I have often thought that people must think I have no personality. Growing up being extremely shy, I did want to work on and have growth in the area of being able to talk to people and be engaging (I always admired people that had the ‘gift of gab’). I don’t show a lot of emotion around people that I don’t know well.
While living in the Netherlands, I would spend a day over many weekends with a different family from the Rotary Club doing activities or sightseeing.
On one of these occasions, I was with a woman and her daughter in Rotterdam for the day. We went to the Art Gallery, and there was a sort of music festival happening in a park that we spent some time at. She was very kindly trying to do some things with me that would entertain me. I have always been more of an observer, so would simply watch and take it all in.
In the evening, we went back to her home for a family BBQ. In typical Dutch fashion, she bluntly told me that I should show more emotion so she can tell whether I am having a good time or not, and during the whole day she had no idea if I was having fun. This always stayed with me as I felt horrible after realizing how my reserved nature was taken as a rude and indifferent attitude. She had gone to a lot of effort to take me around sightseeing and having me spend the day with her family.
I was reading a book last year – by Anne Perry (I do like historical fiction, and mysteries are great!): Sunless Sea. This quote stuck out, so I wrote it down:
“He was the sort of man that if he had any respect for you, he allowed you to know him honestly… I am greatly flattered that he liked me. It was the best compliment he could have offered.”
I feel like this is how I am, that until I know a person very well – and with that comes respect, I will always hang on to some of my shyness. I am sure everyone has a degree of this, with opening up to people.
I have since been conscientious of showing gratitude and making sure my appreciation shows. This quote will always stand true for how much I open up to someone. It can be a very slow gradual process too! I think another reason I like this quote is that the person giving the compliment recognizes what it means that this friend knew him honestly. A lot of trust was earned to get to that point (please note – I don’t think so highly of myself that I expect my friends to be greatly flattered, the basis for this excerpt is the trust and respect 😉 ).
Some may think I have no personality, but those who know me, know what kind of heart I have. I am happy with that.