INFJ: 6 brilliant answers to “Why are you so quiet”?

 

infjs

How many times have you heard this annoying, and utterly frustrating question: Why are you so quiet?

Honestly, I stopped counting after a thousand.

Every INFJ has heard this tiresome question many times in her/his life. It goes without saying that it makes us feel nauseous every single time. Sometimes we draw ourselves into an endless cycle of explanations, and justifications, but with no result. To some people, we will always be “the quiet one”.

How we feel

As introverts, we think before we speak. We carefully choose our words, and when to say them. Being INFJs, we are people oriented, so we always carefully choose our words so as not to hurt anyone. Our natural analytic nature means that our words are usually considerate, caring, and full of understanding.

When we hear the “Why are you so quiet?” question, it triggers a chain reaction in our mind, making us doubt in ourselves. We start feeling that there is something wrong with us, that we are not “good enough”. Not to mention the feeling of guilt, which floods us because we feel that we should talk more.

Let me share with you my example from a couple of years ago.

Imagine this situation: I am standing in the corner of a large party, having my juice, and silently observing. All of a sudden more than 10 people surround me. Like a choir, they ask me that dreaded question, plus offer me drinks to “cheer me up”. When I reply, “I’m okay”, they don’t believe me. They start implying that I am actually bored. They ask, what I’m doing here in the first place?

Sound familiar? Those people at the party didn’t understand, nor did they try to. They didn’t know what I am about to tell you.

Why this question annoys INFJs so much

The “why are you so quiet” question annoys INFJs so much because it implies that choosing your words carefully is a bad thing. INFJs will only say something when we are ready, and when we feel the time is right. Our INFJ personality, although introverted, is oriented towards people. So when we are criticized for our quietness, it literally hurts us from the inside.

It can become even more vexing when we try to explain, but receive no feedback whatsoever. In this moment, anxiety and self-doubt kick in, and we are in a whirlwind of emotions. Believe me, it’s not that easy to make an INFJ upset, or even angry for that matter. But this question can completely throw us off balance.

A large number of INFJs face this struggle on a daily basis. I know I did. But don’t worry, there are ways to handle this dreaded question.

Here are 6 magnificent responses to “why are you so quiet?”

1. “I am not quiet. I talk when I have something to say, and I am simply involved in my inner world more. I love the feeling I get when I dive into it.”

2. “I don’t like small talk. I would rather talk about deep, meaningful subjects. For example: “What makes you happy?”, or “What makes you tick in those late night hours when everyone else sleeps?”.
(Side-note: watch carefully the facial expression of the person who listens this ☺ )

3. “I think that silence is beautiful. Having a conversation is also amazing, but silence can be just as wonderful, if we use it the right way, and with the right people”.

4. “Even when I am quiet, my mind constantly talks. I love sharing sentences with meaning and purpose. I choose words that evoke kindness, as well as understanding”.

5. “I don’t like the social barriers that certain situations create. I am open minded, and always ready to talk, but not if speaking up goes against my values.

6. “I refuse to gossip, because I deeply respect the person who is not present. If I do have to say something about her/him, it will only be in a positive, caring, kind and understanding tone.”

I would like to emphasize that all these answers are formed in a kind, and a considerate tone. As INFJs, we respect everyone. This is who we are. When you hear: “Why are you so quiet?”, give your response with an honest sense of understanding, because this is what makes you such a unique and authentic INFJ gem!

What do you think?

What responses would you use to counter this annoying question? Please share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below. 🙂

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Hi, I’m Marko, the Introvert Spring INFJ forum coordinator. I’m a writer and marketing expert, with a rich background in leadership and communications. Right now, my biggest passion is helping to grow the Introvert Spring INFJ forum, so INFJs have a place to feel seen, understood, and inspired.

79 Comments

  1. #6 rings true most for me. Everyone has their faults- they know this -i don’t need to point them out. Who wants to be that A.hole. I personally don’t want that negativity, I want to think about sunshine, puppies and daisy’s and everything nice….if only.

    Reply
    • I completely understand you, laura. As INFJs, we simply don’t want that negativity in our lives, and we respect everyone. I’m glad to hear you can relate.

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    • Relatable, to every aspect of my social life.
      I don’t understand why people point out flaws, what is there is gain?

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      • Very true! I do not like it when someone says ” I don’t care!” I always ask, you don’t care or you don’t mind? I think it is good to use the latter. It makes me feel i am considerate to another person’s feelings, which I always am.

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  2. Other possible (albeit less respectful) responses to the question “Why are you so quiet?”:

    “Oh, sorry; I was just silently plotting my escape from here.”

    “I was simply waiting for the current discussion to inevitably turn to the topic of Nietzschean epistemological relativism.”

    “Because it helps me to hear all of these voices in my head more clearly.”

    😉

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    • Lol, great answers Lisa! 🙂 Thank you for sharing them!

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  3. Hi Mark of
    Thanks for these. Yes, I’m an infj and totally identify with no.5 Sometimes conversation is so isolating. In my mind I want to argue with people who go against my values but in reality I can’t bear hurting their feelings because I guess that is also against my values.

    Reply
    • You are most welcome, Clare! I’m glad you can relate. 🙂 You are right, some conversations can be isolating, and because of our caring nature, we don’t want for our words to hurt anyone.

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  4. I like to tell people it’s because I take the time to carefully think about what I’m going to say and how to phrase it so that I’m not in danger of being misunderstood and usually the conversation has taken a completely different direction by the time I figure it out and what I have to say is no longer relevant. It can, of course, be difficult to explain even that without sounding rude or conceited though (or dim-witted… so frustrating!)

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    • I can really relate to what you said here, Jenna. It can be frustrating to explain this, especially to people who don’t understand that we mean well, and are careful with our choice of words.

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  5. I always say, I prefer to listen. I learn so much more about you by listening, and then I know how to truly engage you in conversation.

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    • Wonderfully said, John!
      We can learn so much by listening to one another, and I agree, this is necessary in order to have beautiful conversations. 🙂

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  6. Excellent article Marko. My favorite answers is the first one. I always hated that question and never knew what to answers. It always brought a mixture of opposing emotions. Another good answer to the question is “I am a natural listener and only offer an opinion when it adds to the conversation”. Next time someone ask me this question I will use these answers or another good answer I can come up with. One virtue that INFJ’s have is that they are good listener.

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    • Thank you so much, Amy! Glad to hear you can relate. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your answer, it’s amazing, and so true! I absolutely agree, as INFJs, we are excellent listeners!

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  7. I just have to say thank you for getting the introvert conversation going. I can’t tell you how many times I have been criticized for being quiet throughout my life. My hope is that one day people will see the value that us “quiet ones” are. I am hoping that if my son (now 9 months old) ends up being an introvert he will not have to feel like he is less than simply because he’s quiet.

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    • You are most welcome, Lori! I believe and understand you… I also hope that too, and I am sure that people will see this! 🙂

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  8. My psychologist once told me to ask, “Does that bother you?” And see what their answer is!!

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    • I really like that response, thanks for sharing. It always seems like the person who is asking, “Why are you so quiet?”, is trying to imply that there’s something wrong or deficient in you as a person. I wonder what they would do if they were asked the inverse of that question though, such as “Why are you so loud?”, “Why are you so outgoing”, “Why do you talk so much?”, “Why does it bother you if I’m quiet”. They would probably find those qustions as ridiculous as we find the quiet one, maybe it would make them stop and think or reavaluate.

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  9. Very inspiring article. When someone aks me that question, I’m always confuse what to say and only hard smile and after that I’m go away from there because I feel they can not accept me hehe

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    • Thank you, Dwi! 🙂 I understand you, and trust me, I know how you feel, because it’s not a pleasant question indeed.

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  10. For #3, an interesting quote on that subject I’ve heard before: “silence is gold when nothing more you hold”

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    • Great quote, David! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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  11. I used the “I don’t like to gossip..” one .. Let’s say things went really bad.
    “Who do you think yourself” “so you mean we are disrespectful?” “I’m sure when you are absent, people talk about you” “Miss Perfect-I-know-it-all” and of course all the looks .. PS; I said that to my family members !! Good times !!

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    • I am so sorry you experienced this Bel, I really am… Know that you didn’t say anything wrong, your heart was in the right place, with honest and good intentions. You will always have support here.

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  12. FINALLY <3 thank you so much for writing this. I've actually come to despise myself for being so quiet in real life but on online conversations, I could talk to my friends literally for hours even and I tell people that the reason I'm quiet is because I have always liked listening to others than be listened to. I just hope people would understand that there are people like INFJs or introverts who prefer to be in their inner world and prefer to only talk after thinking over and over what they'll be saying and when they feel the need to talk.

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    • You are most welcome, hana! 🙂
      I also hope that as well… Don’t hate yourself because you don’t “talk much” in real life, and because you love being in your inner world more. You are great, just the way you are, and always seek to have deep and meaningful conversation with people who know to appreciate this, like your friends online. 🙂

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  13. This was a great article, and I think one of those issues that every introvert can relate to. I also think another way to address this question is just to tell the person that you have an introverted or introspective personality. It’s more straight to the point, but if the person is truly interested in having an actual conversation, it should spark one about personality types at the very least. Since I found this site, I’ve started educating my friends about what it is to be an introvert and why I respond in certain ways, and it has made me feel better that they understand the basis.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Hollidayyy! 🙂 That’s a great idea, thanks for sharing! I’m glad that you feel better since you found Introvert Spring. 🙂

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  14. You should sell t-shirts with these statements. Then I could just point to the applicable response without speaking 🙂

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    • Haha, good idea, Curtis! 😀

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    • i want the tshirt!!!

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  15. Growing up with an extrovert mother I often heard ‘Oh she’s shy’ coz I was generally quiet tho with my close friends I was anything but. Made me feel like I was strange but I’ve finally realised there’s nothing wrong with me. Frustrating thing is that people often underestimate your intelligence when you’re quiet. People who don’t know me well are often surprised when I come out with a hilarious comment or a fascinating observation. They just stare at me and say “Wow! And you seem so quiet!” I just reply “I think a lot” My husband and close friends appreciate this about me and never underestimate me. Interestingly, I only found out I was an infj this year. I’ve tested as an isfj and esfj and enfj in the past but it didn’t really make sense to me based on my feelings and experiences throughout my life. Then I read that infjs tend to mirror other personality types to fit in and I realised that’s what I did coz I felt disapproval from my mother and sister for being different. Finally feeling comfortable in my own skin. This forum has been a great help in achieving this. Thanks!

    Reply
    • I am so happy to hear that this forum is helping you! 🙂 You are most welcome!
      Believe me when I say, there is nothing wrong with you, there never was. I am also glad to hear that you have the support of your husband, and close friends. 🙂

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  16. “You don’t have to set yourself on fire just to keep other people warm.”

    As a natural quiet and reserved person (introvert after all!), people who didn’t know me well often labeled me as anti-social and cold. And because I used to value people’s opinion WAY TOO MUCH, I tried to change the way I appear, became very conscious of my facial expressions, and talked more than I’d want. I wanted to look approachable and extroverted, because more people are drawn those kind of people. However, being so meant easing out of my comfort zone. I didn’t want them to feel awkward around me, so I “set myself on fire.” But whenever I act like an extrovert, I always feel fake, and it’s quite taxing-emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
    It took me sometime to realize that I was doing it all wrong. Being true to my nature is the least I can do for myself; and now I want to do things for myself, not for other people. I care less to what they’d think, and if they don’t accept me for what I am, it’s fine…as long as I am being true to myself. So whenever some people notice and ask why I am quiet, I just smile at them…but in my mind I want to say, “I don’t have to set myself on fire just to keep you warm.”

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    • Thank you for sharing this, Jessica! You said it wonderfully! 🙂 I love your last sentence, and the way how your mind thinks about it.

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  17. I usually feel offended and remain silence.

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    • Hi, Sane! I know how you feel, I understand, trust me. If you want to, try using some of these answers, or practise them, but I know how difficult it can be.

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  18. Thanks Mark, I identified with these reasons so correctly. Especially 2,4,6. I’m INJF and new here. Appreciate your wonderful support to such a minor group here. Have a nice day!

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    • You are most welcome, Pamie! I am glad you can relate. 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words, they really mean a lot! 🙂 Have an amazing day!

      Reply
  19. Yeah, I wish I could say them out lout. Every good words in my mind just stuck at my mouth, when I finally say a word that’s sound not really me. I’m tired to meet up new people, but I always meet them. I’m a cowardly lion…

    Reply
    • Cicilia, first of all, I just want to say that you are a lion, but definitely not a cowardly one. Just by being an INFJ, you are a courageous lion already! 🙂 I understand what you said, and this is a good starting point. For example, try saying these words to the people you know well, practise with them, it could be fun! 🙂

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  20. Hi Marko.
    I can relate with all of these. I used to get comments like “God you talk too much!” or “Shut up.” yet I hadn’t said a word. I used to take it personal until I got enough of them to realize that the smile that came with it was their version of a joke. So then I’d play along, and go “Yeah, it must be hard to think with all my chit chat going on, I’ll try to keep it down to a dull roar or use my inside voice.” I think my being quiet bothered them more than their boisterous voices bothered me. Thank you for posting this it really hit home. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi James! I’m glad to hear you can relate! You are most welcome, thank you so much for your kind words! 🙂

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  21. You are my people!! You get me, what a fucking relief! I can’t stop reading. Thank you Marco.

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    • You are most welcome Blueonion! 🙂 I’m so glad you found us! 🙂

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  22. INFP, but a fellow introvert was once informed that her quietness makes the superior nervous, because she doesn’t know what the introvert is thinking.

    My response: “I’m waiting for a suitable break in the chatter to offer my thoughts.”

    Often I feel like asking, “I’m sorry; did the middle of my sentence interrupt the start of yours?”

    How about: “You are all saying enough for me. I have no need to add my two cents to the buzz. Maybe when I have a dime to offer.”

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    • These are great answers Boniface Muggli! Thank you so much for sharing them! 🙂

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  23. Hi everyone! I usually responded this (often unpleasant) question either by saying, “Well, I like to be silent and choose to listen everyone talking around, as everyone here has a lot to speak about and few to listen genuinely.”, or I would simply smile thinking why did mother Earth not gulp me in before coming across this question. 😀 And mostly, the asker didn’t care enough to listen me or thought me some dumb stupid girl.
    But now, I have six great options to answer this question without appearing rude or making other person feel offended. Thank you Marko for this excellent post. 🙂
    And lovely INFJ forum where I feel like being at home and understood (for the very first time); and meeting more folks who connect with me. 🙂 It feels great to be a part of THIS world. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Dhwani Patel! You are most welcome! 🙂 Thank you so much for your lovely, kind and supportive words. 🙂 You are always welcome here (and on forum)! You are accepted and understood here, just the way you are. 🙂

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  24. Thank you for a great article. I am an INFJ (I found it recently), everythig about INFJ suits me, defines me. But at some level i think i am also towards INTJ and when i read about INTJ on different sites most of its characteritics suits me. I was confused so i gave personality test on different sites most results were INFJ but some were also that I am an INTJ. I am confused who i am. please help.

    Reply
    • You are most welcome Tushar, thank you! Glad to hear about your INFJ discovery, and that it helped you so much. 🙂 The tests can sometimes give you different results, and if taken in different time periods. However, the crucial is how you feel. If you feel that you are an INFJ, if you sense that this is your personality, than no test can convince you differently. Tests are only there to help us, and point us in the right direction, but we are who we choose to be. 🙂

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  25. I always want to go to a show alone coz when am with someone(usually an extrovert) they refuse to stop and enjoy a nice view maybe a nice mini park with good lawn some flowers, just a nice calming scenery

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    • Hi Thebe! Me too! I love going to shows or in nature alone. 🙂

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  26. Maybe I would just quote Mr. Spock and answer “the question is irrelevant, it is not logical.”

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    • Thanks Mikael for sharing! That’s an amazing answer! 😀

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    • Awesome! Intj here, who can very much relate to being asked the “quiet” question. Love your reply

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  27. Wow. I thought I was alone. I have always felt I was weird, boring and never fit in. Even with my sisters. When I got the “why are you so quiet” question I would tell them “it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for. I am listening and learning.” Usually gets a laugh.

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    • You are not alone Veronica, and there absolutely nothing wrong with you. 🙂 You are great just the way you are, and this is a great response you used to the quiet question! 🙂

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  28. I have used all of them in some form or another over the years but 1, 2 and 3 are my go to responses. I try and be as polite and kind about it as I can, try and not seem judgmental or aloof. Being a typical INFJ, an ambivert, sometimes craving interaction with others then other times craving solitude, the later more than the other. I really don’t do small talk, I used to think there was something really wrong with me, I just never could do it. But now, I am thrilled for this gift I have been handed, I truly value it immensely. As a writer and an artist I have learned to highly value my INFJ self. It took years to get past the “whats wrong with me, why can’t I be like everyone else” thing. Not to say being an INFJ is easy, it really isn’t at times, then couple that with a Mensa level IQ and you get some crazy inner conflict. It can be done though, this I know, and the rewards of being so very okay with yourself are wonderful. I am so very comfortable now with who I am, comfortable in my own skin. It took time, a lot of sitting Zazen and inner work, but, it was well worth the work.

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    • You are absolutely right moshe yager, it’s not easy being an INFJ sometimes, but the inner work combined with having this beautiful personality is simply worth it. 🙂

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    • – The best blog post I’ve ever seen you do. What an incredible set of photos. Love the containers. Love the flower band with foot dangling pose, love the 6 feet and a dog shot! Awmesoeness!

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      • Thank you so much, Cherry! 🙂

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    • Thanks for sharing Christopher! Glad to hear you can relate. 🙂

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  29. I love my work and two great coworkers – my boss and a part time marketing/sales lady. Unfortunately, I am put under unrelenting pressure to make this lady feel like part of the gang by lunchtime chitchatting, gossiping and pretending I’m dying to eat whatever meat dish she has cooked up. It’s no fun being an introverted vegetarian at lunchtime in the South. What a great group of people you all are. Thanks for all the honesty, observations and advice. I have been fascinated with MBTI since I was young. My I was a couple of points from total and complete introvert, very intuitive and the T/F and P/J were only a point or two from the middle. My preferred response to “THE QUESTION” would be 2, 5 or 6.

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  30. Wonderful article ! Have joined college recently and hear this question everyday.was tired of hearing all this then took a test to know my personality and got Infj ,truely relate to all its characteristics and now after reading about my personality ,i felt relieved that there are more people in this world who go through the same things as mine.Thanks Marko!

    Reply
    • Thanks Aiman, and you are most welcome! So glad you like the article and that you can relate. 🙂

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  31. People think that I over analyze everything. I think that I just like to see all perspectives. It can be exhausting, so I need to meditate a lot. Do other INFJ’s experience this too?

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    • Yes, this is definitely the case with so many INFJs, Canna. It’s not that we overthink all the time, we just see so many different paths to a solution, so that can be confused with overthinking. Meditation really helps with this.

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  32. I usually use the phrase: „And why are you actually so LOUD?“ Because I think it´s kinda unfair that extroverts can pinpoint introvert´s silence (as it was something bad, some negative sign) while talkative person can talk any rubbish and it´s not anything bad at all – they are considered as naturally friendly… bullshit, I can be friendly too, but you have to be interesting and deep – then I talk to you because I see the sense of making an effort for meaningful conversation… not just some plain meaningless conversation…

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing Lily! We really do value deep, meaningful conversations, you are right, and we need to feel that the interest for it comes from the other side too.

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  33. Help me with this. At school I am a typical INFJ but at home or with family members I’m not so reserved. They even say that I can’t stop talking. At school I am the opposite. Why?

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    • Hi DMSilva! This is probably because you feel relaxed and safer at home with your family, than at school. Being INFJs, when we feel comfortable in front of someone whom we can trust, we can’t stop talking since we feel safe to share our thoughts, and we can look like extroverts from the outside (INFJs often get confused with extroverts due to our communication skills).

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  34. Because.. ‘If I listen, I learn. If I talk, I don’t’.

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    • Good point Daniel, thanks for sharing! 🙂

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  35. I had a high school honors English teacher ask my a question once and when I answered she said “I just wanted to make sure you could speak” I responded “Of course I can. Still waters run deep.” She left me alone and let my writing speak for itself.

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    • This is great answer, Emily! Good to hear your teacher understood you when you told her. 🙂

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  36. Sometimes it feels as if the universe is playing a prank on me. I’ve had strangers I’ve never met ask me 5 seconds into meeting them this dreadful question and what ticks me off the most, the never really are interested in an answer.

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    • I can fully relate and understand you, Godon. It’s can be really unpleasant when a stranger asks this, and is not really interested in the answer.

      Reply

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