?,” and b) because quiet people generally wish to speak only when they feel they have something important to say, responding to the sudden question of why they’re so quiet (to which they never have a comprehensive answer) is both unsettling and difficult to do. So – if you want to make a quiet person feel bad – start with this one simple question.

2. Repeatedly ask the quiet person if they’re upset about something and/or if she’s ok. When she assures you she’s ok, respond: “Really? Are you sure? You’re just being so quiet.”

Repeatedly asking a quiet person if she’s upset and/ or if she’s “ok” will elicit more or less the same bad feelings of low self-worth and social discomfort as asking a quiet person why she’s so quiet. However, this line of questioning differs in that it adds an element of repeated annoyance and growing anxiety to the quiet person’s emotional equation. Use this strategy if you want to be rid of the quiet person quickly, as her discomfort will grow so rapidly that she’ll feel almost forced to extricate herself from the situation.

3. Introduce the quiet person to a group as a “quiet person” or by saying, “he’s really quiet.”

By introducing the quiet person to a group as a “quiet person” – or by telling the group that the quiet person is “really quiet” – the quiet person is instantly a) categorized without having input, perhaps ruining any chance of making their own first impression and b) denied the option of being seen as a normal social individual, in the case that today is one of the days that the quiet person was planning on trying to enhance his conversational output to “normal.” On top of making the quiet person feel bad, this strategy doubly serves to isolate the quiet person from the group, as humans are generally more likely to desire bonding with those who display characteristics of being open to communication and sharing; it also gives you bonus points for being an inconsiderate dick.

4. In group conversation, stop the conversation to ask for the quiet person’s input

In a large conversation, quiet people are quiet because a) they think everyone in the conversation is an asshole, b) they don’t know anything about the topic at hand and thus would rather let those who appear or pretend to know about the topic at hand do the talking, c) they’re not interested in the conversation, or d) they don’t have anything to say. As such, when you stop conversation to ask for the quiet person’s input, you’re just forcing her to do something she doesn’t want to do while all eyes are upon her. If any type of person talks only when she feels she has something important to say, it’s the quiet person. Therefore, stopping the conversation to ask for the quiet person’s input is an excellent strategy for making the quiet person feel bad.

5. Make fun of the quiet person for being “so serious,” then tell him to “lighten up”

If there’s one question quiet people get all the time, it’s: “Why are you so serious?” There’s possibly nothing more frustrating to the quiet person, who’s simply minding his own business – not bothering anyone – than being assaulted with the sudden accusation that he is being “really serious” and that he needs to “lighten up” because “life’s too short to be moping around all the time” or something. This type of questioning is sure to put you at odds with the quiet person and generally create an uncomfortable situation you both want to get out of. TC mark

image – Fir0002

More from Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog Videos


    • guest

      lol

      • Hiba

        Well, the author himself seems quiet and awkward. Shame on you. Are these your ethics of dealing with people?

    • JEN

      LOL true

    • http://twitter.com/fluteattack Allison Selig

      Laughed so hard. Nothing has ever been more accurate.

    • Dodong

      So mean. Hahaha

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=40304029 André Gooren

      I like how you alternate between male and female pronouns. #inclusive

    • JJ

      I love this, Brandon. #5 is the absolute worst. I f'ing HATE it when people ask me “you're so quiet. What's the matter?” or, “come on, dance, don't just stand there!” (if I'm at a bar). It makes me so uncomfortable. Mostly, it's always acquaintances or people I don't know very well who ask this. My close friends (bless them) know and accept my shyness/quietness for what it is.

    • http://twitter.com/FLYamSAM Denden

      #4 hurts more than being asked if you're gay…

    • thedailyawe

      As a quiet person, I can definitely appreciate this. Thank you!

    • guest

      Before I read Thought Catalog, I always wanted to be a mean-spirited, generally obnoxious person, but I had no idea how to go about doing so. Now I have a guidebook for doing so with gusto. Thanks, Thought Catalog! The world really needs to hear more things like this.

    • http://twitter.com/Sscottie Scott Lewis

      why do people do these things?

      • xra

        monkey social dynamics

        • http://maaaaaan.tumblr.com/ wackomet

          oh, that's your answer for everything

        • xra

          sweet

        • guest

          sweet

        • guest

          sweet

        • Restless_gypsy

          Sour

    • Jordan

      I can definitely relate to all of this.  Especially the group conversation which is a vicious cycle.

      I'm not saying anything.  Why am I not saying anything?  Oh man jesus say something.  Now I can't say something, my heart is beating at 120bpm.  Now they think I'm weird or uninterested.  I AM interested, but my mind is blank.  My mind is blank.  My mind is blank.

    • http://twitter.com/caaalebbb Caleb Reidy

      “because quiet people generally wish to speak only when they feel they have something important to say, responding to the sudden question of why they’re so quiet (to which they never have a comprehensive answer) is both unsettling and difficult to do. “

      it is not unsettling and it is not difficult to do. i simply smile and say  “I only wish to speak when I feel I have something [i find] important to say.” very comprehensive… you seem to understand it as well.

    • http://twitter.com/alinatrifan Alina Trifan

      I hate how I totally relate to this.

    • The Clansman

      Most of the stuff I read here are boring garbage, but this is very truthful and it even helped me. I can't tell you how many times people have come up to me asking “Why are you so sad?”. What the fuck? I'm just standing here. Just because I'm not constantly blabbering about boring bullshit like you doesn't mean I'm depressed. It feels great when other people tell me I look sad.

      And the group discussions. Some jackass makes everybody stop, gives me that condescending “I'll help this loser out” -look and says something like “let's hear _______'s thoughts on this”. I'm sorry, I haven't formulated an intelligent idea yet. Neither have any of you, but that doesn't stop you from talking about nothing. I'll start talking when I think of something meaningful to say. Chances are that I'm still the first one to come up with something useful.

      I just read what I wrote and I this makes me sound like such a cocky, arrogant bastard. Many people see quiet people as arrogant, though. Maybe that's what I am.

      • A.

        “It feels great when other people tell me I look sad.” I can't tell if that line is sarcasm or not but it's pretty funny.

        • The Clansman

          It's sarcasm. People might as well throw a giant turd at my face when they say that, because that's what it really feels like.

      • Shay

        Looool… you made me laugh. I even have tears. But this shows doesn’t it… quiet people are soo witty! 

      • DeeJ

        I have dealt with dumb stuff like this my whole life. From “You’re too quiet” to “Why are you so quiet” to “You act depressed” Really, my quiet nature equals depression? I’m just more quiet until I get to know people

    • Mr Shankly

      I spent about half an hour trying to think of a witty, insightful comment to put here, solely so I could wade in the cavalcade of likes and replies which everyone else seems to get, but I got nothing. 
      My sister, sitting across the room from me watching TV, turns to me and says, 'Why the fuck have you been staring motionless at a blank screen for so fucking long?'
      'I don't know', I reply. 

      Because most of the time it's a lot easier to lie than risk boring someone by telling the truth.

      • Mr Shankly

        Oh, and that was supposed to be a witty, insightful metaphor about being a quiet person. It's actually a lot easier to say nothing than to risk embarrassing yourself by lying in an attempt to sound interesting to avoid telling the truth. You know.

      • Guest

        Yes or you could just give a middle ground response that involves telling the half truth in some mysterious “beat around the bush” manner.  Or, just say the truth and if it bores them then who gives a f**k what they think.

    • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

      brb, getting this article tattooed on my LIFE

    • Choad

      What about calling them out when they write a whiny passive-aggressive article? Does that make them feel bad too?

      • Brandon

        yes. i feel terrible now.

      • Guest

        All of these “considerate” questions could rightly be considered passive-aggressive as well. Hmm.

    • Speak up!

      As a non quiet person let me explain a little something here.  If you are quiet and don't give your input, decisions will be made without consideration to your needs.  Asking for your input is a polite way of saying, “I will run your ass over with my personal preferences if you don't speak up with yours”, and sometimes, it means, “I respect you and I'm afraid that you will get drown out in the sea of voices that don't have a problem being vocal so I will give you the floor before the issue is concluded without consideration to you”.  Introducing you as the” quiet person” is sometimes done so because your vocal friend wants people to know how cool you are and doesn't want people to think you're a dick because you're not comfortable being overly vocal- maybe it's not an awesome approach, but maybe you could try interacting a little so YOU don't look like a dick- quiet often reads as arrogant.  People ask you what's wrong, because you don't freaking talk and they'd like to gauge whether it's because you are regularly quiet, or if you're  freaking psychoand about to go all postal on everyone  and since you don't really voice your opinion or feelings, how would they know?  It pretty much sounds like you need padded underwear to keep you from being so butthurt about people trying to be considerate to you.

      • Emke

        I think this article is mostly addressing the frustrations of shy people in a casual social environment. Surely if a “decision needs to be made,” one would be more likely to voice their opinion if there is a sense of immediacy.  But if some asshole who thinks he's my friend ropes me into a asinine conversation, I'm reticent to speak unless I have something valuable/insightful to say.  Many times, it's not about “consideration,” it's merely ineptitude.

      • moo

        As a quiet person let me tell you, if I have something to say, decision-making situations included, I will.
        When it has happened to me that I have been asked for my input, it was usually during everyday discussions where a friend went “WHY DON'T YOU SAY SOMETHING *nudge nudge*” in front of everyone, and the most concise answer I can manage is always “I'm fine with listening, leave me alone”.
        And even if I want to say something and I am too anxious to do so, I'm absolutely fine quietly beating myself up about it; I STILL don't want your help.

        I believe that you mean well, but what a lot of you non-quiet friends don't realise it that it is PATRONISING AS FUCK (caps for emphasis) to assume that I “need help” getting myself heard. I didn't ask for your help.

      • Jordan

        I actually agree with this, even as a shy person.  I can personally attest to relatively minor decisions, things that I may have a preference on but aren't going to ruin my day one way or the other, being made because I may not want to deal with the speaking up and saying “Nah, I'd rather go to this restaurant and not that one.”  Sure you can eat Chinese tonight, but you actually wanted Mexican, but you won't say it.  You won't speak up until the benefits of not doing the minorly inconvenient act outweigh the costs of overcoming the brief social anxiety (like if we're talking Chinese vs live squid).

        And a lot of the examples above could also be attempts to INCLUDE the quiet person, to give them a chance to take part when they otherwise wouldn't or couldn't (more likely).  Of course that actually depends on whether the people making these actions are actually a dick or a genuine person/friend.  Specifically, being introduced as quiet could take the quiet person off the hook by not having to worry about people's perception of their shyness.  No need to rack your brain over conversation input – which lots of people apparently relate to, given my other comment – because the tension has already been released.  Now you can just relax and be yourself and, because of this, be MORE productive in a conversation.  I've never heard of someone else doing it on another's behalf but I've surely done it for myself.

        I've been dealing with being situationally quiet (groups, new people, sober) for most of my life and although things are getting better, it's a topic I've obviously got a lot of thoughts on haha.

      • http://touchofbedlam.tumblr.com Lem

        i actually don't mind it when people ask “what do you want to talk about” because of the reasons you stated. the only reason i might mind it is if we're in a huge group and then suddenly everyone's eyes are on me because their attention was drawn to me suddenly.

    • Alex Porter

      I always like it when someone turns to the quiet person and says, “SHUT UP, (Name)!” when they've said nothing… because they've said nothing.

    • lillylilacs

      6. Introduce the quiet person to a group of quiet people because you assume they will be more comfortable. Not true and now the most awkward and uncomfortable conversation will be attempted.

    • douchegirl

      OMG, I was *super* shy when I was younger and I used to hear everything you just wrote on here. As I got older, I got less and less shy (I don't really know how) and am usually seen talking like a “normal” person. 

      Every now and then though, some asshole will say something like that to someone else and it immediately makes me want to drop kick them. 

    • Monkey Head

      This article is pretty much my life in a nutshell. I find that usually I do not speak much because the topics are not something I'm interested in discussing, know nothing about, or because I think my opinion would offend people.  I guess it says a lot about myself if its always those three reasons :/

    • curt

      have been asked #1 and #2 multiple times, maybe verbatim to what you wrote. nice job.

    • Danielle

      brandon, we can go somewhere and be quiet together ;)

    • Sally Jenkins

      I had vivid memories of the past ~20 years of my life while reading this. Nice one, BBBSSSGGG.

    blog comments powered by Disqus