Another "Quiet" Problem

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Another "Quiet" Problem
7
Sun, 08-03-2003 - 8:14pm
The past 2 posts were about being quiet. I am so glad I read them since I am going through a bad time right now dealing with people not liking me because I am quiet. Friday night I overheard my boyfriends parents tell my boyfriend that I am too quiet. They said that I don't "embrace" the family and they really don't understand why he is with me. His father even said he thought he was only with me because he felt sorry for me. That last comment really hurt me. I know I am quiet. I am insecure and I think most people won't like me when I meet them. I can never think of anything to say when I meet people. I have been with my boyfriend over 2 and a half years and I have always been quiet around his family. Why now they decide to say something is beyond me. I do talk when I am in a comfortable setting but I guess I have never really felt comfortable around his family or even his friends. Maybe I sub-consciously assumed they wouldn't like me. I don't think I deserve a happy relationship. So, I remain uncomfortable since I think they don't like me. I think I am not good enough. But now I feel like I have ruined this relationship. I cannot go back over his parents house. Not after hearing what his parents said about me. But what is it about quiet people? Why is that so bad? Why am I consider such a bad person - that the only reason anyone would want to date me is because they feel sorry for me? I know a am better than that but maybe I present myself in a negative way? Does any of this make sense?
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-1999
Mon, 08-04-2003 - 8:59am
I have a few questions for your first. Did you boyfreind defend you? If so, what did he say. When you got home did you confront him about this conversation you overheard. If so, I am interested in what he said.

I hear you. Sometimes I tend to be quiet too. Even around my own family. Like you sometimes I feel people won't find anything I say interesting. Other times I just don't want to sound like I am bragging. Take the July 4th weekend, I went over to a cousin's house for a BBQ. I should have crowed about my new condo, etc., but I didn't. Instead I listened to another cousin talk about her family trip (husband and 2 kids) to France. Part of me wanted to say, 'why the hell did you go there now?', besides, those kids (6 & 10) won't remember much about the trip when they are older, but another part of me just said stay quiet.

Sometimes I want to kick myself for being quiet. Other times when I hear some people talk it sounds like bragging to me and I can't help but find that annoying and hte last thing I want to be is annoying. Some people talk very loudly too, as if their life is so much more interesting than others. All families are different. Out of my extended family I tend to be quiet. Maybe your boyfriend's family are all rather loud and find your quetness (is that a word?) puzzling. I would probably have a similar experience if I was dating someone from a big or lound family. Being an only child I never really had to speak up as my parents would listen to me.

I don't know what the answer is. How do we either become a little more self-assured and talk up more or just become content with who we are. That's one of those puzzler questions.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Hugs,

Ben

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Fri, 08-08-2003 - 9:30pm
Thank you for your response. I apologize for taking so long to respond but I didn't have time this week to check for any messages. The night I overheard my boyfriend's parents talk about me, I told my boyfriend that I overheard. I also told his parents that I overheard. And then I left his house. My boyfriend did follow me home and he said he was hurt by his parents for saying the things they did. The next day his mom told him she felt bad and told him to invite me over for dinner but I declined. On Sunday my boyfriend had a talk with both his parents. For some reason he won't tell me much about the talk but he said he explained to his parents that I am quiet and they said they felt bad. He told me his mom was going to call me to talk to me but it is now Friday and she never called. Instead she sent me a bouquet of flowers to my work on Tuesday (which was my birthday) and the card said how sorry she was. I know it was very nice for her to send the bouquet but I would have rather she just called me. I guess I like to confront my problems not buy out of them. So, I am happy my boyfriend talked to his parents for me but I am still uncomfortable with the situation. I know his parents just want to put it behind them but since I lack self-esteem their comments have really hurt me. I know that I am uncomfortable around his friends and family. I am convinced they don't like me and I remain quiet. I am starting to believe that I am sabotaging this relationship which is sad because we have been together for almost three years.

Even today at work a girl found out I was a Leo. She said, "You can't be a Leo. You're too quiet." I just wanted to laugh at that comment. So, I am starting to feel sorry for myself wondering will I ever believe that I have something worth offering to this family or any family?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 08-10-2003 - 3:29am
Being quiet has nothing to do with being unworthy or less valuable as other people. It just means that you have a different type of personality and there is NOTHING negative about this. I am also quiet and shy. For years I felt uncomfortable talking to anyone unless they were among the small group of friends that I knew well. I am still shy, but the way that I was able to make myself become a little more outgoing was by starting to really listen to the conversations that were going on around me.

Are people talking about something that you enjoy doing or something that you want to learn more about? If this is the case then you might try to ask them questions so that you can become an active participant in the conversation. Asking questions is a great way to initiate or participate in a conversation. People enjoy sharing their interests and unless they are totally self-centered then they will respond by asking you about your interests as well. In this kind of conversation there is an equal give and take and you don't have to struggle to find something to say.

The main dificulty with being quiet and shy is that we are often preoccupied with our thoughts about how people will react to and judge us and we can't relax enough to enjoy being with the people that we are around. If you feel incomfortable around your boyfriend's friends it may be that you really don't have anything in common with them. It is hard to enjoy spending time with people if they constantly choose activities that you don't enjoy or if they are not open to sharing your interests. One way to deal with this is to encourage your boyfriend to include you in group activities that you enjoy or are interested in learning about. You might also encourage him to include his friends in activities that you and your boyfriend enjoy doing together. Knowing that you have a common interest can help you to begin to feel more comfortable around other people.

Being quiet is not a negative trait. Your expectation that you will not be liked or accepted by other people might be related to your having low self-esteem. You might get guidance and support if you seek help from a therapist. Working with a therapist can help you to identify and begin to understand some of the issues that are related to your low self-esteem. They can also help you to begin help you tidentify and practice in your therapy sessions stratagies that might help you to become more comfortable when socislize with other people. You boyfriend already values you and does not see your tendency to be quiet a negative characteristic. Working with a therapist might help you to begin to accept and value yourself as the uniuque individual that you are.

Hope this helps.

Renee

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Mon, 08-11-2003 - 11:51pm
And then other people don't know when to keep their mouths shut, do they!? Sweetie, this guys parents were just rude. It's no wonder you never felt comfortable at their home. I would say your instincts were good!! I have found in life, that it's usually the people that don't know when to shut up that don't appreciate the quiet ones. Perhaps they are judging someone by their OWN personality traits!?

I would like to ask you why you have been with this young man for 2 1/2 years. Is he nice? Do you enjoy his company? Does he treat you well, (in spite of having to overcome his parents raising)? These are the points you want to consider. If it is absolutely necessary to go to his parents home and cannot be avoided, then maybe they just made a mistake and said something they might regret...you could always look at it that way, proving you a forgiving person and someone willing to give another a second chance.

My advice...don't listen to other people, ask HIM; and then take his word for it.

Sometimes the child has to teach the parent.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 08-12-2003 - 2:18pm
Well, that was pretty harsh. Was this the first time you met them?? And what did he have to say to them about it?? I am really insecure around my bf's family as well. They are really outgoing but I feel like I have nothing in common with them, therefore I don't have alot to say to them when they are around. I would definitly talk to your man about this. Let him know why it is that you feel uncomfortable around them.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Tue, 08-19-2003 - 5:17am
Now here's something I can relate to. After 7 1/2 years with my boyfriend I still find it rather difficult to talk to his parents. Yes I'm quiet, and I can go through a whole evening not saying much to them and it doesn't bother me one bit. For one thing there's a language barrier, after 30+ years in this country, their English skills are pretty bad. Makes talking to them quite difficult. They often speak in their own language which I find quite rude considering they know 'some' english and expect me to understand what they're saying when they don't speak English. 2) they are quiet people themselves. I have often heard my boyfriend tell me that his parents think I'm quiet which leads me to believe his parents are just hypocrites. 3)His parents are emotionless, no smiles, giggles or laughter...nothing! If they don't create a comfortable environment in which to speak, chances are, I won't.

So you see, sometimes the issue might not be with you it just might be them.

Some people need more than just your presence to accept you but that's not your problem, it's theirs. You just have to know when the issue is your problem. If you want to speak but find it rather difficult than enhance your social skills (or self-esteem, or self-confidence). I admire your courage when you told them you overheard them, a truly quiet person would have probably kept it to themselves and keep hitting themselves over the head with it. But you, my dear, at that moment had something to say, now how can I quiet person do that?

I wouldn't worry too much about people judging you whenever you talk. If you're not judging other people when they talk, chances are they are not judging you when you talk.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Wed, 08-20-2003 - 4:45pm
Thank you all for what you wrote. It is very reassuring to realize I am not the only one. I always thought that if i don't get along with my boyfriend's parents or all his friends then it is not meant to be. But maybe that isn't true???

I have talked a lot about my "quiet" issue with my therapist. I think my quietness stems from the fact that I am not comfortable with who I am. And due to this I think others perceive me in a bad way. I come from a completely different background than my boyfriend

and his family and friends. I guess I don't think I "belong". I have always had to work hard to make things happen and they all come from money. Maybe that is why I feel I have nothing in common with them all because we come from different lifestyles.

As for my relationship with my boyfriend, when we are not at his house (he still lives at home) we get along great. Since this "incident" with his parents I have been thinking a lot about us. I think that since he still lives at home that may be an underlining problem with me. I feel that he hasn't fully taken the responsibility to move out (he has already graduated from college and is working - just not making much money). I, on the other hand, had to move out and support myself at age 14. So, it is hard for me to see him being an adult with me and still being a child at home. Does this make sense? I have talked to him about it and a lot comes from the fact that I didn't have a choice to live like he does. But he has decided that it is time and has started to actively look for a better job so he can move out. He is actually thinking of joining one of the military branches.

Anyway, back to the quiet thing. His parents did apologize and I have been over his house since. It is still uncomfortable to me but I am trying to talk more. And just try to forget my thoughts of how silly and fake I sound. I know it all is just because of

how insecure I am. I really don't know how to "fit in" to a family. I never really fit in to my own. I do have to say my boyfriend has been incredibly understanding about everything. If he invited me over and I don't feel good about it he comes to my house instead. He is listening to me and he actually stuck up for me to his dad. So, I feel we are stronger but I am still very uncertain of if I will ever "fit in" especially now.