I have become much quieter as I’ve gotten older. This may surprise those who know me, as I am still extremely verbal and loud, but the truth is I was even more so a few years ago.
There are some obvious reasons why I would try to move in this direction. You don’t ever get yelled at for things you don’t say. It’s no fun to be the person at the party who everyone complains about after because you won’t shut up. Being a chatterbox is annoying, and I don’t particularly like annoying people.
But the truth is about more than perception. I haven’t become less talkative merely because I want to be liked. It’s because I have learned one of the reasons why I talk so much.
I can’t be the only extrovert to recognize that being “noisy” comes from a bottomless need for attention. My personality inclines me toward a constant need for others to recognize me and to know about me. And when I start down that road of broadcasting my entire existence to anyone who happens to be in the room, I am like an addict trying to have just one hit. One won’t be enough, and before you know it I will have lost control.
[Sometimes I notice this in social situations. I used to think it was having a few cocktails that made me progressively more dominating in conversation as an evening went on. But even if I’m not imbibing, by the end of a party or evening out I am usually running my mouth incessantly, just because I am so stimulated by all the people.]
So without meaning to, almost as a self-preservation mechanism, I have stopped constantly indulging my need for attention. I refuse to feed the beast, that insatiable pit of desire for recognition that will devour me if I let it.
I still talk too much, and am still told to be quiet about once a week. But I’m making progress.
Extroverts: Have you identified anything that motivates your extroversion? And to all you introverts out there, what’s THAT like? I can’t even imagine.