shae asks: My friend’s daughter told her father that I am quiet and it really hurt me, and now my daddy calls me his “quiet daughter,” and it makes me go in the bathroom and cry. What should I do when people say they do not notice me and it hurts my feelings?
Hi Shae –
Well first let me just say that a lot of our neighbors here wish I was quiet, and would like me a lot better if I were. So being quiet isn’t necessarily such a bad thing!
And I’m curious about why it hurt you so badly that someone called you that. What’s so bad about being quiet? Lots of people prefer quieter people as friends, employees, coworkers, etc. There are all those old proverbs like “Flies don’t enter a closed mouth,” telling people that silence is often a virtue. There are SO much worse qualities! People could say you’re mean, or you’re unlikable, or you’re a cat (oh, excuse me, my attitude’s getting out again!).
But that’s just my opinion. It sounds like you’d really like to be less quiet and get noticed more. So how do you do that? Any way you want! But a few suggestions would be:
1) Talk more. It’ll be uncomfortable at first, but make yourself do it. Talk more with your family (so at least your daddy stops calling you his quiet daughter), talk more in your classes (but just when you’re supposed to – I don’t want to get you into trouble!), and especially talk more with the other kids at school. It’s okay if it’s hard to do, just work through it.
2) Try dressing in louder colors. Don’t wear things that make you too self-conscious, but can you dress a little brighter, a little hipper, a little more interesting? That’ll help get you noticed.
3) Indulge your passions! What are you really into? If you’re a huge science-fiction fan, let people see you carrying around the sci-fi books you love. If you’re a big fan of a musical artist or band, wear a t-shirt with them on it. Advertise what you love!
4) Find like-minded people. Can you find other people at school who have similar interests to yours? And if so, is there a group that you can join? School paper, orchestra, swimming, or even dog-lovers? If there’s nothing at school, if you go to a place of worship, can you get involved with a group of people there? The trick is to get into a group where you’ll be TALKING MORE! And the more your interests and passions are engaged, the easier that will be.
5) Be Best at Something! Is there something you know more about, or are better at, than anyone at the school? Is there a way you can use that, and get people interested in you? Handsome was once known at his school as the biggest Roy Orbison fan there. I’ll bet you can find something that your school would find a bigger deal than that!
So there’s my best advice. But as much as you do these things, always remember that it’s totally okay to be quiet too. Even Roy Orbison, with his giant voice, is remembered as a very quiet man. And as loved as any singer ever.
But in the meantime, here’s a toast to you, that when people hear your name in the future, they think of it the way it’s actually spelled, S-H-A-E, and not as just “Shy!”