Being quiet does not mean I’m a bitch. I am not trying to be mean to you by avoiding eye contact, flashing tight smiles, and giving one-word answers. I am intimidated by you. I want to make a good first impression with you. You’re mistaking my attitude as bitchiness, as not giving a damn about you, when really I am placing too much emphasis on your opinion. I am worried about what you think of me and am psyching myself out. I am not trying to offend you. I am trying to befriend you.
Being quiet does not mean I am a snob. Despite what you think, I am not silently judging you. I am not avoiding you out of superiority. I am not convinced I am better than you. I am convinced you are better than me. I am holding myself back from saying anything to you because I am worried about saying the wrong thing. I am worried about looking like an idiot. I am worried about you judging me.
Being quiet does not mean I am rude. Even though I am not contributing to the conversation, I am listening to every word you say. I am paying close attention. I am making sure you are heard. Even when I occasionally glance at my phone, it is not because you are boring me or because I wish I was somewhere else with someone else. It is because I feel awkward about how quiet I am being and need to do something with my hands to keep myself occupied, to create the illusion I have a social life.
Being quiet does not mean I am boring. It does not mean I am dull. It does not mean I have no interest in going to parties or throwing back shots or having a good time. Being quiet in a certain situation does not mean I am quiet all the time. When I am comfortable, when I am in a room with people I trust, I am the loudest person in the room. I never shut up. I act like a completely different person depending on the situation.
Being quiet does not mean I am a pushover. It does not mean you can poke fun at me. It does not mean you have permission to make sarcastic comments about how loud I am being or to ask me why I am so shy in front of a group of people. I am not happy about how quiet I am, either. I wish I was more outgoing. I wish I could jump into conversations on a whim. Everyone already knows I’m quiet. When you point it out, it only makes me more embarrassed. It makes me feel like even more of an outcast.
Being quiet does not mean you should treat me like an annoyance. It does not mean you should treat me like I am invisible. It does not mean you should treat me like I am worth any less than you are.