I've always been on the shy side. Talking to new people gives me anxiety, so if we're still getting to know each other, I probably won't speak as much until I'm comfortable. I'm an only child — so there were never other voices in the household to compete with. I contribute in class as needed, but I find this harder to do so with classmates who tend to dominate conversations.
In friend groups, I've noticed people pay attention to the talkative ones.
Yes, these people tend to be funny and have lives worthy of reality television, but the quiet ones have stories to tell too. One of the most hurtful things to do to a quiet person is to repeat something they said — but louder and taking the credit for yourself. You may think that this person just didn't want to talk to the whole group — and maybe they didn't — but you have no right to strip them of their voice.
I think being quiet can be valuable — you spend more time listening than talking, which builds your perspective of other people's thoughts. However, I've been taken advantage of for this trait.
When you're quiet, people trust you more.
(I'm sure there are many extroverts who are trustworthy, I've just noticed people turn to the quiet ones to share their secrets).
Don't use quiet people as your human diary. Just because you can get more words in a conversation with them doesn't mean they should be responsible for bearing the secrecy of all your problems.
It worries me that people with the intent to harm seem to gravitate towards the people who speak less.
I was formerly involved with a lonely individual who filled their low-esteem with my companionship. I think the special bond we shared comforted them — because they had someone to lay all their problems on. I was someone they could tell anything to — do anything to — no matter how heinous, because I kept quiet.
They thought I would guard their secrets from the world with my shut mouth. And to be fair, I did everything to help this person before I realized they were using me. They believed I was too scared, too introverted to tell another about what was going on.
I think they learned the hard way that being quiet doesn't mean being afraid.
To all my introverts out there, don't let people use you. Don't keep dangerous secrets because it matches your personality. Speaking up doesn't mean being loud.