Silence is golden

Kelly Byer

“You don’t talk very much, do you?”

“No, and your point is.?”

If a person is quiet, it’s wrong. His or her shell needs to be broken. He or she needs to loosen up. He or she should become more assertive and outgoing.

If you’ve ever heard a similar remark, chances are you were too shy to reply with the snarky comment you really wanted to use. So, for those of you who never seem to “speak up” enough, let me explain to those who do.

People tend to talk more at certain times and less at other times, depending on their mood, the familiarity of who they’re with, and many other factors. But when did talking less become a big deal?

In today’s society, being an extrovert is ideal. Being introverted is seen as something to overcome, not a personality trait.

Anyone who isn’t as quick to conversation is dubbed as “shy,” “quiet” or “anti-social.”

Even though each word has a slightly, in some cases drastically, different meaning, they are all used to imply that quiet people have a short circuit in their social skills.

If you Google the terms introvert or extrovert, the same result shows up for both: “How to go from introvert to extrovert.”

If you search for shyness, “shake your shyness” and “overcoming shyness” pop up. Likewise, if you search for outgoing, you get “how to be outgoing.”

When everyone, including Google, tells people there’s something wrong with the way they are, who’s to argue?

What’s worse, when some people find themselves in the presence of less talkative individuals, they feel the need to state the obvious, as if telling a person they’re too quiet will miraculously cure them of quietness.

Ignore the fact that introverts and extroverts have been shown to function differently. Differences in brain activity have been studied, and genetics have also been thought to play a role in a person’s social behavior.

So, if being introverted is simply a person’s pre-determined personality, pointing out quietness is nearly equivalent to commenting on eye color.

Simply stating a person has green eyes isn’t going to make the eye color change. It only makes the person with green eyes more aware and uncomfortable of his or her “problem.”

And it’s a problem that doesn’t exist, except in the minds of others. As long as a person is happy with his or her social life, he or she shouldn’t be pressed to change it. Sure, there are some shy people who wish to be social butterflies, but not all silent or social types think alike.

Some take pride in being a people person while others find solace in silence. Those being the two extremes, there are also the people who fall in between. But, wherever you stand on the social scale, you should stand strong.

Kelly Byer is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].