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Introverted Or Conceited? The Social Challenge Facing Quiet Women In India

Posted: March 18, 2016

Are quiet women conceited? Or just introverts less inclined towards ‘a good chat’? Is it then fair to label them thus?

“How are you? You never call me up!”

“I am fine. How are you doing?”

“Great. So, tell me about your vacation. What’s cooking for dinner? Are you two parents-to-be yet?”

Holding on to the phone, trying to frame answers that match the inflow of questions, I am already exhausted. I worry that I’ll zone out. But more than that, I worry that displaying a lack of enthusiasm will further a flawed conviction. A conviction that I am too conceited to keep in touch with my personal and professional network.

This theory equating a reserved nature with a scornful nature is based on reasons I personally find absurd – you are a working woman, you live independently with your husband, you have a small friend circle, you don’t often take the initiative to call/message people, you don’t regularly stay in sync with WhatsApp groups, you don’t like/comment on your family and friends’ Facebook posts…Lady, what are you if not conceited and oh-so-better-than-everyone-else?

Let’s face it. The world has always been a difficult place for introverts. Admittedly, this holds true for both men and women, and possibly in countries around the world. But introverted women, while transitioning through their many different roles, can really have a hard time.

There is the constant comparison to the vibrant cousin who is the life of all parties, so much so that potential grooms fall over themselves vying for her hand. As an introverted daughter-in-law struggling to make sense of all her new relatives, it’s better to become all pally overnight. As a mom, you need to organize play-dates, have lengthy conversations with other moms in the park, and participate wholeheartedly in other kids’ birthday parties.

All wonderful propositions in themselves, but what about the women who prefer to show love with say, a hand-written letter instead of a mandatory Skype call? Those moms who love doing activities with their children themselves and stick to their old friend-circle from before they became parents?

I have always been a quiet person. Translated – I don’t enjoy long conversations over the phone, avoid hanging out in big groups, and prefer to spend Friday nights eating pizza and watching a film at home. As I grew up, my family, teachers and friends endeavoured to draw me out of my shell, but eventually accepted that I operate best in less-talk-involved settings.

I don’t suggest that this is ideal. As social creatures, we need other people. We need to fraternize, converse, share. But being an introvert is like being wide-eyed or black-haired. It’s how you are; you can’t snap out of it.

There are umpteen ways to express your love for the people in your life – conversation, a hug, a surprise visit, a hot meal, a knowing smile, support. As introverts, we may be less inclined towards the first. But does that make us conceited, under-confident or uncaring? I think not.

Finally, what do I hope to achieve through this post? Just a little more understanding and consideration for introversion. There is a multitude of people out there – withdrawn, outgoing, social, reserved. Just as we shouldn’t label an extroverted woman a social butterfly, incapable of committing to deep relationships, we should also give introverts the freedom to spend time with themselves at the end of a day. Their unwillingness to chat you up all the time doesn’t imply antagonism, indifference or scorn. It only implies that they want some quiet time.

It’s the talking that we don’t particularly like. Not you.

Image source: a quiet woman by Shutterstock.

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  1. well said…..please BE WHAT YOU ARE…..

  2. You exactly echoed my thoughts….amazing…kudos to you

  3. I identify with your voice in this post. I have always had enough friends and family with whom I am very sociable, however I am still regarded as introverted because of my inability or unwillingness to be randomly friendly with unknown strangers.(like you, I am often compared with more extroverted people in the hope that I feel pitted against them in a competition to prove myself, worthy of acceptance!!) However it has ceased to bother me at all that I am a low ranking individual on the sociability scale!! As I grow older I realise that unlike most -neither do I have a need to vent nor to hear the daily hum drum nitty-gritty details of people’s personal lives !! Somehow it doesn’t interest me as much as, perhaps, it seems it should. To me silence has been a friend and a refuge I run to when I’m feeling overwhelmed with a problem that needs a solution or when I need a break from the clutter of voices and noises of people around, clamouring for attention. From my readings on spirituality I gather, silence is the window to your own soul and understanding of yourself, so it appears its a pursuit we can indulge in even more with little guilt. It is what meditation prescribes for better emotional and mental wellbeing. It certainly isn’t arrogance or indifference but rather wisdom that makes one go within and not outside for entertainment or distraction, peace or happiness. Like you said connecting with other people on one’s own wavelength in a way that offers comfort to ourselves and concern to others is a social need that we all share and must continue. However we must choose our own style and definition of the how, why and when this need may be fulfilled. Offer no explanations, seek no acceptance, be free and content to do what you heart thinks best and of course everything in moderation is a good way to go.

  4. Pingback: Top 3 Tips to Survive an Awkward Phone Conversation | Of Paneer, Pulao and Pune

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