Accept Yourself as You Are, Even When Others Don’t

Happy woman

What other people think of me is none of my business.” ~Wayne Dyer

“You’re too quiet.”

This comment and others like it have plagued me almost all my life. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that I needed to come out of my shell, to be livelier, or to talk more.

As a child and teenager, I allowed these remarks to hurt me deeply. I was already shy, but I became even more self-conscious as I was constantly aware of people waiting for me to speak.

When I did, the response was often, “Wow! Louise said something!”

This would make me just want to crawl back into my shell and hide. I became more and more reserved.

The older I got, the angrier I became. Each time someone told me I was “too quiet,” I wondered what exactly they were hoping to achieve anyway. Did they imagine I had a magic button I could press that would turn me into Miss Showbiz?  

If only it were that simple, I thought. I felt I should be accepted as I was, but apparently that wasn’t going to happen. There was only one thing for it; I would have to become the extrovert the world wanted me to be, but how?

At seventeen, I thought I’d found the perfect solution: alcohol.

When I was drunk, everyone seemed to like me. I was fun and outgoing; able to talk to anyone with no problems at all. However, it began to depress me that I needed a drink to do this or for anyone to like me.

Another strategy was to attach myself to a more outgoing friend. I did this at school, university, and later when I began to travel a lot in my twenties.

Although I didn’t do it consciously, wherever I went I would make friends with someone much louder than me. Then I’d become their little sidekick, going everywhere with them, trying to fit in with all their friends, and even adopting aspects of their personality.

Sometimes I just tried faking it.

When I was twenty-four, I began teaching English as a Foreign Language, and a month into my first contract in Japan, I was told my students found me difficult to talk to. I was upset because I thought I had made an effort to be friendly and I didn’t understand what else I could do.

After crying all night because once again I wasn’t good enough, I went into work the next day determined to be really lively and talkative. Of course, it didn’t work because everyone could see I was being false.

It seemed that I was doomed. I would never be accepted. Being a naturally loud person was the only way to be liked.

Or maybe not.

Over the years, I’ve spoken to several talkative, extroverted people who’ve been told they’re too loud or that they talk too much. It seems whatever personality you’ve got you’re always going to be “too much” of something for someone.

What really matters is: do you think you need to change?

My shyness has made some areas of my life more difficult. It’s something I’ve been working on all my life and I always will be in order to do all the things I want to do.

However, I’ve realized I’m always going to be an introvert, which is not the same thing.

I enjoy going out and socializing, but I also enjoy being alone. At work I talk to people all day, every day. I like my job, but as an introvert, I get tired after all that interaction, so later I need some quiet time to “recharge my batteries.”

I can overcome my shyness. I can’t overcome my introversion, but actually, I wouldn’t want to because I’m happy being this way.

Be kind to yourself if you decide to change.

While I’m still shy, I no longer worry about it.  When speaking to new people, if something comes out wrong or I get my words mixed up, I just laugh to myself about my nervousness rather than telling myself how weird the other person must’ve thought I was.

In the past I was terrified of any form of public speaking. Now my job is getting up in front of people and talking. After a rocky start in Japan, my students now see me as funny (sometimes!) and confident.

So I think I’m doing alright. No, I don’t understand why I can’t just be like that with everyone, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’m doing my best and that’s all I can do.

Don’t be afraid to lose false friends.

When you’re always being told you’re too much of this or not enough of that, it’s easy to start thinking you have to be grateful that anyone is willing to spend time with you.

I used to put up with friends who treated me badly because I thought if I stood up for myself, I’d lose their friendship and I’d end up all alone.

Eventually, in my last year teaching abroad, I did stand up for myself and my worst fear came true. I was left completely friendless.

And you know what? It was okay. The time alone taught me to enjoy my own company, and gave me the chance to learn more about myself. This has gradually led to me attracting more positive people into my life.

Could your supposed weakness actually be your strength?

I’m a good listener, so friends feel able to talk to me if they have a problem and they know I’m not going to tell anyone.

I’m an efficient worker because I just get on with the job. I can empathize with shy students in my class. I don’t force them to speak but leave them alone, knowing that they’ll talk when they feel more comfortable.

There’s a reason why you were made the way you are. If we were all supposed to be the same, we would be.

I’ve stopped trying to make everyone like me and I’ve stopped trying to be something I’m not. As a result, any changes in my character happen naturally as my confidence continues to grow.

The “quiet” comments are also now few and far between. When you learn to accept yourself, you’re likely to find that others will accept you too.

But if they don’t, it really doesn’t matter.

Photo by Petr MK

About Louise Watson

Louise Watson is a meditation teacher and writer who offers a range of classes designed to meet different needs, lifestyles and locations. Her classes are mainly taught over Skype and include a variety of techniques, ensuring you find a practice that works for you.You can find out more and read her words of wisdom at

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  • Very nice read.

  • Vid

    my story is kinda same..i am tired of being misunderstood my whole life..not even my mom understands me well..when i try to be calm and detached, people think me having too much attitude,,, when i try to talk and be friendly ..i am branded as wishy-washy.As a female, if i try to express my opinion , then i am branded as arrogant.I am like tired of being tagged all the time.Now I feel detached to everyone.I like being alone and I hardly feel the need of people.Staying alone has made me much stronger and wiser than I used to be.Most of the friends people have are false, after all everyone is selfish.I have never tried to harm anyone, but people always tried to harm me, imposing their jealousies and hatred on me.It really makes me upset sometimes thinking human race is so stupid, shallow and evil.

  • I have a son who is just like you and we are constantly fussing at him to speak more. I guess my first instinct as his mother is to worry that he may be depressed. I’ve always taken up for him by saying that at least when he does speak it’s always something clever. He doesn’t feel the need to speak and fill the air with nonsense. After reading your article I will try to have even more compassion for him.

  • Phil Bennett

    Check out the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain. Might be worth a read to better understand your son.

  • Louise Watson

    Thanks for reading and I’m glad it’s had a positive effect. In addition to the “Quiet” book Phil mentioned you could also look at “The Introvert’s Way” by Sophia Dembling, which is really good.

  • Louise Watson

    Thank you!

  • It’s very hard to accept yourself when society pressures you to be like everyone else. Even with me, It’s hard enough to be accepted when people don’t accept you for who you are

  • Joan Harrison

    I can so relate to your post Louise. All of my life I had thought I was shy and then discovered really I was an introvert, this understanding helped answer a lot of questions I had. I prefer to sit and read or contemplate, I prefer the company of one other person rather than a crowd.

    Knowing yourself certainly makes life more simple and you gain confidence in yourself as a result. Good luck with whatever you choose to do, I am sure you will be successful…

  • Thankyou..I have heard the the same comment..too whole life..and I’m 61…
    also became a teacher for 30 years to face it and try to overcome retired I
    still get the comments and just accept it..appreciate your words..

  • Tana Franko

    Thank you for your post! I also struggled with this when I was a kid and teen and now it doesn’t bother me so much — I’ve just accepted that I communicate when I’m comfortable with those around me, and that doesn’t happen right away as it seems to for others. We’re out there and we can certainly lead successful, content lives!

  • littleladydesigns

    I can relate to this post a lot, as a fellow introvert/quiet person. I do like socializing and all, but it can make me tired sometimes and I need my alone time. Growing up, I felt wrong in ways. I always had people asking me why I was so quiet, shocked when I spoke etc. I also had some people try to convince me I had a problem and needed to see a doctor about it, as if it was a disease I needed to cure. I’m fine with my quiet self though, even if I still get those kind of comments sometimes.

  • Corgilover230

    I really like the article! I feel like I have just the same personality as you!

  • Louise, you might enjoy reading the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. It’s about being an introvert in a world where extroverts are highly valued. I am an introvert and this book helped me a lot.

  • Leah Smithhen

    I just had a break up with my boyfriend he was very verbally abusive and threatened to leave in the relationship, he always made me feel I wasn’t good enough or I would be in pain if I’d loose him. He kept making me feel insecure about myself and kept threatening me . Pls suggest what is the right thing to do ??? He has threatened to leave me in this relationship??

  • let him go, dear heart !- you are able to be on your own, whether he wants you to think so or not. Love doesn’t threaten or abuse…

  • Alejandra

    Thanks for your article. I still get, the you are “too quiet” phrase. I am working on accepting myself and loving the way I am.

  • I wish people would understand this basic fact: if you nag and badger at someone to be different than they are, the effect will be the exact opposite of what you want. They won’t want to be around you, they won’t see you as supportive, they’ll resent it (and you), and they’ll feel badly about themselves. Seriously.

    I’ve always had people tell me this, too, and i had the same experience as you did: I just decided I was too flawed to exist. I don’t understand why anyone thinks they have the right to tell someone to be different than they are.

    If people are telling you to be different, it’s because how you are makes them uncomfortable and they’re too immature to realize it’s their issue, not yours.

  • Just A. Guy

    Kudos to you from a card carrying introvert who spent a lot of years trying to be an extrovert!

  • M. Kuwako

    I’m curious as to a female perspective on this. I was recently in a relationship that ended because my gf perceived that because of my introversion, it meant that I didn’t care and therefore did not feel enough of an emotional connection to me. In general, I believe women tend to grow closer through communication, whereas men prefer to do activities together. Am I doomed?

  • Alexander Quiñones

    Thanks. This is particularly difficult for me because as a guy, shyness = weakness = lack of masculinity. Do you know what I mean?

  • Louise Watson

    Agree on all counts

  • Louise Watson

    Thanks, Joan!

  • Louise Watson

    Hi Suzanne, yeah i’ve read that book, it also helped me after the last ‘quiet’ comment I got. If you haven’t read it already, i’d also recommend Sophia Dembling’s ‘The Introverts way’.

  • mroge

    I like what you said about the difference between shyness and introversion. I have made great strides in overcoming my shyness, however I will always be an introvert. I don’t see that as a bad thing at all anymore. The introverts of the world are the artists and the deep thinkers. I think of Carl Jung, who I think invented the term “introvert”. It can be a bit lonely though, because I want to share my thoughts with others but it is hard to find anyone who is interested in discussing dream interpretation, psychology, and alternative spirituality. So people think I am a bit weird, but that is okay by me. I come by my weirdness honestly, this is how God made me! Besides who gets to define weirdness anyway!

  • Nat 123

    Just wanted to say thank you for you article. I’m also an introverted (and often shy) EFL teacher. I nearly didn’t become a teacher because I thought I was ‘too quiet’. Then in my 30s I realised it is better to be happy being myself than unhappy trying to fit in with others’ expectations. It’s so nice to read your positive thoughts. Good luck with your writing.

  • Wow, someone that’s actually like me. I’m also introverted by nature. Like you, I’ve developed myself to the stage where I am sociable without being an extrovert. But I’ll never be the life of the party and I don’t want to be the life of the party. Growing up, it was a struggle because I was the only introvert among my siblings and like you, I got the ”you’re so quiet” all the time. I still do. In a world that doesn’t really understand introverts, people cannot understand that as introverts, we really do derive strength from our own company. They automatically assume that you’re miserable and lacking in excitement. The truth is that to an introvert, recharging the batteries in peace and quiet is exciting. Being the life of the party is draining. Introversion is not the same as being a depressed loner. Both introversion and extroversion have their pros and cons and must be adapted, but there is a place for all of us in this world. As you said, I have learnt to accept myself. Thanks for this great post.

  • lizacat

    Excellent post…and speaking as a fellow introvert…I have also experienced much of what you describe. I remember taking a quiz at school after the teacher described the difference between introverts and extroverts…and “cheating” on the answers because she made introvert sound so awful…I knew it would be failing the test to be an introvert. Yes, self acceptance is key. For kids we (introverts) need to be vocal and “out there”…so a natural way of being does not engender shame and low self-esteem as it has for so many of us.

  • NStar

    Another great book abour being a quiet person is ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’ by Elaine Aron. It explains that being a senstive person/quiet/introvert is a positive trait to have. After reading this book I feel more confident in my ‘quiet’ personality and see the benefits I, and others like me, have.

  • As someone who speaks more, I can appreciate this article, Louise 🙂 And will keep this in mind when speaking to friends who are not as outgoing or talkative. They probably don’t appreciate the teasing and more than likely, hear it from a lot of people in their lives.

    Your bigger points of being who you are and not apologizing about that is sound advice for anyone and everyone. We are each unique individuals and don’t have to conform for the sake of others. We should change because we want to and not because others want us too. As you point out, our weaknesses can really be our strengths and help us maintain our uniqueness in the world.

    I think I’m a little more vocal and rebellious than others in my family. Now, I do work that helps the marginalized members of our society. And do work that requires me to stand up for those who are regularly taken advantage of, who have limited rights or no voice. I can advocate for them b/c of a strength my family regularly believed was a weakness:)

  • rhgirl

    Run as far away as you can from this “man”. I too was in your shoes. It took me a long time (too long) to realize what he was doing – he was controlling me. I starts off with them lowering your self esteem until your virtually wipped. Then they start to control you, it got worse as time when on – my hair, my clothes, food, sex, etc. I finally realized what was happening and ran for the hills. Now that I’ve had time to reflect I realize just how bad it was, how he manipulated me. I’m an educated women with a high-level job and thought I knew better. I didn’t. I was so blind. Don’t ‘let him leave’ – kick his abusive ass to the street! Please, you must do this for yourself.

  • Louise Watson

    I’m so glad that has come across- I really wanted this post to be more inclusive but it went down the introvert road as that was my story.

  • Louise Watson

    Thank you!

  • Louise Watson

    Yes, I can see that it must be more difficult for men in some ways. I remember spreaking to a male friend at university who said the same thing.

  • afriend

    Thank you for putting yourself out there by writing this article. You have helped others, and me, by doing so. Keep up the good work!

  • Adam Maton


    Firstly, great post!

    What did catch my attention was when you stated you began ‘teaching English as a foreign language’ This is because I am currently studying to qualify in TEFL and applying for jobs over in Asia.

    The next similarity was a little more scary, I noticed that you live in Bournemouth, so do I! I presumed a lot of readers and authors on this site were from the other side of the world so it was crazy to think this was written by someone so close, I live in Winton just outside of the main town.

    Anyway I would love to talk to you more about your TEFL experience, if you are willing to help then you can reach me on

    Thanks again


  • Work N Progress

    Wow, yes I can relate. All my life I’ve been told there’s something wrong with me and so in the end I believed it! “Your quiet” “Why don’t you talk much?” “Your weird” I find it rather difficult to find acceptance from others. Hopefully one day I can reach a place where other peoples opinions won’t effect me as much

  • Kate

    Thank you, Louise. Such a helpful article once again reminding me that I’m not alone in worrying what other people think, and that it’s a waste of good energy. All best wishes, Kate.

  • Great article. I know how you feel. I grew up shy and no one can tell that I was shy growing up because I’ve learned to accept myself as I am, quietness included, which seemed to help others accept me as I am too. Thank you for sharing!

  • Purple Dreamer

    Wow. Did I need to read this today. Thank you for slipping into my mind, and exposing a little of my inner world. It made me feel a lot less alone in the sense that someone knows exactly what I’m going through!

  • Louise Watson

    Thank you for saying that. That’s what I wanted to do

  • Completely relate to this article! In fact, I once wrote a blog that started off very similarly, if that tells you how much I relate. As a child, I was very shy and quiet. Other kids made fun of me, even teachers made me feel very awkward and uncomfortable. I also drank when I was younger to come out of my shell….and now I have the opposite problem because people find me TOO outspoken, TOO talkative etc. I always feel like I am TOO much of something. But the advantages (like with this author) is that I now am able to better communicate with people who have trouble. I live in a city (and work with) a great deal of immigrants who are still learning English. I have so much compassion for them when they struggle with words and try to make them feel the comforts that often missed out on when I was younger and struggled with my shyness. This is more important to me than being accepted by people who judge me. There are definitely a lot of days that I feel I have ruined my chances of potential friendships because of the fact that I am very direct, blunt and not shy to express myself but at the same time, I don’t want people in my life if they can’t accept me for who I am. So loved this article! Great job.

  • Diana

    Today I came to the realization that accepting myself as an introvert was the best decision I’ve made. For a large chunk of my life I have been badgered for being quiet. Today I was told by a classmate that I was “serious.” It was my first time talking to this person. Instead of getting defensive, I thought about it and thought to myself, well if that’s the worst thing she can say about me then that’s OK with me. Plus, what other people think about me is none of my business. I relish in being an introvert because I can see how that is one of my strengths. For one, I do not need very much social interaction to be happy. In fact, I don’t need much to be content. I enjoy my own company and have a handful of true friends that I can count on at any time. I also consider myself a great confidant, a great secret keeper and a person with many interests. Just because I do not divulge my opinions at everyone’s face does not make me any less normal. I feel the same emotions as extroverts do but I express it in a different way. Furthermore, being an introvert has not stopped me from achieving goals in life. I found a good partner who married me and loves me for me, I have a loving family, I live in a nice home, own a great pet and I am doing what I love for a living. What anyone else thinks of me is not that important anymore.

  • Tim

    I loved reading this post. I like the way you have accepted yourself and found your own happiness. Good for you! I struggle with the same thing. I was in a workplace where I had no one to talk to because everyone was charismatic and outgoing. I am introverted most of the time, and I tried to change that to acquire friends. Now I’m back to just accepting myself as the quiet guy. I want to grow and be happy, but I guess a leopard doesn’t change his spots. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Jeff Noble

    I was very introverted as a kid, but as I grew older, I found I enjoyed being social and talking to people more. Now, I just don’t give a shit. Nobody seems to respond to my input, so I just stopped talking unless absolutely necessary. I’m alone most of the day so it’s easy to just keep quiet.

  • shelley

    this has touched me .. I am someone who I battling to accept my self… and to fit in with others ..its my first year at university and most of my time I find my self crying because of how other people see me and how they treat me…but now I am trying by all means to accept my self just the way I am… coz no o ne can change that

  • Louise Watson

    I don’t think you’re doomed at all but I do think introversion can make people
    think we don’t care sometimes. I have this problem too so I don’t think it’s
    just a man/woman thing. I guess it’s a matter of learning to communicate how we
    feel without trying to be something we’re not.

  • Louise Watson

    Hi Shelley. Sorry to hear you’ve been having a hard time at uni. I spent most of my first year drunk to get over my shyness -it sounds as though you’re doing better than me in the sense that you’re just accepting yourself rather than trying to change. Things will get easier and remember what others perceive as your weakness will turn out to be your strength. I’ve found as I’ve got older that fitting in is overrated, and I don’t think many people really feel that they belong anyway; that’s why they want so hard to fit in and criticise those that seem different.

  • Emily Carter

    Everyone has innate ways of going about life. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Carol Tuttle, but she’s got a book called “It’s Just My Nature” which is absolutely fabulous. By learning about those core movements & energies I have learned to accept my natural disposition, love it, embrace it, and learn from it. I have also learned to appreciate how other people operate & come to love their perspective and way of doing things. I think you’d be particularly interested in what is called “Type 4” energy. 🙂

    I still get told I talk too much, but hey, it is my favorite thing to do & it works well for me (Type 1 energy). Growing up though, I was very shy & didn’t speak up for myself at all. We all have struggles with “not enough” (scarcity) mentality and feelings of worthiness in regards to love. I’m glad you are finding your authentic self & embracing it.

  • Ruth

    Thank you for this article. I relate to this so much. I have always been shy and introverted and I also have a speech disorder and stuttered worse as a child so I was often very quiet then because it was just easier to not talk.
    The little things that people used to say to me when I was younger used to cut deep. My least favourite quote that I have heard quite often and not always directed at me is “coming out of their shell”. It has such a negative tone to it. It’s been a long and slow process accepting myself for who I am and I am now 28 and in the last few years have been the easiest and I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders in the process.

  • TikkaRox

    I feel exactly the same about it being lonely. I have deep interests in same subjects but I can see peoples eyes glaze over if I even begin talking about anything like that…..and they’d rather gossip or make small talk about things no one really cares about….difficult to make new friends because I have no interest or know how to make small talk.

  • Louise Watson

    I think all those subjects are fascinating. Funny, I wrote something about small talk just yesterday, I know what you mean, its so dull!

  • May

    I read your article and have an almost identical experience. I still drink to “fit in” which has only gotten me a bad reputation for drinking. I really don’t think people understand how hurtful it is to be told that you don’t talk enough or that you’re too quiet, I’ve heard it thousands of times and it has never made me talk more, it doesn’t accomplish anything. It only ever made me dislike myself. I’m at the point where I’m realising it is other people’s problems and insecurities and not mine. I’m cutting out people from my life who dont accept me, I really want to move on with my life and be seen as a person not a quiet person. Id rather have no friends then friends who want me to live up to their expectations.
    I really want to thank you for sharing your experience, it has reconfirmed that there is nothing wrong with me as people have made me believe.

  • Elsie

    This is the reason why I don’t bother making friends anymore. Some of those who make the exception makes me regret my decision of trying to befriend them not long after.

  • Louise Watson

    Hi May, glad this has helped you. It’s true, people don’t understand how hurtful it is to be constantly told you’re too quiet, but I suppose that’s what we have to remember; that they don’t realise. I was talking about this the other day with a couple of other members on a more recent post on the same subject – maybe you saw it. It was pointed out to me that often these people think they’re being helpful and don’t understand how they can be making it worse – although that seems obvious to us. I’ve found it helped me to tell people that actually they weren’t helping.

  • Louise Watson

    Hi Elise. I don’t think you need to stop bothering making friends, but I have found that it has helped not to be too eager either. Once I stopped worrying too much about having friends and trying to please people I found that eventually some decent friends came my way.

  • Lee Francois

    Great write up

  • sandy henry

    Thank you for posting this Louise. I’m not shy just quiet and have had the comments all my life, including the “your so quiet” and “wow sandy spoke shock horror” Sorry, but i’m not going to talk/gossip about anything just to make a noise. Nice to see that with all the comments i’m not the only one x

  • Louise Watson

    Hi Sandy. No, you’re not the only one. For years and years I thought it was just me but I’ve discovered over the past year or so that that there are many of us quiet ones who’ve had to put up with these comments. I know what you mean about not wanting to talk just for the sake of it, I’ve never understood why people think it’s compulsory to talk even if they’re not saying anything interesting or even with any point to it. If it makes them feel better to talk, great, but it doesn’t mean we all have to. Glad you liked the post and thanks for commenting.

  • Louise Watson

    Thank you!

  • lila

    Isn’t weird how some people are badgered for being too quiet and others like myself–for often being too intense, laughing and/or talking too much. I understand that each group has its own dynamics and you have to adapt to them or leave it. But if a group doesn’t accept, and even enjoy people’s differences and even eccentricities–then it means that everyone has to fit themselves into some kind of fake “average” behaviour– and it means you’re not really dealing with who they really are. What’s the point of that unless you’re trying to maintain a fake public persona and run for politics? It finally hit me that the people I was worried about being too intense with (or saying the “wrong” thing to–because they have a different way of talking and communicating)—didn’t really interest me. And that part of my intensity was me overcompensating so that my lack of interest in them wasn’t obvious. Maybe you often didn’t have anything to say—because you didn’t really find the conversation, or the people that interesting in your heart of hearts. And maybe alcohol was a way to make things more interesting? Just some ideas from the experiences of an extrovert…

  • Louise Watson

    I am actually just a quiet person, I often don’t feel the need to speak. At other times, I feel shy around people I don’t know very well, especially in situations that are new to me or I don’t feel confident around. Yes there were/are times when I just found the other person boring and had nothing to say back, but I think that’s probably the same for most people. Alcohol was an attempt to become more outgoing, an attempt to make me more interesting because I thought it’s what I had to do.

  • Sandy

    Hey Louise! Everything you wrote in that article was very true. The problem is that I don’t know if I am an introvert or a shy extrovert. I sometimes enjoy being alone and other times I get bored and long to interact to people outside my group of friends but find it hard because I’m afraid of being judged or rejected. That’s why I mostly only have a handful of friends, people I feel totally comfortable with and act myself around. But I don’t want to be that person, I want to be the person who could talk to anyone and everyone but still maintains her group of friends. I feel it would be more fun to talk to different and more people than the same people everyday. Should I go after changing that aspect of myself or should I accept myself the way I am? It is really confusing as different people tell you different things.

  • Bobby Stevens

    Do you realize that being shy isn’t the same as an introvert?

  • s

    sigh. this is exactly how i’m feeling..

  • Louise Watson

    I say that in the article, but I happen to be both.

  • Louise Watson

    Hi Sandy. Since writing this article I’ve become less concerned about labels and I’m not sure you have to worry too much about whether you’re and introvert or whatever. I think most people are probably somewhere in between. I think whether you should change just depends on whether you actually want to. My problem was that I was always trying too change for other people, which is why it never worked.

  • Louise Watson

    That was my comment -not sure why I came up as ‘guest’!

  • Anu

    I too always have the same comments and experiences and was always trying hard to change myself. I am always been criticized for this by my husband too and that hurts every time and makes me feel very low though I have interests in many other activities and have lots of potential to do many things. I always kept thinking why is speaking up such a concern when actually we have nothing to say. Your post made me feel better and helped to find a solution, just to accept myself the way I am. Thank you Louise for this.

  • Marlene

    Thank you for taking the time to share your life. The amazingly ironic thing is that I came by way of this article by a friend starting to constantly tell me I’m talking too much. This didn’t use to be a problem but reading your experience has helped immeasurably. Pairing this article with a psychological one (namely saying some reasons people talk too much is to hide feelings) let me understand that the people in my life who think I talk too much are actually introverted, while I’m extroverted, and more on a deeper level. This has given me a new hope to bridge a gap. The friend who thinks I talk too much (a sudden complaint) is the person I’m having an emotionally charged change in the relationship, and whom has seemingly in my mind gone from being an extrovert to an introvert. But really, I’m just being my extroverted self and covering up our real issue by talking too much, while he is backing away from it and internalizing for more strength – and probably being the introverted person I didn’t realize he was. We are just each dealing with it very differently but both in a very emotional way. My instincts for example were to not hang out with him so much on his days off, despite that being our normal pattern. He’s started working in hospitality again, so I’m also realizing perhaps it’s not really me so much as he’s an introvert drained from having to be an extrovert all day in his job. Thank you so very kindly for helping me piece this together with understanding his similarities to your experience.

  • Jamil

    Enlightenment !! nice article. Its rewarding to learn how to be ok with things as they are make changes if necessary and be ok even if the change works or not.

  • Jessica

    This was really inspiring and helpful. I am very quiet in social situations until I get to know a person really well and then I often get comments about how crazy I am and people have to tell me to shut up! I definately identify with alot of what you have said here Louise. I constantly attach myself to the most outgoing person in the room so they can initiate all conversations and actions between me and other people. I have struggled with my desire for perfection since my early teens and although I have gotten over some aspects of this struggle, I still battle with my need to impress people on a daily basis. Like you said, wanting to be the best you can be is a great trait to have in the workplace but it has also alienated me from my co workers. While others who started the job the same time as me have built up strong social relationships with co workers, enjoying social gatherings together outside of work, I still only know most of my co workers as acquaintances.

  • Louise Watson

    Hi Marlene. I’m so glad you found this helpful. I’ve come to the conclusion that we often want people to change until they actually do – when they (try to) change the way they are, we realise they’re not to blame for our unhappiness and we have no more excuses for complaining! Obviously I don’t know your friend, but I thought I’d mention that whenever I’ve wanted someone to stop talking, I found that I was stumped for something to say when they actually did; so probably my annoyance at their talking ‘too much’ was an insecurity on my part, because I felt inadequate when I couldn’t think of anything to say. Perhaps there is an element of that with your friend too, although I can certainly identify with him being drained by his extrovert job and internalizing issues rather than bringing out into the open. Thanks for commenting!

  • Louise Watson

    You’re welcome, glad it helped!

  • Louise Watson

    Hi Jessica. Yes, it always used to take me an age to get to know people
    at work as friends too. It’s got better since I started teaching, a job where you have to talk to colleagues about students, etc. and you’re not glued to a computer all the time like I used to be. I find worrying about not having friends makes it worse though. Once you relax a bit and learn to enjoy your own company, more friends will come to you.

  • K is the way

    This is exactlg what I needed to read today. I enjoy time alone but I often find that when I do want company it is hard to find it. Ihave an old soul so I dont connect with a lot of people my age. I also have a pretty eccentric sense of style and way of looking at the world and for a lot of people that can be off putting. Thankfully Im learning to develop thick skin to thise who try to criticize me for my differences, amd celebrate them.

  • jang jang

    thank you for this. I’ve been crying since last night because i’ve been recently called out for being ‘quiet’ and ‘aloof’ recently. I wish people would understand that…or that at least i could develop an attitude on how to mind people who don’t understand me too much. i don’t know…i’ve just been feeling so depressed…ii feel like i can’t put up with it anymore. but i can’t change who i am because this is who i am.

  • Jessica

    Thanks! 🙂

  • Rapunzel

    I have a friend whom i always call and message first she never does, i always visit her but she only visits when i practically beg her to it got to a point she stood me up when i really needed her i felt completely devastated when she couldn’t even acknowledge that she did wrong rather she tweets like i hurt her and now i hate myself for going along with what people say and tried to be who i wasn’t thank you for this write up i’m going back to being me.

  • Cornholius

    ” When I did, the response was often, “Wow! Louise said something!” ”
    Oh my god!!! people are all the same!!! That’s the same that happens to me

  • Gisela

    This really resonated with me. Felt like i was looking in a mirror. I have struggled with the same thing my whole life but it wasnt until a few years ago that i stopped beating myself up for being “the quiet one” that i have been able to feel ok in my own skin. Ultimately if you learn to accept certain traits in yourself you will notice that it does not matter what peoples opinions about that trait are.

  • bjk26

    I really enjoyed reading what you said Im actually the exact opposite people tell me I to loud or Im to much and it makes me self conscious. quiet people make me nervous so I talk more and I feel stupid. lol But your right I need to accept myself for how I am I dont want to change I like myself for how I am and if others dont well your right it shouldnt matter.

  • HC

    Your post teared me up at work. You’ve made me feel a lot better about myself. Thank you.

  • Louise Watson

    You’re welcome, glad to hear the article helped

  • katie

    Wow, I just came across this article web-surfing and I have to say it really resonates with me. However, unlike the author, I was actually raised in a show-biz type family. My mom even had a “life-acting” company which taught the philosophy that in social settings we are always performing. As I grew up I discovered alcohol made the anxiety of constant performing go away. After years of depression I’ve just decided to go ahead and sober up and become comfortable as my own introverted, quiet, intense, and pretty nerdy self. In the two years since I’ve done this all my friends are gone, and my family is baffled and angry for my about face in behavior. It’s a rough time, and this article really helps because it seems to me like you feel the same way 🙂 But, despite the loneliness, I am a level of happy now that I’ve never been because I’m finally ok with being myself.

  • Da

    Yeah, agree with what you said. We introverts don’t need to be the same as others around to be happy. Indeed, when I was younger, I was under pressure to be like others. I thought “why I am not the same as others?”. But now, I feel better and I realize I don’t need to be like them.

  • Guest

    I feel the same way. No matter what I do or say, someone’s bound to make a comment. I try not to let it get to me. When I started focusing on myself, I was able to drop the false friends and enjoy the company of quality friends. Occasionally, I spend time alone. I appreciate the time I get alone because I’m able to do what I want to do and make new friends. There’s a handful amount of people with ugly personalities. I avoid them when I can. If I can’t, I brush it off because they’re not worth my time.

  • Kira

    Sometimes people make comments about you because it’s a reflection of themselves as well, definitely, like if they are insecure about a particular thing. If I am insecure about something, I check out other people to compare myself to them. However, if I notice that compared to them I look good, I would not say this out loud. I would not tell someone, you talk too much, or you have bushy eyebrows. I wouldn’t comment because I’m sensitive to their feelings and the fact that I could make THEM feel insecure. If I thought I looked bad compared to them, I would just feel bad. Usually on either account I just stop envying other people or comparing myself to them. It feels like I just drop a weight off my shoulders. I’ve learnt to recognize my unhelpful thoughts and to change them. But I have a friend who appears insensitive, that is how I first labelled her, but now I realize she is one of the most insecure people I have ever known. She constantly negates things, for example our other friend’s make over (my other friend is insecure about her body image and appearance and was delighted by her new make up) when she said, it’s a bit smudged but at least it covers up that pimple. My other friend and I were quite shocked at her comment. Even worse, she took it to heart and it spoiled the moment. There have been many more incidents that have made me look at my insecure friend and think, it must be awful having your thought pattern and process, as she is constantly negative. That’s not healthy. When she makes those comments, I know it’s because she negate things, also when she makes those insensitive comments, it’s because she’s constantly comparing herself to everyone else – and that would make anyone feel worse and more insecure about themselves, so I guess she says personal comments to make herself feel better. She may do this subconsciously, feeling a need to point out the flaws to make herself feel better, but she knows that she is insensitive, and yet she doesn’t try to change or doesn’t realise she NEEDS to. I clash with her a little, because I am sensitive. Sometimes if I question why I am friends with her, I say to myself, sometimes the people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most. Maybe she’ll thank me for sticking by her one day. If she makes more insensitive commens, that’s HER problem. But it becomes MY problem if I let it get to me. So in the future I will remind myself of this article 🙂 It’s also useful in other situations, such as… well, life in general. We all have to get along somehow, and if some people can’t sort out their problems, I’m not going to let that become mine.

  • Kira

    Also, I am a skinny, blonde, English-Australian pale, 16 year old girl, so you can imagine the stereotypes and the comments I get because of them! Again this is a reflection of the other person, specifically their attitudes and values. What people say says more about them than it does about me. I have a quote I’d like to share, came up with it myself but I was inspired by “real friends like you for you”.

    It’s more to do with appearance, but I guess it can be about not changing yourself because you are considered flawed by someone else’s standards:
    “If people like you for you, then they will like you no matter what you look like, because you’re you, and that’s what they like about you.”

  • Magen Meg

    This writing really encourages myself. I always and am now feeling bad about myself because people surround me especially my family always judge the way I look like. I am fat, I have big arms, big legs, big stomach, and short. Every single thing they said to me about how I am so fat, I do not look like girls in my age, I am gonna be an extreme fat woman in the future, and more things that make me sick of myself. I become so not confident with who I am, what I look like, and how I live this life. But, finding this writing make me aware a bit that I have a chance to not let their words step in to my mind further.

  • Tania

    I was very upset yesterday evening because a close friend told me I would always be alone because I had a refused a Friday night invitation out to go to a house party hosted by her friend that I don’t know very well. I appreciated the invite and would’ve gone had I not gone out the night before (& gotten home quite late). I find it exhausting to go out multiple nights in a row, especially in group settings or when there is a work day in between. I do meet friends for walks, dinner and other events about three times a week at least so I felt very taken aback by her reaction. It’s not as if I’m a hermit and don’t accept invitations ever. She also stated because I carve out time to write on the weekends and recharge, I would be ALONE, in a loud tone. My goal as a second career is to become a published writer but according to her it’s that or be alone (I’m newly single). I’m not young, in my 40s and I’ve learned to be assertive and not shy but that recharging and needing solitude aspect, that will never go away. I wouldn’t want it to, I do my best thinking and writing during that time and it is part of what is special about me. So, I related to your entire post as I think I went through the same cycle in life (very quiet/shy child who learned how to be less so). In her opinion we’re not getting younger so we better socialize, in my viewpoint I’m not getting any younger so I better get to work and follow my dreams. I thought I had gotten over misunderstandings about my choices in life but that incident was upsetting. I have other friends (creatives or self-employed) who make the same lifestyle choices as I and need that recharge time and none of them are alone! All have wonderful friendships and good men in their lives.

  • AndyBatty

    I found the book “Quiet” to be an excellent source of information and support for us introverts. It is really worth the read and reminds us of the significant contributions introverts have made to our world.

  • Ricardo

    Wow, as an introvert I can relate to this so damn much…

  • Hi Nichole,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve felt and what you’ve been going through. I struggled with depression when I was your age, and I know what it’s like to feel like there’s something wrong with you. (I actually wrote a short post about this here:

    Are you able to talk to your parents about any of these things, or any other relative? Looking back, I wish I opened up to more people about what I really felt. I thought I was alone and that no one could relate, but years later, I learned that lots of people I knew (acquaintances and relatives) had also struggled with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

    I’m a little worried about what you wrote at the end of your comment. Have you seriously considered taking your life?


  • mxnyoz


  • Louise Watson

    Hi Nichole
    Thanks for commenting here. Like you and Lori, I also struggled with the same feelings when I was your age. I promise you that things will get better and you will get through it.
    I agree with what Lori said; when we don’t open up, it’s so easy to think that we’re all alone and that everyone else is ‘sorted’. But now I realise how many people we’re going through the same thing.

  • Child at War

    Thank you so much for creating this article, much appreciation.

  • sharon

    I am introverted with a jolly side but love to spend a lot of time alone painting and writing and taking care of husband and beautiful home. I have been criticized heavily since I moved to Utah USA from Ireland at sixteen. The Mormon culture has no use for quiet compassionate, sensitive types but applauds those who are gregarious and hold all sorts church positions. America as a whole is a very harsh culture but it is changing because most computer freaks are introverts and computers have taken over and now you an hold a job or get a degree on the computer without going out of your home. I have always been authentic and if I do not want to join something or socialize I do not and much prefer one on one or small groups. I have been called weird and told I deserve to be bullied even though I am a great person and it is my right to be who I am and enjoy peace and quiet. I let no one push themselves on me and when I need time alone that is what I am going to do and I have had people who themselves are introverts tell me I am too quiet. Many people are introverts but try to fit in with what they think is the right way to be and then bully people who dare to be authentic. Introverts are the writers, artists, scientists, and compassionate, deeply caring people and the world would be lost without us. this culture needs to get a grip and let people be who they are instead of forcing people so be something they are not which is the source of most addictions. Most of us live phony lives trying to fit in instead of saying no to alcohol and drugs and yes to staying home reading if that is what we want. American culture is phony and shallow and materialistic and that is why there are so many problems and violence and addictions. This is he only life I have and I am going to live it my way.

  • Fay

    wow this spoke to me , ive been having a hard time with this as of late (i think im due on, therefore the hormones are wreaking havoc and im feeling extra sensitive), someone compared me to my extrovert, loud, bubbly, funny sister and it just touched a nerve and reminded me of everything im not (well not unless i warm up to you – then thats a different story lol) and just made me feel rubbish….

    but yeah, sometimes i feel really misunderstood and i dont know how to combat these feelings, i feel like theres so much to me that peopel will never see, so they dimiss me and most times i feel almost invisible, don’t get me wrong though i do socialise i have awesome friends which i am forever grateful for, but i mean interms of the people who arent my really close friends,

  • Madison

    this is my life. I’m 16 now, and the words “You’re so quiet”, “You need to speak up more”, “Why are you so quiet?” etc have followed me everyday of my life. I guess my teachers and the adults and everyone who tells me this are trying to ‘help’ me, but it most certainly has not. These people, hoping to make me more outgoing, have in fact made me even quieter. As time goes by, I’ve noticed i’ve become quieter and quieter. People’s words have made me hate myself and believe that I’m defective and that something is wrong with me. Now I’m going to have to spend the rest of my life trying to regain the self-confidence that i lost because of these people’s words. Now i’m always extremely self-concious, wondering if people are thinking that i’m too quiet, and i’m forcing myself to say stupid things to fill the silence because i know that they’ll be uncomfortable if i’m quiet.
    I don’t think its right for people to give children such a complex as they grow up. I just wish they would think before they speak

  • Guest


  • J’Hannah Winter Rose Wickstrom

    I’m against social media such as ask.FM right now. I get anonymous questions saying something like “your such a bitch who thinks shes all that, well guess what, you’re not all that!” And it hurts me when that happens, ive been called rude names, I’ve been gossiped about and I’m sick of it. I like to see what my friends post, so I’ve turned my options onto “do not allow anonymous questions” and that only helps a little.

  • Lainey Ruth

    I’ve being labelled all sorts of names over the years by so called friends. “Loud, wierd, crazy” were the most common names I was called. It was supposed to be a joke by them, however, i personally believe that pointing out peoples flaws or traits is incredibly rude and immature. My advice to anyone affected by name labelling and false friends, stand up for yourself. Don’t allow people to bully you or tell you that you should change. If you feel like you really need to change something about you then carefully reflect upon why you should change eg what are the negatives and positives of this aspect that needs changing. Finally, enjoy your own company. Being around people because you’re afraid to be alone tends to attract the douchebags who’ll waste no time in destroying your confidence to empower themselves. I’m still learning to let go of my shyness and become more confident eg finding new hobbies and being around people who like me for being me.

  • Nami

    I am an introvert and like being by myself but I am fed up of constantly being judged for not socialising. I have realised that people and not happy with the way I am..always commenting ..I am short, why don’t I have clear skin, why am I so arrogant and rude..basically anything I do is a problem for someone or the other..when I don’t comment on anyone’s lifestyle, why can’t they accept me the way I am? I do not like talking to people and does that mean I am arrogant and have attitude? This is stressing me out everyday cuz ppl around me want me to change which is not easy for me! My cousins and relatives hate me and always ignore me at get togethers..just because they feel I am arrogant.,but the truth is that I am’s just that I talk less due to lack of common why am I the bad one in a group and always feeling left out?

  • Eileen

    Louise, you are amazing. Great article and I’m positive that anyone who has ever criticized you is someone I wouldn’t want to be around. Keep shining! ❤️

  • Sam

    I’m 32 male i would not say that i’m shy but i just dont like to be in too many people, i’m very fit very much take care of myself even in gym people stare at me bcoz i dont talk, what is wrong with the society i’m who i am, i dont like going to clubs or any crowded places they just scare the s**t oit of me, i like watchinv movies, comedy dramas, reading novels, exploring web. I think this is my personality and i cant cgange myself for the sake of impressing others

  • grace

    Great Article!!

  • Arpy Kelian

    I gotta say, I found this post a the opportune time! I’m a shy introvert, been all my life! My mom always brings up how my teachers in first grade used to ask her what was wrong with me and if there was any conflict in the house!
    I don’t think I can participate in any conversation because I don’t find any challenging or intellectual enough for me! It’s always gossip, complain, what someone ate, where they travelled or what they’re building! I can’t be in crowded places! @tikkarox, I know exactly that look of eyes glazing! I get that all the time and one of the reasons I stay quiet.
    @louisewatson I’ve been told and still get comments about my “quietness”! I now respond by saying “amongst talkers there needs to be listeners”! LOL
    I totally get you about the drinking and feeling like yourself! I’ve done that when I was much younger!
    My issue is I don’t have ANY friends! I’m alone and feel lonely most of the time! I enjoy being by myself but I wish I had one friend with whom I can have a normal, decent, good, interesting conversation with! And laughter! I’ve heard of Susan Cain and I believe I’ve seen her Ted Talk about introverts! I’ll look into her book to read next!

  • James M

    You are fine the way that you are, as long as you are not harming everyone else, but rather seeking kindness towards others whether they appreciate it or not, is irrelevant. If you are making an effort to show genuine kindness; it will return to you

  • James M


  • Kristen

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I think we must be twins or something. I can resonate so deeply with everything you said. My entire life I have been told I’m “so quiet”. As a kid, as a teenager – and now as an adult people don’t say it outright to me but I know damn well they’re thinking it. I just can’t change. I can’t be someone I’m not. For so long I’ve felt like I should be louder around people, or funnier, or more animated. But I can’t. It’s just not me. I’m sick of worrying about what people think and thinking that they don’t like me. I know I’m quiet but I am so tired of beating myself up over it. I just want to accept myself and my personality instead of constantly wishing I could be different, or more like so-and-so. The hard part is that I’m at university studying a field in which most of the students are loud and very confident. I’m still working on trying to accepting who I am, but I know I’ll get there eventually.

  • Kayla Jones

    Wonderful how every word I can totally relate to and pin point to my life. I found this blog because I was hurt from just been harassed about my quietness and it seemed like I had a problem but apparently not. It’s demeaning and hurtful to not feel good enough. No one understands that sometimes there’s just nothing to say or no means of relating, that I’d rather think than speak. I did not create myself this way and so when people feel annoyed by me then it’s totally insensitive. I desire to be able to relate better but I don’t know how and I’m too scared, it’s not who I am and I think I’ve managed through for 19 years. Alcohol? definitely! Been down that road, changes things but for a moment it can only be temporary. And those around you wonder how addicts are formed. When you’re constantly baggered. Anyway I hope it all gets better!

  • shivansh gupta

    I have been introvert all my life, from childhood till today.I am 21 now and I have always been told by friends that “you need to speak, don’t be shy”. Now I am habitual of listening this. Although when I get this type of advice I really get hurt but not show it .Now I realize that perhaps I am going to be this way always .I feel so shy and so nervous in front of any person in this world that I just want to run away from there.

    And as I have been physically weak from childhood, now I find it one of the reason of feeling shy with others. Whenever I go to some person I feel that he is going to think about me as a very weak and arrogant person.

    But I found this article very interesting and helpful.
    Thanks to the writer, you are blessed.
    I hope I also get to see such people around me.

  • Cameron

    Idk sometimes I resent my quietness. When I am in a talkative and bubbly mood, I’m often labeled as weird. There are times where I just enjoy a certain environment or atmosphere and I’m just the life of the interaction, but those cases are rare. I am mostly a quiet soul and speak when necessary. Another thing to add is that I’m pretty cool around those I’ve known for a while, like my good friends. If this described you a bit I would love a re comment.

    I agree with most of what you said, the thing about the human race being this way is a bit of a leap. Not all people are selfish to the core. However, we all have selfish tendencies.

    That doesn’t mean at the drop of a hat I won’t help someone or put them above me. That’s just me though. Sometimes we see others as our enemy, often times we are fooling ourselves.

    Loved your comments btw

  • Vid

    hey thanks
    I think you are also an introvert just like me. But thats not something which should stop from living life. Over the past two years, I have felt that being detached is the best thing we can do to ourselves. Enjoy every moment, savor companionship , help others but dont expect anything from anyone. I think I am evolving.

  • Wenioui Acha Baring

    Amazingly done. 🙂 It’s like finding yourself along with the words.
    Super thumbs up :)) Thank you Louise.

    Stranger with a kindred spirit. ( Teehee ^^)

  • Louise Watson

    Thank you so much! So glad to hear this article is still helping people two years on!

  • Louise Watson

    Thank you, I’m sure you will with time.

  • Louise Watson

    Hi Kayla. I can relate to everything you said. Things definitely will get better once you learn to accept yourself, I promise!

  • Louise Watson

    Thanks so much for the comment, Kristen and you’re welcome. I know exactly what you mean about getting sick of beating yourself up. Good to hear you’re now working on accepting yourself!

  • Louise Watson

    Thank you!

  • Louise Watson

    Thank you so much Eileen. Sorry for the delayed response. I wrote this a couple of years ago so don’t check for comments so often anymore. Thanks again!

  • Tiffany V

    I enjoy many posts for TB. But when I bought one of the books I quickly realized the format: most are lessons from someone’s specific experience. While if you’re suffering from the issue being spoken of, might be enormously beneficial, if you aren’t well… I get lost in the other persons story and find it hard to extract the lesson for my unique concern having to do with that broader topic. Like this one. I have my own issues with shyness but was hoping for a post more about the general aspect of letting go of what others opinions of me are. Not focusing on just one persons shyness. I guess these just aren’t presented in a way I can find use a lot of the time. Had to quit the book, after 3 attempts. Just didn’t enjoy reading people’s story after story. About specific topics I’m not directly dealing with.

  • KoriStarfire

    Its scary how identical all of this is to my own life! Including the teaching in Japan parts, standing up for yourself and losing all of your friends bits. I was reading and thinking to myself “Who are you and why do we have the same lives?!” But I love that there is someone else out there who went through the EXACT same thing as I did, right down to the being abroad and friendless parts too. Thank you for writing this and existing and just being here in the little corner of the internet. I feel so much less alone now!

  • Kevin Carl Jardiolin

    Im a guy and i can relate with you,, it’s much harder since the society expected men to be more expressive than women..

  • pigbitinmad

    I have always been filled with self loathing because I am not the most extroverted person in the room. I will accept it the day I can accept that I will be living under a bridge because no one will hire me. Seriously, what’s to like? If all the jobs for people who hate people have left the country, then there is really no point in trying anymore.
    I applied for a job in which I had all the surface qualifications but I wasn’t a good “fit” (translation, I would not have fit in with the Millennials at the office even though none of them had any idea what the job was. I am still trying to figure out why they were advertising for an Acquisitions Librarian when what they really want is someone who can play Ping Pong and go drink beers with them).
    But this is become my life. I have been applying for jobs for over 10 years and NOTHING!! I don’t even think I make any terrible blunders in the interview. It’s just that I am not happy and peppy and bursting with love at the mention of their wonderful “culture.”

  • pigbitinmad

    PS, I hate to say this, but when someone who is obviously a foreigner is judging me on being a culture fit in my own country, I cannot help but resent it.

  • pigbitinmad

    I think you summed it up and I have never lived anywhere else. I spent a few months in the U.K. and nobody talked about “positivity,” “getting in touch with your feelings” and all the other the other stuff. Not one person there said “Gee, you’re so negative.” In America I hear this almost the moment I open my mouth. That and “You’d be prettier if you smile.” Quite frankly, if I am negative, I think it is for a pretty good reason (ie. that Americans and especially corporate culture led by Silicon Valley which must be destroyed at all costs has become almost a fanatical cult like Scientology where they seek to make everyone do what they do. Note the rise in all the insipid Buzzwords like “hire for culture fit, not for skills” and all that rubbish.

  • zenlife

    I like everybody’s comments about introversion. I am an introvert and I only speak when necessary. I only speak to my good friends who have good core values. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feel that ppl tend to project their problems and issues on me just because I don’t say much. It speaks more about the way they think, not about me.

  • Melody

    Thank you very much for this article. Can I ask help? Please. I’m also a quiet and shy person but I love smiling because it gives a positive outlook in life. I’m also soft spoken and can easily hurt and cry. But being like this suffered me a lot. I’m always crying. When I’m with only one person especially that is close to me I can really talk but when I’m in a group even with my group friends, in work, etc. I can’t really speak up and I’m just listening to them. Every person or group I’ve met, they always said that “why I’m quiet?”,” why I do not speak?”, “being quiet is not appropriate here”, “say something”, etc. There was also a time that one of my boss in my previous work told me that I cannot survive in a corporate world if I am like this, also I have a weak personality. When someone told me all of those words I’m really hurt and I cried secretly. I always told to myself why I’m like this. Is my family background really affect my personality now? I don’t have any siblings. Me and only my mother were living together. My father left us when I was a kid and his family doesn’t know that I’m existing. I’m also not close to the relatives of my mother, when we met they misinterpret my quietness. My mother always compare me to others and see what I’ve only done wrong and never appreciate me. I know she loves me but I always hear hurtful words from her. She doesn’t support me and I never hear from her the word I love you. She show her love for me through service but we also need affection from parents right? Even though she is like that to me I still love her. I feel I’m alone because no one likes me because I’m quiet and shy. My heart is really aching but I know God loves me that’s why I can become strong despite of every trials I went through. Can you please advise me on how to accept myself so that I can start to improve myself and become a better person? I really need help. Thank you so much.

  • Saurav Raj Singh

    Holy chiz I feel like we’re brothers and sisters that were separated long time ago. Haha this is exactly my story though I’m only 25 . Up until college, I had no trouble making friends , mainly because young teenagers don’t try to judge you on the way you talk. Ever since I was a kid,I would always try to be funny and pull weird jokes to make everyone laugh. my young teenage friends use to find it funny (maybe) but when I got older people started finding my same jokes dumb and weird and as a result I became a social outcast, a pariah , people started looking down upon me. After years of pain and suffering, I have come to the conclusion that my only problem was that I would always try to be something I’m not, I.e a funny guy. When I’m calm and a good listener , I’ve noticed, almost everyone wants to be with me, they love to spend time with me. So yeah, I’ve learned my lesson. All I ever needed to do was stop being the wannabe extrovert I always was and take a rather ambivert approach towards people. For anyone reading this, my advice, stop trying to be someone your not, just be yourself and if someone can’t accept you for who you are then these aren’t the kind of people you want to be with. Also, Thanks Louise for writing this article, now I know I’m not the only one. Oh and that stuttering thing use to happen to me all the time when I would try to be extra talkative.

  • olkacho

    humm being quiet is a strength more than weakness, now I have a problem of being too talktive , I think it’s worse and much-much less tolerated by people than quieteness. I lose friends, acquiantances, opportunities at work, ruin family relationships…

  • cathy

    hi i’m a very quiet female as well, when I go out or in a relationship with someone they all way say i’m quiet an when I do say something it either come out my mouth wrong or when I do speak it seem like nobody listen to what i’m saying or it make them mad.

  • Megha


  • Jalisa Cottman

    I don’t see why I am open and honest about my shyness to anyone that wants to hear. I would tell anyone, and I speak out to my doctor everyone around me talk like it not bad to be shy, yet they point the fingers to tell me I’m too much of this and that,it manipulative to think it not a bad thing when others pressure you to run your mouth.

  • Rizwana Shamima

    I get bugged at work that I am very quiet and stay put and by myself most of the time, and people react as if they cannot stand me. I will not say I give a shit, because I do, it hurts, and it increases my anxiety, but not making an effort to change myself either. I am tired, and I am like “accept me the way I am, or let me go”. I am good at my work too, and gosh am a teacher too.. 🙂 I always thought teachers are sweet and empathetic people, but after mingling with my colleagues, I am having a mixed opinion.

    Now I am thinking this is how I am gonna remain forever, and in between I will work hard and increase my merits n qualification. Sooner or later people will accept me the way I am, and I will not have to explain myself anymore.

  • Alicia

    I loved this article. I am 35 and guess what I haven’t changed much ha ha! What has changed is my attitude toward what is expected of me. I realized that time is just passing me by and I have no time to be worrying about what people think. I stopped judging myself and let myself enjoy life even with inevitable mistakes. I’m a happy introvert. I have few close friends and I prefer it that way. I’m learning to love myself and love my life.

  • LH

    I absolutely love this article. I was always being picked on at school
    and college for being quiet and it’s the same at work now. In fact,
    yesterday, I walked in to the office where I work to hear my line
    manager slagging me off because she finds me ‘hard to talk to’. It made
    me feel absolutely dreadful and I didn’t say a thing all day. But I’m
    not going to apologise for being myself. I actually see it as a pretty
    good filtering system: if someone can’t accept that you’re just
    naturally quiet and berates you for it, you probably don’t want to talk
    to them anyway.

  • Tamsin

    This is an amazing article Louise in fact you could almost have been writing about my life! Completely identify with discovering the ‘magic cure’ of alcohol at a young age and acquiring an outgoing friend and becoming the little sidekick never feeling I quite measured up. I’m now 50, feel confident in myself and am enjoying a lovely quiet life with my boyfriend in Spain. I was still wondering why I don’t do what all the other expats do out here and socialise all the time. In fact I’m in the ridiculous situation this evening of keeping all the lights off so no-one knows I’m in!! I just discovered now there is a word for how I am and that is Introvert! I’ve had a wonderful evening (in the dark) finding out about a the world of introverts on the internet. Lots of famous people even Barack Obama and Marilyn Monroe are/were introverts. So glad I found out and thanks for your enlightening article! 🙂

  • aye

    I’m quiet too..

  • Guest

    I have always been told I am too quiet also and can really relate to this article. Sometimes I have found that people choose not to like me because I don’t talk as much and have a quiet voice. I can’t ever understand why someone would dislike you just for being quiet and it really bothers me. My boyfriend is the opposite of me and is more talkative and outgoing, but has also always been told he talks too much most of his life. I guess you just ycan’t make everyone happy so don’t worry so much about it, right?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Kira… I’m surprised yo uget negative comments for that. To me you sound beautiful.

    Having beauty should make it easier to talk to people without them thinking “ugh, who is this weirdo?” even if you’re not naturally outgoing.

  • manasskicker

    I like being an introvert but also want to improve public speaking skills how do I do both at same time ? I can nearly speak up in a group of unknown people.

  • Shukla Bhattacharya

    I totally agree with all the things you say. Though outwardly I am fairly well communicator but inside I find it really hard to “connect” with anybody. Almost everybody around me seems to be so shallow and their lack of sincerity pisses me off like anything. As a result, I am left with no friend! I enjoy being by myself. Still at times all the hullabaloo on social media and also physical gatherings leaves me thinking “do I have a problem?”. Though deep down I know, I don’t. Still sometimes it worries me.

  • Mike Dymski

    I can relate somewhat,i am short ugly and girls never like me, i am also told i am to quiet, not sure what people want me to do, talk about random events? I really not into cell phones and celberites and applicatios on my cell phone so i really have nothing to say

  • An

    This is a great article. Im facing this situation currently at work where at each probation or appraisal meeting i have its always ‘youre sooo quiet’, ‘sometimes i dont realise you’re even sitting at your desk’ and things like that. I wish people would remember at times that we are being paid to WORK not chat all day. Im slowly beginning to accept my introvertness, but like you have said, i am happy with the way i am, it just makes us that more mysterious and interesting in a way. Thank you for this article, it has made me realise that it shouldnt be a problem at all, and if it is its theirs, not mine 🙂

  • Jenny

    I really needed this, thank you.

  • Jitendra Devrani

    this blog is awesome

  • Holly

    I loved reading this. It’s so reassuring to know that being introvert isn’t weird or unusual. People will always complain about something. When people ask me why I’m so quiet my first thought is “well you haven’t really sparked a good conversation that interests me.” Those people usually only talk about themselves and the things going on in their life. I enjoy good conversations, in all categories. I feel like people nowadays are only interested in spotlight. I’ve always feared spotlight but with that came meaningful conversations with people. Not a quick gossipy lie to pass the time. I feel like people who want me to not be shy also want to see a rise out of me. It’s like they are astonished at my mellowness at work or with certain situations. I get upset I just don’t talk about it to people I know don’t care haha. Ohhh life is so weird and yet so wonderful. I love introvert people, I love quiet people. I worked with someone and he was so quiet and I remember because he was new everyone thought he had a problem. I chose to like him because I knew he had to be interesting. The quiet ones are the most interesting. So truthful and filled with depth and meaning. I love extrovert people don’t get me wrong!! But having an introvert unravel is a much different and exciting story.

  • DiDi_Beast

    That is me to a T. damn..what a trip.

  • Adele

    The idea that people will like you if you just be yourself is untrue. What if who you truly are is something that everyone else dislikes?

    For instance, I am naturally confident, I like talking to people, I tend to compliment others, I’m not a complainer, I’m not a joker, I don’t curse, I don’t drink, I don’t party, but I do like the outdoors and checking out national parks and hikes and stuff like that. I don’t know what it is about that combination that is so off putting to people but none of the people I’m around ever want to be friends. I’m still myself and I’m kind to everyone but I’ve gotten both used and over the idea that I will ever have friends. Instead I’ve become ok with focusing on solo hobbies like kayaking, piano, crochet, reading, ect. Regardless, it still always hurts to go to the movies and be the only person alone. I know I’m valuable but I don’t know why everyone else doesn’t think so. Anyway, just understand that sometimes you’ve got to make the best and have fun with the hand you’re dealt and move on.

  • mase

    agree, i hate humans and their stupid jealous human ways. I wanna move to jupiter and befriend an alien or 2

  • DiDi_Beast

    My exact experience. I hear ya.

  • Tasnuva Huque

    Its seems interesting to me. Because I am struggling in the same way. After reading this I feel more grounded. Thank you

  • ss

    I just have to point out, there IS s type of extravert, the ENF(P), that needs alone time to “recharge”. Just have to point this out, bc I see the terms introversion and extraversion used wrong so much. Jung is probably turning in his grave.

    Everyone has BOTH. Its just that one is primary and one is secondary. And they deal with how you orient attention in response to a stimulus. That is all.
    Perhaps explore these deeper.

    Introverts are commonly more challenges in outward connection simply because they go inward to connect with themselves FIRST, and then connect out (maybe). I say maybe because sometimes they decide not to. Extraverts go outward to “other” FIRST, and often dont bring the connection back into themselves for further reflection. The instant outer connection charges extraverts, and it also makes them more immediately likeable because people feel seen and heard so easily!
    THATs the reason popular people are popular. They really LIKE people and seek connection first.

    Both types have flaws. The extravert can start liking everything and everyone at their own expense, and can loose themselves. The intravert can become to so strong in upholding the depths of their “this-is-me” identity, that they become rigid and forget to loosen up and “allow”. Not everything needs to be soooo deep and defined.

    BOTH types benefit from developing their secondary function.

    Its not “changing” to develop your secondary function; its cultivating the whole picture.
    The primary function you see and know.
    The secondary also exists and should be explored.
    Jung was influenced by Eastern thought, which is non-dualistic. Therefore, a person is never “this”way but not “that way”; a person is BOTH.
    So to say you are “an introvert” and imply you are “not an extravert”, is untrue. Rather, one is a primary, and the other is secondary. This is what the personality tests show, if you take them. You dominant functions and the degree to which you are dominant in them.

    “Latching” yourself to extraverts, as you put it, was good! It probably helped cultivate your secondary function, even if you were not aware you were doing it.
    Changing who you are is impossible, but becoming consciouness of your fullness and depth is not, and often this practice of becoming conscious feels like change….even if its always what you were to begin with.

    Just offering another way to see the Truth…

  • Black Bart

    I’ve been told I’m too loud. I am a big, boisterious, happy man. I love singing and doing public speaking.

    People have told me to pipe down my whole life.
    Once in a restaurant, a friend of mine and I who hadn’t seen each other in 3 years were having a very enthusiastic reunion in an already talkative and loud dining room.

    This tall white dude with black hair, glasses, and a thick jaw ambled on up to our table and looked at us both for about 3 solid seconds right in the eyes before he bellowed: “Be quiet! This is a family restaurant!”

    He menacingly loomed over us and I suddenly was not 100% sure that the man wouldn’t get physical. So, I popped up out of my seat and said “Hey man. Back off. There’s no need for this.” My tone was relaxed and non- hostile.

    His wife and kids were embarrassed because he was now the focus of attention of about 75 people. It was a packed house that night.

    His wife kept urging him over to his own table. The manager appeared over his shoulder and moved to address him, which would have further compounded his embarrassment. I cocked my chin toward the manager indicating that I had a solution to end the situation.

    I gently leaned one step in and said in a hushed voice that the manager was going to throw his whole family out. I said he should tell his wife that my whispers were me apologizing so he is the hero to his kids. I stepped back and said “Are we cool, man?” And stuck out my hand for him to shake.

    He realized he was done. It was either shake my hand or get kicked out and be embarrassed and have his family pissed at him.

    Good story right? My point in telling it is:

    I can relate to you.

    That experience in the Mexican restaurant taught me the following lesson: some people will always find fault with the way we speak. Too loud. Too quiet. Too happy. Too sad.

    People who analyze the world in such a way are miserable, dissatisfied people. They cannot handle happy people who are uncomfortable just being themselves. They can’t relax. They have a stunted sense of humor. And, most notably, they really can’t deal with people who are comfortable in their own skin.

    They have an uncontrollable compulsion to make others have a bad time whether at work, at a social event, or even when seeing a stranger in a restaurant they dislike because he loves his friend and is happy to see him.

    There is only one answer: stay away from them as much as you can. They will always be miserable and will grow more and more so as they pass 35, 40, 50, 60 years old. 3 decades of being a jerk takes a toll on them.

    It’s really sad actually. There are LOTS of these kind of people in the USA and their disposition is the logical result of constantly wanting “more” or for things to be “better”. They never accept who, what, and where they are.

    So, how are they ever supposed to accept someone like you who is content being quiet or someone like me who can address hundreds of people with no fear?

    It’s not possible. Until they find happiness and satisfaction inside themselves, they are doomed to live in circles.

    My advice is to have compassion from a distance. Don’t get too wrapped up in what they say and always create strong boundaries which can be done politely.

    It’s not kind to tell someone that they cannot be a certain way. It’s ignorant. It’s unnecessary.

    My 2 cents.

  • Elle West

    Loved this post – so reflective and positive. I felt exactly as you for decades and it annoyed me that people would use my quietness against me. They still do and I’m in my 50s. The talkers believe they are superior to the quiet peeps, but what are they saying that is so memorable? Very little!