Just because I’m more extroverted than introverted doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate my alone time. I don’t always want to engage in conversation, chime in on Slack, voice my opinion in meetings, or even weigh in on where our team should go to lunch next month.
Sometimes, I feel best when I withdraw, focus intently on my work, and use my voice sparingly. This has been especially true lately, given the intense political climate. I’ve certainly found some comfort in engaging with friends, family, and colleagues—both in person and online—but I’ve also found quite a bit of solace in claiming a quiet sanctuary and choosing to embrace my quieter side when smart, coherent words seem to fail me.
While you’ve no doubt read article after article about how (and why) to speak up first in meetings, how to get more comfortable in brainstorming sessions, how to respond when your boss puts you on the spot, rest assured that you, my friend, are totally, 100% fine if you haven’t got much to say.
This undersold fact is why I so appreciated a recent Introvert, Dear post by Allison P. who says just that in an article titled, “Being quiet is not a character flaw.”
You don’t need to make excuses or apologize for who you are.
One short sentence that serves as such a powerful reminder. The author talks about coming to this realization years and years after being told that she should be more outgoing, that she should speak up more. It may have taken her 20-odd years to accept her quiet nature as being an integral part of herself, but at least she figured it out.
If you’ve ever taken a personality test or if you vehemently identify as an introvert, hopefully you too know and love your chill demeanor. And if you’re an ambivert or like me—sometimes very vocal, other times quiet and withdrawn—then you know you have nothing to apologize for.
You’re no less intelligent, successful, or valued on the days you’re less up for carrying on a conversation, even if that’s most days. You are still an important contributor to your team and to your company and they’ve hopefully recognized that through your continued hard work and accomplishments.
“You do you” is still a popular mantra, and hopefully always will be.
Photo of person working quietly courtesy of People Images/Getty Images.