Until you get to know me properly (which is rare), you will most likely think of me as the quiet one. That’s if you even notice me at all if I haven’t faded into the background.
Growing up I realised I was different to my close friends and the majority of people around me. It was actually only in secondary school I realised, but I didn’t understand or find anything in me to make me behave differently.
It was here I just labelled myself as socially awkward. In some respects, I feel the term quite fitting to my life now, but I suppose it’s not good to stick that kind of label on myself.
I have a handful of friends from school, had a handful at college and a handful at uni. I’m perfectly okay with that but sometimes I don’t feel i belong or fit in with the rest of the world.
Is there space for the quieter ones amongst us?
Looking back, there are a few memories that stick with me.
- Changing schools in reception. I was sat on a table of children who were talking. Did i join in the conversation? Of course not! Despite the fact that I was young, nervous and all the rest of it, I don’t think it was because I had just started, because this is the kind of behaviour that my adult self displays. I don’t randomly join conversations that aren’t really directed towards me when in a new group of people. I don’t know what to say, I don’t really have anything to say perhaps.
- During college. A trip away for a few days, I was paired in a room with a girl who I don’t actually like, as well as being the quiet person in the class. This means it was extremely awkward. I don’t expect anyone to go out of their way and try, but it would be nice… Anyway back to the point of the story – on the way back the girl was sharing with the teacher how I didn’t really talk to her. And the teacher said to another a comment along the lines of “there’s nothing worse than a teenager who doesn’t talk” for me to hear. Sorry, what? I do talk! Just to very specific people and when I have something to say, not for the sake of it. I felt like crap after that trip.
- Job interview. Well job interview feedback. I can’t lie, for a group interview I feel like I did a great job. The feedback was along the lines of “We were in two minds whether to hire you, but you seemed quite average compared to the others. This was at the age of 17, and I hadn’t dont much because I was actually too shy to get involved in things while growing up. Average. Nice. The other candidates were of a similar age. We had one young girl who could sing and had sung at this catherdral and this event, and one boy who had been skiing and had formed a band… I felt like my life wasn’t enough at that point. At the age of 17 I was expected to have done amazing things because others my age had? ok then.
- University. During the first few weeks we had an essay writing session. During the first one we had an ice breaker where we were required to share our name, where we were from and something interesting about ourselves. But of course little old average me didn’t have anything interesting did I? Between me and my partner, the most we could come up with was the mix of ethnicity(?). Giving feedback the lecturer said “well that’s not very interesting is it?” So I was the only one in a group of 30 who had nothing interesting and basically wasn’t interesting. As you can imagine, uni was very tough for me to begin with, so that didn’t help my spirits. I felt like absolute crap.
There are other things I notice too. I tend to use laughter as sort of a filler in group situations. Like “I have nothing to respond or nothing new to say but i laughed at your point so you remember i’m still here.”
I’m looking for a job at the moment, and there’s always that point about companies looking for the “right fit” – someone who will fit in well with the team.
I feel like i’ll never fit in anywhere.
Someone today at a group event pointed out i’m very quiet.
What do they expect me to say? I am very aware.
Do you ever feel like society is too focussed on the extroverts/loud and outgoing people about?
I still have good morals and a good heart.
I can do most things just as well as them…
kind of just needed to rant..