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Introverts and the "why bother talking?" attitude


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So I'm an introvert, and when I'm in groups of people, I run into some frustration when I try to speak up. Awhile back, I realized that I need to pay attention to timing -- getting my comments in there almost before someone has finished what they're going to say because if I wait until they're completely done, someone else typically jumps in. I'm learning ...


But there's one other issue I haven't figured out yet, and that's my own "why bother?" attitude. It creeps in when I speak up and don't feel like anyone listens to me or takes into consideration what I'm saying. I'll admit, I go kind of passive at that point, and I have a problem overcoming that. (I should add that I'm naturally a very good listener, so my expectations of others' listening skills is probably way too high.)


Some examples:


- Being in a group that's trying to figure out directions somewhere. It's clear the other people are just guessing. I don't tend to speak up unless I know, so when I'm sure of how to get somewhere, I'll speak up. But because I'm not the loudest person, people don't believe me and keep guessing as to how to get to the place.

- Being asked what I think we should order if our group is sharing food at a restaurant. I say what I think. When it comes time to order, my choice isn't part of the group's order but other people's are, and they didn't necessarily hammer in their preferences. (What am I -- chopped liver?? )


Anyway, what I'd really like to get your thoughts on here is about motivation, and the answer to this question: Why SHOULD I bother talking?


I'm not the world's best storyteller (well, I am with a certain few friends), but I understand that it's up to me to say things worth saying. Honestly, though, sometimes I just don't bother saying what I'm thinking because I don't think others will really listen, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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I'm an introvert as well, and I've noticed much the same things you have mentioned in your post. I think part of the problem of why people may not be as inclined to listen is because, as an introvert, my narratives sometimes come off as less than "natural." I say that because I am very calculating and careful with speech. I'll often formulate a sentence that I am going to say, and then realize the wording is not as I want it to come off to the group, so there is a partial delay as I re-formulate the concepts/ideas in a new way. Quite the opposite, I think extroverts go with the flow more. For them, they would take the first formulation of the sentence and roll with it.


So maybe part of the solution may be to let language roll more naturally. How to do that I am not too sure. I don't know if you're the same as I've described above, but I have a hunch you are at least somewhat similar because it seems to be a common theme among introverts. Also, are you generally assertive when you speak? If not, maybe being more forceful when you talk will cause others to listen more, whereby the self-fulfilling prophecy can potentially be defeated.

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Hey that happens to me too! I often say something, and the others don't even hear me, and talk over me. I guess that obviously I didnt speak loud enough. I remember something I was told long ago, that if you're half hearted about what you're saying, naturally the others are not going to take notice of it. That made sense. Often I'm half hearted about saying something. As you say you have 'why bother' attitude, maybe that's true of you too. On the other hand, imagine there's some topic you feel strongly about or passionate about, what will the difference be in the way you speak about that topic if it comes up? If you're enthusiastic about what you're talking about, others will pick up on that and will take an interest. Another thing I've discovered is that timing is important. Say something as soon as you think of it, don't wait and decide whether to say it or not and then say it. Again, in that case, the enthusiasm is lost with the lack of spontaneity. It's a matter of letting go rather than trying too hard.

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I find making that first impression of being outspoken goes a long way.

If you are known to be quiet, the people who are more outspoken will interrupt you.

Especially the ones who think they know it all.


It's a learned thing for us.

It took me a while to become outspoken.

I think what helped me was my roles over the years in occupations where I have been the person taking the lead.

When done enough, it became easier and easier.

There was a period in my life where I would be silent even if I knew what to say, because I literally could not put it into words.

I would just go blank and fear what I would say.

thinking I would make a fool out of myself.


I find, if you are sure of something, then know that you can speak up and speak up with confidence.

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I sure feel better knowing I'm not alone. Thanks for understanding, you guys!


Penseur, your name is apt and you are right. The "think first, speak later" plan doesn't help me to come off naturally. As a result, I rely a LOT on whether or not I'm getting positive feedback, and if I'm not, then I get more hesitant, which makes me sound even LESS natural!


Similarly, offplanet, I agree it's better to let go, follow my enthusiasm and speak wholeheartedly rather than *trying* harder. I've noticed that quality in other people (trying harder), and yeah, it doesn't inspire great conversation. It's like the emotion is more important than the actual words. Would you agree?


I like your point about confidence and being outspoken, In the Dark. I tend to complicate matters by thinking "I don't feel like 'shouting,'" when really -- it's all about skill, not about what I feel like doing or don't feel like doing.

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I personally wouldn't bother if it requires you thinking about what to say next (so that you're not really listening to what is being said) and interrupting. I would practice speaking skills/social skills in one on one situations so that you're not competing and you can listen to what the person is saying rather than focus on what your response is. And if you know how to get somewhere then practice saying that in a voice that is authoritative (but still pleasant) and use good posture when you say it to remind yourself of that mindset.

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I am an extrovert, but I find there are different degrees to it. While I've cut people off more than a share of time in conversation, if I tend to notice that several people keep cutting each other off and are aggressive with their ideas, then I will stop talking and sit back. I usually like to share listening and talking half and half, so if I meet someone introverted, and they don't talk to me back - I am in crap because I can't keep blabbing. I think most people like to have give and take conversations.

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I'm an INTJ myself, so I can relate. I will say, though that there is a difference in "tendencies" and "behaviors". Introversion is a tendency, a default or a preferred position. It doesn't have to be a behavior. While most of the time, I'd prefer not to bring attention to myself, I will do so, forcefully, even, if I consider it necessary. So forcefully, in fact that I've had to dial it down from time to time. You would think that would NOT make me an introvert, but remember we are talking about behavior vs. tendency. As with all behaviors, the more you do it, the better you are.


As for the speaking up, it's harder in groups. I would say that interrupting is perhaps more allowable in groups than in one on one. As long as you are respectful. (i.e., Have you considered? What about?) Finally, I wouldn't consider whether you are listened to or not. Sometimes you will be, sometimes you won't. That's life. If it's important, speak up. If you don't care, there's nothing wrong with being the observer.

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I guess I'm both introvert and extrovert, depends on part of life we're talking about. E.g. when it comes to dancing, ye I'm complete show off, but when it comes to talking I'm not. The thing is, I used to be shy and not talk much, but then I learned to talk a lot and even more when drunk, and I took both way to their extreme. There was a party once where I didn't say a word. Literally. They asked me at the end if I ever talk at all, I just nod my head and left. there were parties where I talked and talked and talked, people had to tell me to shut up. I guess it depends on the crowd really....


But what I have learned, it's better for me, especially with random people or unknowns, to start off by talking less. So I go with short sentences, speaking slowly and thinking and choosing the words as I talk. Because I know of myself that I'm too honest for most of the people and it does me no good to tell certain things to everyone. So I got my close-to-me group of people who I can tell anything. And it works great.


I just haven't mastered the ''bridge'' between these two groups..and sometimes I tell some people things I shouldn't have told them, but that's lack of judgement on my side anyway. So a different issue.

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I am always interested in how introverts think. I'm an extreme extrovert and am trying to understand why it is difficult for some people to talk in a group. I have trouble shutting up and that can be as embarassing as not saying anything. It takes both kinds of people in this world, so don't worry about it. Why are you nervous about talking? It's just talking, no one will kill you if you aren't brilliant or anything. Just relax and well...talk.

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Why are you nervous about talking? It's just talking, no one will kill you if you aren't brilliant or anything. Just relax and well...talk.


Well, there's much more to a simple act of talking than ''it's just talking''. Perhaps because I find my interest in psychology and connections of life between like everything, I tend to think of these things differently and see them in different perspective. Which I believe gives me a small edge over other people in many situations.


The thing is, when you are talking, then not only the choice of words, phrasing your sentences but also the tone and tells something about you. It tells about the way you think and feel at the moment. Excited person will speak of the same thing differently than a person that's feeling down, even tho' the latter successfully manages to fake a smile.


I think that many introverts realize this, most of them not consciously, but subconsciously - they just feel it. They realize the connection between their whole life and how it gets displayed through their choice of clothing, choice of words when talking, their attitude and feelings are served on a silver plate to the audience. Perhaps this realization makes it uncomfortable for them to speak up in the first place. Of course, a lot of people doesn't pay attention to these details and they go unnoticed, but someone who realize all of this doesn't care about those that don't notice. To them every person could just as well be capable of noticing and this fear holds them back from expressing themselves.


Now what fear am I talking about. Again, there might be many insecurities, but in general I'd say that it's because one is not happy with his own life in one way or another. And this feeling of disagreement between actual real life and the image of ideal life they'd like to have provokes feeling of fear of judgments of others.


So in conclusion, being afraid of what others will think of you might be one of many causes. This all is related to self-esteem and self-confidence. But I don't wanna get into that cuz the topic just too big to talk about it in here.


This is my personal point of view and I'm an introvert when it comes to talking, above are the things I consider and reasons why I hold back most of the time. I want to change it, thus all the analysis, but the problem with this change or any other personality change is that it takes so freaking long to settle since changing core beliefs in oneself doesn't happen over night (most of the time anyway).

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I am always interested in how introverts think. I'm an extreme extrovert and am trying to understand why it is difficult for some people to talk in a group. I have trouble shutting up and that can be as embarassing as not saying anything. It takes both kinds of people in this world, so don't worry about it. Why are you nervous about talking? It's just talking, no one will kill you if you aren't brilliant or anything. Just relax and well...talk.


In general, an introvert will find interactions with others draining, whereas an extrovert finds it energizing. I am not sure why this is so, but when you become exhausted after two hours of meet, greet and small talk, you tend not to seek it out.

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I'm an introvert.........extremely introverted at the time........but I couldn't agree more with "why bother talking?" Seems that for the most part, people don't really care anyway, they are too consumed with their own thoughts, so why bother? K8tie Kool, your words could have come out of my mouth. I agree with everything you said and have had the same things happen to me. I figure that when I DO talk, I'm usually misunderstood because what comes out my mouth isn't the way I was thinking it in my head anyway.....OR.....when I DON"T talk.....I'm misunderstood as being unfriendly or stuck up. So......why not do what's most comfortable for me and....not talk? Just my opinion.

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