Outgoing: Thoughts on talking and why it’s always the quiet ones you got to watch

Talking. Small talk. Flappin’ that old bottom jaw and letting sounds emanate to communicate with others.

I find it interesting that “talk” is considered such an important skill in life. Supposedly successful people need to know how to schmooze their way through life. But authentically.

Someone who desperately brings up question after question, bringing up career, weather and politics, just to avoid the dreaded silence, will not necessarily succeed at talking or being social.

Somehow, there is a certain secret mixture of ingredients which some people are born with which makes them “charismatic”. Those are the people that will talk for hours and make everyone around them feel all warm and fuzzy inside when actually addressed.

Other people who are not blessed with this mysterious genetic jackpot divide their speaking time between limited friendly conversation with those they’re comfortable with and saying something “interesting” or “important” which they suspect or hope that others may want to hear.

Some have engaged in this ritual exercise exhaustively and repetitively to such an extent and have analysed the cost benefits of these pedantic interactions with the conclusion that they are just not worth having.

These tend to be the “weird” or “rude” people who fit the bill of the famous saying, “it’s the quiet ones you got to watch out for”. Truthfully they’re not quiet for any nefarious reasons but rather because they’ve analysed conversation for conversation’s sake and concluded that it was just not worth their time. They’re still perfectly lovely people though so don’t write them off as rude psychos.

So is talk for talk’s sake intrinsically valuable?

Do those who were born enjoying a back and forth for its own sake, better equipped at the game of life than others? Should those who it does not come naturally to, try to soak up the magic energy and practice using the 6000 hour strategy or challenging yourself to approach random people in the street? Is it that worth it?

I find that people really do remember and have more to say about those who they had interactions with. “Quiet” people just don’t seem to leave a lasting impact no matter how good, nice, kind, insert any positive adjective, person they are. They could cure world hunger and nobody would remember them if they never had a verbal interaction with them.

So I think the answer is that, yes, if you want to make a difference in someone’s life, unfortunately if you are unable or uninterested in making conversation, you will just be “that quiet guy/girl”. But reader beware. If talking doesn’t come naturally to you, you will very quickly be perceived as inauthentic or desperate.

However even if they don’t make much of an impression on many, chances are even the quietest person has a loved one or two who they matter to.

Know thyself and choose wisely.