Today we have a special treat. My super cute wife, Rachel, has written us a very special guest post for us. I will not attempt to describe it, but it is a beautiful post.
The people who know me best know that I am naturally a quieter person. I always have been and it is just part of my introverted personality.
Quiet is not a synonym for shy or anxious. However while I am shy and do have severe anxiety, I will not be focusing as much on those two here. That is completely separate topic with a thousand questions to explore. I will be focusing mainly on the misunderstood quietness that I, and many others seem to naturally have.
I will admit this right away, I hate small talk. It is uncomfortable and feels like an artificial roadblock to a deeper conversation of which I am very fond. However it is seen as a social necessity most of the time. If you try to small talk with me you will find out I am bad at it within the first fifteen seconds.
If you put me in a room full of people and they are all talking about this or that, I am usually just sitting back, listening or probably daydreaming. I have been mistaken for being rude when really I am just uncomfortable or preferring to stay quiet! (I think RBF is a big contributor to that one though.) But if someone mentions something that is close to my heart, something I am passionate about, most of the time I will willingly join the conversation. (Little girls who watch My Little Pony often tell me I am “just like Fluttershy.”) My husband knows this about me, and is always kind and accepting. He lets me sit next to him quietly, and gives me his full attention if I happen to have something to say.
When you are a quiet, introverted person, you are familiar with being told many things that you eventually learn to just roll your eyes at. “Get out of your shell” “Why are you so quiet?” “You need to try to be more outgoing” “You aren’t trying hard enough.” And if you are like me, you have also been told one that stuck the most “No one will want to be with you because you are too quiet. You need to change or you will never get married.” Ouch. Yes, well meaning, but misguided people have actually said this to me, and I am sure to others.
I am here to tell you this is not true.
I remember being 18 at school in Nor Cal, and someone telling me that my prince wasn’t going to find me hiding in a castle reading a book. I needed to present myself and change my quiet ways or he wouldn’t find me. While I agreed that I would have been hard to find while hiding in a princess tower under covers reading a book with a flashlight, I also didn’t want to compromise myself. I was always asked to go to college night clubs with friends, and it just wasn’t my thing. I hate parties and loud noises. If I do go to one, my whole body screams from sensory overload. I have lost a few friends because they felt I wasn’t “Trying hard enough” by not going enjoying myself as much in social settings. While I still avoided parties, I decided that I would try to be open to going out just a little bit more, while also respecting my own personal space and sensory limits. Doing this is okay!
As Susan Cain puts it in her book Quiet.. “Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured…Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.”
As I stated above, quiet introversion is not a synonym for shy or types of anxiety. People can benefit from seeking help for social anxiety or other issues. We were not meant to live in fear. If natural, quiet introversion is who you were created to be, then there is nothing wrong with that and it does NOT make you unlovable. In fact, you probably have the most love to give! You carry incredible depth, you are intriguing, you have insight, you are lovable.
I wasn’t searching for a boyfriend or a husband. I would pray for whoever it was I God had for me to marry, but I wasn’t seeking him out. I mainly spent my time alone, enjoying it. Solitude helps me think and process and is where I truly feel at peace and like myself. I’m not bored or hiding, I honestly enjoy it!
That same year I was 18, I went to school one day after battling whether I should go or not. My main carpool was on a missions trip, and my one friend I sat with every day was also absent. I fought the “Flight and hide” feeling and asked for a ride from an acquaintance at the last minute. I walked in and took a seat in the only empty row. I noticed a guy sitting in front of me who kept glancing back at me. Later on he talked with me, and a few days later he asked me out.
Previously every time a guy would ask me out, I would immediately say no without even thinking. Just no. A friend in high school actually told me that guys stopped asking me out because word got around I would just say no! It was embarrassing then, but it’s pretty funny to me now. I paused and thought about it, and realized I genuinely wanted to. So I said yes for the first time. He was a complete gentleman, and wasn’t the least bit phased by my quietness. If I would gaze down not knowing what to say he would kindly bring my attention forward and gently ask me questions without putting pressure on me. I was cold so he offered me his jacket. I felt very comfortable around him, and like I could be myself! There wasn’t any pressure to come up with small talk or pretend to be more extroverted, he was interested in me. We found quickly we had a lot of common interests, and we talked for a long time about them. I later asked him if my quietness and shyness deterred him, and he simply said “No, I just knew you were a little more quiet and shy. I knew it would take a little more time and effort to get to know you, but I was willing to take that challenge and it was worth it.
Tell me that doesn’t melt you heart. It melted mine! We dated for a year, were engaged when I was 19 and married when I was 20. We fell in love, and it is a love that I can be myself in!
I don’t have to pretend to be more outgoing, he accepts me for who I am. My husband is an ambivert (a combination of Extrovert and Introvert), he enjoys solitude as I do, but also has no problem being in crowds or with public speaking. He is a risk taker and I love him for it. He compliments me and I compliment him. I actually am most outgoing and talkative with him. When we are home alone I get bouts of hyperness and can be very talkative to the point where he has to pause the television because I have so much to say. We laugh and get into tickle fights.
I feel 100% comfortable around him and he is one of the only people that sees the whole me. He does push me to be the best me, so if I am saying no to something out of fear, he will talk me through it. But he respects my likes and dislikes, and knows when I am ready to leave a party and excuses us so I won’t get overwhelmed. He knows I like quiet coffee dates and little adventures to rose gardens. He will hold my hand as I walk around smelling each flower enjoying the quiet, peaceful beauty even though he would rather be at the comic book store. He accepts me for me, while also seeing my potential and gently pushing me to take some risks. My art wouldn’t be hanging up in a coffee shop right not if it wasn’t for him seeing my potential and helping me step out. You will also find the one who compliments you, no matter what level of quietness you carry.
What I am trying to convey through all of this is if you are quiet, if you are naturally more introverted, you are also lovable. You are not too difficult to get to know. You are not unworthy of the time it takes to build a relationship with you. God has the right person for you, and will shine the light on them when the time is right. They will love you for who you are and you will blossom into your best self with them. Do not listen to the lies of those who would tell you that you will not find love because of your quietness. The western world definitely favors more outgoing, extroverted personalities, but there will be that one person out there who favors you.
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