A student recently walked into my class after school to ask me a question about something and stated the assumption (asked me the question?) that I don't really like to talk much and am kind of reserved.
It's not the first time I've been told this.
My father has said very similar things for years and has constantly pushed me "to get out of my shell", which I always thought of as comical for a number of reasons. Whenever I'm in a large group, I tend to slide out of the spotlight (or room, or building altogether). I suppose, objectively speaking I am quiet and reserved in public spaces or large groups.
However, this is not the case in private or small group situations where I know everyone. It's not because I'm naturally quiet, introverted, or a "Type B" personality.
It's for one very simple reason, which 2 Chainz put best, "I'm different, yeah I'm different."
These, of course, differ from culture to culture, but in the west, people are largely:
I'm sure I could go on if I really thought about it, but two minutes of reflection is probably good enough.
Now if you look at the above list of cultural norms and you fit within them, that is totally fine. This isn't me asking for a shouting match, but explaining why you think I'm quiet. Unless your beliefs restrict my freedoms or those of others in some major way, we probably don't need to argue over any of them.
My point is simply that a person can't or shouldn't call me quiet or reserved unless they are willing to give me the floor and listen to my full thoughts and opinions.
I have plenty of them.
I'd rather be quiet than partially censored because of your delicate sensibilities.
If given the floor, I will talk to you, give you my opinion, tell you about my interests, hobbies, and recent experiences if you want to know about them. BUT. If you are going to stop me mid-sentence because you don't like me swearing and using the "F-word" to describe my experiences, I'm going to stop sharing.
If I say that religious belief is silly and that a grown adult in the 21st century who has been educated in the west to the undergraduate or graduate degree level really should be embarrassed of themselves in the same way they themselves are embarrassed for someone who openly admits to believing in Zeus, Tinkerbell, or the boogeyman, and you cut me off with a faith-based argument of, "You wouldn't understand", then I'm not going to keep sharing my thoughts.
If you are overly patriotic, humorless, and intolerant of what I say, I'm not going to speak out of fear of offending you.
If you think a number, black cats, walking under ladders, or umbrellas inside are bad luck and you get angry at me when I have the nerve to correct you, then I probably am not going to talk too much.
If you are generally ignorant of how evolution works or repressive of abortions and stem-cell research, we probably won't have much to agree about and odds are I won't be the one getting angry during that conversation.
Lastly, if your entire idea of good conversation involves talking about soccer, then I'm probably going to make fun of you. You're reaction to my poking fun at the 140 pound "athlete" you idolize is probably going to determine quite a bit about how much we speak in the future.
Disney's Bambi and Thumper
So there it is. I'm not quiet, introverted, or a Type B personality. I'm just polite in public spaces and trying to show you respect by keeping the thoughts and opinions you'd almost undoubtedly judge as sinful, distasteful, or crude to myself.