There are some people in the world who seem to talk simply for the pleasure of hearing their own voice.
You know the type, because they will inevitably end up standing behind you in the self-checkout line or sitting beside you at the DMV. These are the people who can go on… and on… and on. And since you can’t (politely) tell Susan to can it about her cousin’s niece’s pet lizard, you end up with the grueling task of listening to Susan’s cousin’s niece’s life story until a self-checkout kiosk finally becomes available.
But that’s okay, because as “the quiet one,” listening is your forte.
It’s not that you don’t have opinions; in fact, there’s probably more swirling around in your head at this very moment than Susan’s experienced all week. But that doesn’t mean you feel the need to share everything that pops into your head with whomever happens to be standing nearby.
There are plenty of reasons why some of us are less verbose than others. Most of the time, the group conversation seems to be doing just fine on its own, and you’re content to simply listen and contemplate what’s being said. And when Loud Larry and Argumentative Andrew are together in the same room, you’re certainly not about to compete for a spot in the conversation. A lot of times, you just want more time to think things through before you’re ready to say anything out loud. After all, speaking is a commitment; once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Every now and then you’re simply intimidated by the people or by the conversation.
And while there’s nothing wrong with it, being the “quiet one” doesn’t always work to your advantage. You’ve noticed that you don’t seem to stand out in a crowd, and sometimes you really need to. People think you have nothing to say just because you’ve chosen not to say it, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. You find it difficult to make friends and develop relationships despite having much to offer, simply because you struggle to express yourself.
But don’t worry– there are steps you can take to stop being the quiet one all the time.
Get Yourself Amped
First, it’s helpful to get yourself hyped up before a situation when you want to be more talkative. I’m not saying to give yourself the full-on jitters, but most of us tend to be more outgoing after a shot of
tequila espresso. Caffeine, loud music, going for a run– figure out what energizes you and work it to your advantage.
For a long time, I struggled to find things to say on dates. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say, it’s just that I was so nervous I could never think of anything at the right moment. But I noticed that if I got myself good and caffeinated and listened to what I (embarrassingly) think of as my “girl power music”– which may or may not include Beyonce– I was inexplicably more confident when I went on dates, and as a result, I was more outgoing and talkative as well.
Respond to Other People’s Comments
One thing to realize when you’re tired of being the quiet one is that being more talkative doesn’t always have to mean bringing up new conversation topics. Often, it can simply mean responding when other people are talking.
- “Oh yeah, I heard about that!”
- “Wow, that’s really cool.”
- “What happened next?”
Interjecting affirmative comments into the conversation is an easy, low-pressure way to instantly appear more talkative. This is a great place to start if you’re nervous about getting involved in the conversation.
Plan Your Conversational Comfort Zones
When you’re trying to become more talkative, it’s helpful to figure out some things you’re comfortable talking about. Whether it’s thinking of some talking points stemming from your own interests and passions or researching some things that your friends enjoy discussing, having a game plan for making conversation will provide you with a repertoire of topics from which to draw when it’s time to get involved in the discussion. Reading up on basic conversation skills can help you develop the confidence you need to begin participating in the dialogue. When you’ve already taken the time to develop your thoughts and opinions on various topics, you’ll be less likely to experience the brain-to-mouth delay that hindered you in the past.
Just Spit it Out
Like we’ve already discussed, there are plenty of thoughts swirling around in your head; it’s just that many of them never make it out of your mouth. Don’t get me wrong– having a filter is a very good thing. But if you find yourself constantly dodging the label “the quiet one,” loosening that filter will help you quite a bit.
Part of becoming more talkative is forcing yourself to say aloud your internal thoughts related to the conversation taking place. (Let’s emphasize related to the conversation taking place). Ultimately, this is the basis of what it means to be talkative.
There is a lot of power in the ability to hold your tongue. However, being “the quiet one” is not always beneficial.
How do you deal with being “the quiet one”? Share your stories and tips in the comments!