NON FICTION: This Is For You Quiet People


Photo: Thomas Leuthard

I know you’re busy, and you’re probably reading this post because you’ve got some time to kill between getting ready for work and your daily commute, so I’ll make it worth your while.

I mean, I can’t promise that you’ll get anything out of this, but hey, that’s the internet for you am I right?

I guess that’s the advantage of growing up as an average Joe. You don’t carry the expectation that people listen to you. Maybe that’s why I tend to keep my mouth shut. It’s also probably the reason why I’ve never really hopped aboard the Snapchat/Instagram Stories train. I just can’t justify creating material that doesn’t have a beginning and an end (and some spice in between).

I can sense some of my closest friends murmuring on the other end of the monitor right now. “What?” they’d ask. “But you’re the noisiest person I know!”

And they’d be right. They’d be right if they were referring to Stuart post-six-pack, or post-few-drags-off-the-vodka-bottle. It’s either that, or they’re referring to Stuart who’s-close-enough-to-you-he’s-forgone-all-social-norms.

But that’s the case with most people, isn’t it not? I bet you’re somewhat distant with people until you get to know them, then you really let loose, don’t you?

The thing is, it takes a considerable amount of time before I ever cross the point from ‘friendly acquaintance’ to ‘shitload of fuckery’, and a considerable investment of trust is required before we can even venture into that territory.

Still, people who’re wired differently would try to quicken the process. They’d work so hard to mould me into their norms. “Why so quiet?” they’d ask. “Let’s get you to talk more,” they’d say.

And those people are exactly the ones who stay in the land of friendly acquaintances in my books. It’s easy to brush these people off if they’re one-time interests, but if they happen to be the colleagues you spend eight hours a day with, things can get trying, especially when they take the liberty to say things like “We’ll need to get you out of your shell” or “We need to change you.”

Well fuck that. I was a hair’s breadth away from inciting all-out anarchy (in the form of silent disapproval and taking lunch alone) the moment I heard that. If you’re a grown-ass person and still can’t accept people for who they are, then I don’t want to be working with you.

Long story short (I did promise a worthwhile read after all), I left the place, and it’s been years since I’ve looked back. One of my ex-colleagues got in touch recently, and she talked me through the things that were going on in the office.

She told me how Han had no one to talk to about video gaming since I left, and how Alex had begun to miss the guy who’d make coffee at five o’clock every day.

“I guess your actions were loud,” she told me. “I guess you weren’t that quiet after all.”


From the way people have reacted to me, I’d always thought that I had a disability of some sort. I’ve never had the wit to interact in real time, and have always acknowledge myself as quiet, or awkward.

This condition has always been a negative thing to me, until today. Today, I’ve learned that for every person who can’t accept you for who you are, lies another who cherishes the exact essence of your nature.

I’ve found that through my silence, I could roar as loud as anyone else.

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