On Being an Introvert and the Art of (Not) Talking…

It may seem odd, but I do not like the physical act of talking. This goes deeper than social anxiety or introverted awkwardness (of which I have plenty). It is a real, palpable fatigue inside my throat, a sort-of throbbing weakness that reminds me that the simple act of creating words in my head that arrange themselves in my throat and exit my mouth in actual sound does not feel that good to me.

Is this odd?

I was talking to my mom the other day about how much I detest talking at the end of the night. Unfortunately, my hard-working husband often doesn’t get home until late and the end of the night is the only time we can catch up. But I’ve been surrounded by three children and their friends for the entire day. I’ve ran errands and made phone calls and talked to friends. By the end of the night, I’m done with talking.

What I said to my mom was, “There are only a limited number of words that can come out of my mouth safely in a day.” What I meant was when my throat area starts to fatigue and I have grown tired of the physical act of talking, I start to shut down. Along the shut-down highway, my words get snarkier, ruder and all-around bitchier.

I know this about myself and try to reign it in as much as possible. Unfortunately for the ole husband and children, any conversation after 9:00 p.m. can be wrought with sharp, bullet-like, clipped words shooting out of my mouth. I want everyone to go to bed so I can settle into silence. Ah, the bliss.

But I have learned a couple of tricks, simple though they are, that help soothe my over-active throat, and help to keep my marriage going strong.

  • A scarf wrapped snuggly around my throat, warming my skin and deeper. I find this soothing. When I took a 4 hour train ride to RWA in NYC recently, I traveled alone (on purpose) and brought a scarf. I nestled into my window seat and wrapped the scarf around my neck, nurturing the area that would take the most abuse during a vibrant, brimming-with-people conference. On the train ride home? Same thing. It worked wonders.


  • think about my throat. I practice relaxing the muscles there. (Yoga always helps-relax your jaw and that can set off a chain reaction to the throat. At least for me.)
  • Tea. A warm cup of tea can internally do what the scarf does externally. My favorite tea-in-a bag variety is Yogi tea. I also love loose teas. They smell divine.


  • Fight for, arrange for, plan for long periods of silence-complete and utter silence where the lips don’t part (except to sip that tea!), and the throat isn’t working in producing floods of words. I love silence. I love to sit in silence and be silent. When my three children are in school all day, I relish the days when I have no one to talk to (when there are no errands to run or calls to make). I make a point, on these rare days, to be silent–utterly and completely silent. It really does help.

Does anyone else have a physical reaction to talking? If so, share your tips. I’m always open to new ideas!

Cheers! Tracy

About TracyHewittMeyer

I love to write...anything and everything...aross genres and back again.
This entry was posted in blog, Introvert, On Being an Introvert, Silence, Talking, Tea, Throat, Throat Health and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to On Being an Introvert and the Art of (Not) Talking…

  1. Very interesting post. I’m a soft talker and sometimes if I speak too loudly (not even yelling) my throat will hurt as if I had been yelling. So I just end up avoiding places where I’ll have to talk super loud like loud parties, bars, or clubs. I’ve never thought of actually doing something to fix it like drinking tea beforehand or exercising my throat. I’ll have to try it. I do understand what you mean about not wanting to talk after a certain point. Talking to people all day and being social takes a lot out of me and at the end of the day I just want to be inside my head. And if people push me to talk I can get a little irritated and end up being short with people but I don’t blame myself for that. I’m an introvert. Its part of my personality to only be able to handle so much socializing and talking. It’s helpful for me if I explain that to the people close to me before it happens. But sometimes I end up apologizing afterward. Either way they’ll learn that you’re not just being b*tchy for no reason and they’ll respect your quiet time or be more sensitive to you if they absolutely must talk to you.

    • Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. Being an introvert is something that I work hard to understand, having not really had any understanding about why I act the way I do until the last handful of years. Understanding is acceptance, for sure. I love that you don’t blame yourself. I do-far too much-for not being more extroverted. I love my silent self but get caught up in the whirlwind of not always fitting in. I also love that you talk to people about your introverted self. So important. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  2. I find my heart beating faster when I’m talking or right after I talk sometimes. This mostly happens in “spotlight” situations, like speaking up in class, but it does occasional happen during more casual conversations, too, when I’m finding myself a little more stressed than usual. I have to consciously regulate my breathing. Drinking water (or tea!) helps, too.

    • Thanks for the comment! I find that I turn bright red on my cheeks and neck. This happens even when I’m talking to good friends whom I’m as comfortable with as I could be with anyone. I can’t say how many times I’ve been in the middle of a coffee outing with a friend when suddenly, out of nowhere, my face gets really warm. It’s always when I’m the one talking but it’s embarrassing! Oh well. 🙂

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