When People Tell You That You Don’t Talk Much

When I was shy, I didn’t talk very much in conversations, especially with people I didn’t know well. So I often received comments and questions like: “You don’t talk much” or “Why don’t you participate in the conversation?”

I remember that these kinds of remarks and questions made feel very uncomfortable and I didn’t know how to react to them. I didn’t like being shy, and I liked it even less when people realized that I was shy.

Then, coaching shy people for a living, I discovered that almost every shy person deals with such situations and they don’t know how to handle them effectively. So I’d like to share some practical idea with you and clarify what you can do when people say you don’t talk very much.

Do Not Get Defensive or Try To Be Witty

Usually, when a person gets told they don’t talk very much, their first impulse is to justify themselves. They will go into this elaborate and often phony explanation designed to prevent them from appearing shy because they don’t talk much.

Unfortunately, others typically see right through such explanations. And the very fact that you’re trying to defend yourself so hard is the first indication that the comment bothered you, which is a sign of insecurity in itself.

Other times they will try to be witty and deliver some sort of clever comeback. This is typically doomed to fail as well. As you may have experienced yourself, it is seldom that you manage to be witty when you’re put on the spot by somebody and you feel emotional pressure.

Defending yourself and trying to be witty are both anxiety-generated, approval-seeking reactions, and believe me, they do very little for you. Here is a much better alternative.

Just Provide a Basic Answer

criticI found that when someone tells you that you don’t talk much, the best answer is a short, simple one. Something like “Yeah, sometimes I’m not in the mood to talk” or “I just don’t have anything to say right now” is enough.

You’re still explaining yourself, but you’re not over-explaining yourself so it doesn’t come off as needy or defensive. Most importantly, by giving just a basic answer, you’re not making a big deal out of this whole thing. You give a basic reply to a basic question, and you move on.

In my experience, this is by far the best approach. The other person will take the answer you provided, be satisfied with it, and continue participating in the social interaction.

It’s even okay to admit that you’re a bit shy. Other people actually have a lot of understanding towards shy people. Not pity, as many shy persons assume; understanding.

And even if they may not seem like it, they are shy to some extend as well. Or they may have been in the past. Understanding that you’re shy typically encourages them to be supportive towards you, which is the best response to help you get out of your shell in social situations.

Focus On Overcoming Your Shyness Not On Hiding It

Overall, I feel that focusing on making others think you are social when you really aren’t is counterproductive. Your priority should be to learn to be more outgoing socially (which you can do), rather than managing how others see you.

Interestingly enough, the moment when you stop caring too much about comments like “you don’t talk much” is when you start to be more talkative and so you get less of these comments. It means you’ve begun to not fear disapproval, a fear that’s at the root of shyness and social anxiety.

So, focus on learning to see yourself in a better light, on overcoming your limiting beliefs and on building social skills. This is what will make you more confident socially and more talkative.

This approach helps you deal with the primary issue, which is the fact you’re shy, not the secondary one, which is the fact people see you as shy.

Shyness is not a disease; it’s not even a defect necessarily. But it is a thorny behavioral and emotional habit that can make it very hard to relate to others and make you miss out on a lot in life. And thus it’s the core issue to deal with.

To learn how to eliminate your limiting beliefs and overcome shyness, I suggest that you watch this instructional presentation, where I discuss this topic in more detail. Access it right now.

Work on dealing with your shyness, using proven psychological tools, and the multiple problems derived from shyness (such as pesky remarks from other people) will naturally disappear.

Image courtesy of jontintinjordan


  1. david Bazile says:

    Many times I have felt the same feeling as described in this writing piece. Those experiences made me feel uncomfortable, bothered and ashamed. I would wonder i’m doing something wrong. Thanks to this writing piece, my perspective have changed. I understand now that by overcoming your limited beliefs, you are combating this behavior.

  2. Learn public speaking. Learn to project your voice, overcome nerves and think on your feet. I (in Australia) joined Rostrum many years ago and my life would have been completely different if I’d continued as I was: Quiet, couldn’t hold eye contact and couldn’t string three sentences together in a social discussion. Toastmasters has a good reputation and I’m sure there are more organisations.

  3. Abbigale says:

    When people told my ” u don’t talk much or ” say more”…ect.) I felt embarrassed and awkward. My face usually burnt to add to the uncomfortable situation. I felt like it made me more shy and at a complete loss for words. In elementary school, i Got the comment every single day. 4 was the worst. I felt like I wanted to cry… my eyes started to sting. It was horrific and I remember all of the people who said things and pushed me around for it. I didn’t know what to do I just sank deeper and deeper into a hole and felt like a mute. I am now going into my freshman year of high school. I felt like 8 th was my best year…I’ve Ben working really hard 6 I was more outgoing than 7th weird. But I feel the more I talk, the better I feel. I’m not usually shy around my friends but it’s people like adults, boys,populars and people in my classes that I don’t talk to. (New people) I don’t get told that as much as I usto …but when I do I try to respond with another comment saying excally what the article said. Depending on the social situation… I say that then try to have a convo. Just yesterday it happens with a dentist she claimed I was quite, but then I talked to her and she thought Differently about me. It’s a start and a good one

  4. Hi Eduard sir,
    you are really doing an extraordinary job. your work on overcoming inferiority complex is more precious work. Every human being wants to know about it. Everybody is craving for how to come inferiority complex. If you make available your products on Indian websites like amazon.in & snap deal and sell in Indian rupees you may get greater response than ever . Think of it. Indian is a billion plus population country .

  5. I’m struggling with shyness at work. I know that Im at work to get things done not make friends but I’m trying to become permanent here. How can I least fake it until I make it.

  6. Renee erb says:

    I suffer with social anxiety, I’m 16 and have no friends due to my depression. I lose my words when someone talks to me ,if someone even talks to me. I’m in self dispair right now and just want to get over S.a.d (social anxiety disorder). I’m trying to work on it.
    Wish me luck! XD

Speak Your Mind