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Sorry, But Quiet People Aren’t Like What You Think (Quite the Opposite Actually)

Sorry, But Quiet People Aren’t Like What You Think (Quite the Opposite Actually)

Growing up, I was known as the “quiet, nerdy kid”. I didn’t talk much during meals, at school, or social gatherings.

Often, people thought I was anti-social or lacking presentation skills. Some of my friends even had the first impression that I hated them when we first met. Just because I didn’t talk (and with my RBF), they assumed I didn’t want to befriend them.

Or there were times in conversations, I didn’t engage in them and people thought I was silently judging all of them, but in fact, I was thinking and absorbing what everyone had to say.

I’m sure if you are a quiet person, you are under constantly assumed to be shy, impolite, timid, or even arrogant. I feel you. But in reality, most quiet people don’t fit into the assumptions, and the reason for these misconceptions and misunderstandings is because we communicate in a different way.

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There’s no right or wrong when it comes to communication, and I think it’s time to let everyone know how we act and think as quiet people.

We are quiet in person, talkative in mind.

When we don’t say anything, it doesn’t mean our minds are blank.

Stephen Hawking once said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds.” It’s true, we store a lot of deep thoughts in our minds, but we keep our sarcastic comments and jokes in our brains as well.

We are usually thinkers, and often over-thinkers. We create conversations in our heads to help us think, plan, evaluate, and execute our ideas before saying it out loud or diving into actions.

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We gain information through different means.

While some people learn about others through interactions and exchanging information in conversations, we like to observe others and everything happening around.

My dad once taught me the art of observation. He thinks you could tell a lot about a person only through observing their appearances and mannerisms.

Say you meet someone new. What that person is wearing, their body language, and eye contact can give you a rough idea of who that person is.

Of course, sometimes simply by observation is not enough, quiet people do start conversations when we are interested to know more about a certain person.

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We are not necessarily shy.

The general norm is the more you speak, the more confident you sound. And sometimes, people categorize all quiet people as lacking confidence or scared to present themselves. But for some quiet people, we are not afraid of the spotlight, and we are sociable too. Speaking to us is a preference rather than a must-do action in social situations. We don’t mind to share our ideas, thoughts, and experiences.

We don’t hate you because we are quiet.

The easiest way to tell the other person you are interested in develop a relationship is definitely through speaking. But just because we aren’t as talkative as others, we don’t mean to be rude or cold. There are still many ways and channels to express our affection to our loved ones.

Everyone has a different idea on what it means to be “neutral”. Some people believe they must be smiling and asking “how are you” to convey a message of “we’re good”. But for others, like quiet people, we believe indicating “everyone’s fine as when it was one hour ago” is to do nothing. In this sense, quiet people are deemed as cold or mean, because we express the same message differently.

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    We take speaking seriously.

    We believe we need to think carefully before we say anything, because there are way too many times where something is said at the wrong time, wrong place, and to the wrong person.

    And don’t get me wrong, I am not saying talkative people don’t think before they speak. I enjoy listening to talkative people share their stories and fill the room with their presence. Just we hold different thoughts about what speaking should mean.

    It’s not about helping a quiet person, but understanding.

    From time to time, others want to “help” me (with a good intention) in sharing sessions. They think I have stage fright, or I can’t come up with things to say, or I have problem disclosing information about myself. To some quiet people, these assumptions might be true, but for me, I don’t find expressing myself difficult.

    I hope this article gives you more insight to quiet people and I’m sure you gain more perspective on how yourself or others think!

    More by this author

    Frank Yung

    Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

    Your Future Self Will Thank You For Starting To Do This For Only 10 Minutes Every Day 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price Finally, a Way to Avoid Jet Lag: The Jet Lag Calculator The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017 Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2019

    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

    When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

    Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

    It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

    While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

    Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

    What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

    How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

    It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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    People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

    “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

    In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

    Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

    As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

    When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

    It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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    What are Interpersonal Skills?

    Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

    In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

    From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

    For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

    Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

    How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

    There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

    There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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    Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

    I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

    Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

    “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

    Don’t overlook introspection.

    While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

    Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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    When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

    Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

    “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

    The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

    The Bottom Line

    You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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