Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Don't call my niece shy

My face when you say something about my niece being quiet. (via)

It's probably fair to say that when it comes to my 4-year-old niece, I'm a little bit biased. I can't help it. I watched that little girl come into the world and that does something to you, you know?

At 4, she's got lots to say and she throws around phrases like "meddling sycophants" (which I think is a Scooby Doo reference) without blinking, but she gets a little reserved around people she isn't comfortable with yet. And this leads some people to make comments like, "oh, you're so shy!" or "how quiet you are!" And I know it's not ill-intentioned, but here's what happens when you call out a shy person for being shy:

1) They become even more shy because now they're self-conscious about being shy and the system overloads.


2) They become super awkward because they are trying to over-compensate for being shy.

And you know what? My niece doesn't need that. She might grow up to be an extremely outgoing person... or she might grow up to be an incredibly shy person, but for now new people make her a little cautious.

But, while I've written about being shy before, I'm really over shyness being treated like it's something that needs to be fixed. And I'm really, really over being labeled as shy just because I don't constantly have a stream of words coming out of my mouth.

So I guess what I want to say is: Outgoing people who can't handle the sounds of silence, stop projecting your shit onto my niece.

Okay, I know. I know. I don't really mean that. I love outgoing people--they bring me out of my shell and they are the perfect people to have as your best friend. But there are already a million pressures on young people, do we really need to add "being outgoing with all people, all the time" to that list?

Not to mention, it's kind of bullshit that when someone is described as having a "big personality" what people really mean is that they are loud, as if that alone makes someone interesting.

You can be loud and boring and you can be shy and boring, and it's not determined by how many words you say in one day.

But, I mean, I still wish I could be like Jennifer Lawrence. OBVIOUSLY. Just leave my niece out of it, okay?


  1. Tell those people to just take a step back from little avita, or else. I know you mean and I have been described as having a big personality, but I like to think it's in a grand way, not in the SHUT YOUR FACE WAY. It's actually really great that she's cautious because it means she's thinking about those peeps and you can't just trust ANYONE. Way to be shrewd at a young age, child, way to be.

  2. Love this: "Outgoing people who can't handle the sounds of silence, stop projecting your shit onto my niece." Because people talking about my shy niece like she can't understand them just make her more uncomfortable. And maybe she, as an already discerning individual and classy lady, just isn't interested in some random stranger bending down and baby-talking her.

    Also, I want to tell this to everyone who STILL points out that I'm shy/quiet within two minutes of meeting me, instead of giving them confused looks like I always do. I suck at comebacks.

  3. Seriously--why can't some people handle silence?? I went to beauty school with a few folks like that. I'd be happily reading a book on my lunch break and they'd walk into the lunch room and in a few seconds start shouting at me, "Rachel, you're so quiet! Doesn't it seem way too quiet in here? Are you okay?"
    Silence is okay too.

  4. Haha, you DO have a big personality. But it's not just because you're loud and obnoxious! (Love you!) And Ava is very discerning in her tastes. Some people just won't do.

  5. Ugh, me too. Nevermind how annoying it is to be told you're shy five minutes after meeting someone. The fuck do you know? Maybe I just don't feel like talking to you. I just hate how we have to be CONSTANTLY talking to not get written off as shy. Go away.

  6. Haha, yes it is! Sometimes it's way more preferable, even. I love to chat/gossip/etc with people, but sometimes I just don't feel the need to say anything. Why can't more people have moments like that?

  7. Yep, you can't win. I hate being around people who make me self-conscious about my shyness because I'm constantly thinking, "okay talk more so they don't think you're boring." Except nobody likes the person who tries too hard. And why do I even care what they think?

  8. I have a friend who always does this. It'll be the one night that I'm having trouble getting into the social swing of things, and she always has to say, "You're so quiet." Ah, yes. How helpful. Now I feel pressured to talk but still have nothing to say.
    P.S. Loving your "dunce musings"! Oh, and "meddling sycophants" is adorable.

  9. UGH. The "you're so quiet" comments are the worst and then the subsequent pressure to talk. If I wanted to talk, I would! Leave me alone. And honestly, I'm surprised a 4-year-old could distinguish "meddling sycophants" enough to repeat. Like those words definitely couldn't have been in her vocabulary before Scooby Doo.