How to Be Very Quiet and Reserved

Two Parts:Being Quiet and ReservedHaving Conversations with Others

Being a quiet person has its ups and downs. Many people view being quiet/reserved as being overly shy or even disinterested, though this is often not the case. Being more quiet/reserved is not so much a social change as a personal choice. With a little practice and understanding you can be quiet and reserved while keeping all of your friends and still being yourself.

Part 1
Being Quiet and Reserved

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    Find friends who understand you. A common misconception about people who are quiet or reserved is that they do not have any friends. This is simply not true. In fact, some quiet/reserved individuals find it easier to build strong friendships with people, in part because they focus on getting to know the other person instead of making idle small talk or going on about themselves.[1]
    • You don't necessarily need to find friends who are also quiet/reserved, but you should ensure that the people you surround yourself with are understanding of your quiet/reserved tendencies.
    • Seek out people who are understanding and accepting. If you don't know who in your social circle might be understanding and accepting, try talking to people and getting to know them.
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    Try to be more self-aware. Some quiet, reserved individuals find that their personality traits allow them to tap into their own feelings.[2] Recognizing and understanding how you feel about a person, idea, or subject is an important part of cultivating self-awareness, which can help you better navigate the world.
    • Make time to reflect on your day. If you're working on being more quiet and introspective, you should have some spare time to reflect on yourself and your day.[3]
    • Figure out which of your life's experiences have been the most meaningful or enlightening, and examine why and how those experiences changed you.[4]
    • When you do talk with others who are close to you, ask them for honest feedback about your behavior and your ideas. Let them know that you want to be more aware of yourself and the way you think and act, and that an outsider's perspective would be very useful in helping you learn more about yourself.[5]
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    Cultivate your interests. Many introverted personality types devote a lot of time and energy towards something they're passionate about.[6] Though this obviously is not an absolute for all quiet/reserved individuals, it is a common trait, and it may help you become more grounded and comfortable in your quiet/reserved personality.
    • Think back to your childhood. What activities did you enjoy doing the most? If you loved drawing/finger painting, perhaps you could take up art. If you loved reading and writing, try taking a writing class. The things that were most meaningful to you at an early age of development are probably still lingering in your mind just below the surface.[7]
    • If you still can't figure out where your passions lie, think about the things in your life now that spark your curiosity. What excites you in your day-to-day life?[8]
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    Learn to navigate social situations. If you're a quiet/reserved individual, chances are you feel intimidated or frustrated with many social situations. For some people, even going shopping can be stressful because of the interactions with strangers it will require. Fortunately, there are some ways you can navigate social situations which reduce your stress and discomfort, including:
    • wearing headphones while walking, taking public transportation, or browsing in a store[9]
    • avoiding people who seem upset or irritated[10]
    • avoiding or politely disengaging from small talk with strangers[11]

Part 2
Having Conversations with Others

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    Find a comfortable environment. If you're a quiet and reserved individual, you may not be comfortable carrying on a personal conversation in the middle of a mall or school cafeteria. Many people with introverted tendencies find it easier and less stressful to carry on conversations in a quiet, more relaxed atmosphere. If at all possible, you may want to seek out a comfortable place to have a conversation before it begins.[12]
    • Loud, chaotic environments are usually not very conducive to thoughtful and reflective conversations. The noise will most likely force both of you to speak louder and more directly, which may in itself be intimidating for some people.[13]
    • Some people find that an uncomfortably warm environment is also disruptive to reflective thinking.[14]
    • Understand where you're most comfortable, and try to arrange conversations in or around similar environments as much as possible.
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    Practice your listening skills. Quiet, reserved people tend to be good listeners.[15] That's because people with these personality traits tend to think and process information before speaking.[16] People often seek introverted personality types when they need someone to help with a problem or give advice.[17]
    • Listen carefully to everything the other person is saying.[18]
    • Decide when to respond and what to say. Keep your responses concise and to a minimum.[19]
    • Think before you give any response at all.[20]
    • If you need some time to gather your thoughts before you respond, say something like, "Hmm. I have something to say on the matter, but let me have a moment to think this through."[21]
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    Ask a lot of questions. Questions are a great way for a quiet/reserved individual to get to know others. Asking questions lets you converse with another person without feeling pressured to talk endlessly about idle things, which many quiet/reserved people find intimidating or uninteresting.[22]
    • The best questions to ask are open-ended questions. Don't set up simple yes/no questions. Instead, listen closely to the things the other person says, and ask probing questions that show both an interest in the story and an honest desire to get to know the person better.[23]
    • Instead of asking yes/no questions like, "Did you like growing up in Florida?" ask open-ended questions that require discussion, such as, "What was it like growing up in Florida? What were your favorite/least-favorite things about living there?"
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    Be yourself. Remember that there is no shame in being quiet and reserved. In fact, in some countries, being quiet is seen as a desirable trait![24] And when you speak less and listen more, you avoid inadvertently insulting someone through miscommunication.[25] Plus, when you do meet people you enjoy communicating with, it will make your interactions that much more meaningful.


  • Always be yourself.
  • Find your own comfort zone. You may need to balance being quiet with interacting with others, especially if your job or school obligations require you to converse with strangers. Find a way to mange conversations that makes you comfortable while still allowing you to be who you are.

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Categories: Overcoming Shyness & Insecurities