Nothing is worse than feeling misunderstood or mislabeled. Western culture has defined social norms by the Extrovert standard. Respond quick, express excitement, (real or not) or risk being labeled something you clearly know is not you.
1. Pity them. Oh, nothing disturbs us more than to have someone "pity" us for being too shy, too quiet, to0 whatever. Too often, we hear statements like this: "It's too bad because she's so smart but we rarely hear from her". More than likely, we are simply thinking... probably about some good ideas and your pity makes us reluctant to speak up.
2. Put them on the spot. Round robin anyone? Ugh. Hurry up and think of something to say or else we will be judged as not paying attention or lacking confidence.
3. Call them "Stuck Up". Um, we probably don't socialize with you for a reason. We do not like small talk and don't have the energy to chat you up about superficial topics. Ask us about something real and we will warmly respond.
4. Call them "Antisocial". This makes us sound like psychopaths! We bristle every time we hear it. We are very discerning and choose to spend our energy on people and places that make us feel connected and safe. We are not "antisocial" because we don't want to speak to everyone in the room.
5. Ignore them. Even though we may prefer to be left alone, it hurts to intentionally be excluded or left out. In fact, we do have a lot to share. Just give us the space and time to gather our thoughts so that we can comfortably speak up.
Christian Marie Herron, is Story Mentor and Creative Consultant for entrepreneurs, thinkers and creatives.