faith, marriage

Stop Saying “It’s the Quiet Ones You Have to Worry About”

Many years ago when I got engaged, I was excited to start introducing my future husband to my friends and family.

My husband is introverted, as we discussed in yesterday’s post.

What surprised me was the comments I got about the fact that he was quiet and reserved.

“You know,” I was told, “it is the quiet ones you have to worry about: they are the dangerous ones.”

If you look at research and statistics, you will see that nearly half of the population of people are introverts, but only a high estimate of 5% of men are pedophiles.

If you look at physiological diagnosis like the dark triad, you will see that more men with triad personality disorders are introverted than extroverted but that triad personality disorders are only 1% of the population.

Even then, most of those with triad end up as CEOs or politicians –not serial killers.

So that means that of 50 percent of the population that is introverted, but only 1% are pedophiles and 5% are triad, leaving approximately 44% of introverts who are just introverts.

They aren’t stalking your kids.

They aren’t serial killers.

They are just quiet.

They like to read books and watch movies instead of going to parties.

They have a few close friends and enjoy deep and meaningful relationships without the silly and pointless small talk that so many of us extroverts enjoy.

Even if an introverted person were inclined to certain behavior –and I am not saying they are– we all still have free will and a choice about our actions.

As I mentioned above, even many triad people just live their lives and don’t become a danger to society.

So worst case –because the researcher cited above admitted that his estimates were high– is that 6 of every hundred people you meet has the potential to be dangerous.

A whopping 44 of those people are introverted but most likely not dangerous.

And the other 50 are extroverted, and absolutely not dangerous, right?

Because no extroverted person has ever been a pedophile or sociopath, right?

You know, it is the quiet ones who are dangerous!

That is what was implied to me about my future husband.

And, honestly, I resented that on his behalf.

I found it very disturbing that because he wasn’t obnoxiously voicing his opinion all the time that somehow that made him deviant.

I have known 4 convicted pedophiles in my life: two were extroverted, and two were introverted.

Honestly, the extroverted ones were worse offenders.

I realize that that is just anecdotal evidence, but it came to mind when the assumptions were made.

These assumptions were made without the people even really knowing my husband.

It was just a repeated warning by people were concerned that maybe –because he was reserved– I shouldn’t marry him.

Why do I bring this up?

Because my husband is amazing!

He is kind, gracious, loving, and sweet.

Look at what I would have missed out on if I had listened to the asinine advice of people who simply misjudging what they didn’t understand.

I have introverted children, and my heart breaks to think that someday they will be misjudged for their personality types.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, understanding is the key to living with an introvert.

But never assume you know someone’s character based on their personality type.

I wrote here about how misjudging people’s character based on personality.

The quiet ones are the researchers, artists, thinkers, designers, writers, philosophers, scientists, and so many other things that contribute to our society.

We should value that.

We should value the differentness that they add instead of balking at the difference.

I noticed this prejudice against introvertedness most starkly at one church we attended where unless you were extremely outgoing –praying out loud eloquently, involved in door to door ministry, leading Sunday school, singing special music– you were not viewed as a “good” Christian.  

I understand how unbelievers can come to various conclusions about personality and behavior.

They don’t believe that everyone was created by a wonderful Creator.

It’s all just chance –and that is a scary thing.

But for the Christian, not only is there order and a plan, but God gives us gifts when we become His children.

Spiritual gifts are varied.

Not everyone is the mouthpiece, as scripture explains.

Some people are the hands or the feet.

Some people are given the gift of helping or giving.

Some of my introverted friends have those gifts.

It is one of their strengths.

It is important to notice that in the list of spiritual gifts, there are gifts that are behind the scenes gifts or introvert-friendly gifts if you will.

I wholeheartedly reject the idea that once you become a believer you will suddenly be outgoing and go from reserved to standing on a street corner shouting about Jesus to everyone who walks by.

I have never understood people who said this– it is like they don’t understand that it is not a sin to be shy or introverted.

God can and does use introverted people.

And He doesn’t just use them by making them extroverted as some have said.

Just like we should value each other’s spiritual gifts and appreciate the uniqueness, we should value our different personalities that keep life interesting by adding variety and distinctiveness.

“It’s the quiet ones you have to worry about.”

I wish we could put that saying to rest –where it belongs.

It is sullying the good names of half of our population.

It pre-judges.

Shouldn’t they be judged by their character instead of how chatty they are?

Yes! They should –like everyone else.


Sarah Forbes


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