Do you see her? The girl with the outgoing crowd. The one laughing along with everyone, enjoying the conversation as much as anyone, but not chiming in that much. Why doesn’t she chime in? Well, for one: often she can’t get a word in edgewise with all the talkative people dominating the conversation. But just as often, she doesn’t really have anything she wants to say to the crowd. She just likes to be with her friends and enjoy those around her. Mostly, she’s observing…learning more about the people she’s with–discovering more about who they are through their actions and interactions as well as through their words–discerning who she could feel most comfortable with, who she could feel most safe to share her thoughts with. Unlike the extroverts she’s with, she doesn’t share every thought out loud. A lot of them she tucks deep inside, pondering them as she does, but not finding it necessary to bare her soul to everyone. When she does speak, it could sometimes be considered pretty profound, but she won’t speak just to be the center of attention, because that is not what she wants at all. Sometimes people will notice her, and at that point observe for everyone to hear, “Wow, you don’t have a lot to say.” Or, “Why aren’t you saying anything?” To which, the girl will think, “thank you. thank you for pointing out the obvious to everyone in the room and for making it weird.” (You see, the girl can be very sarcastic in her head, or in written form…and often out loud, when warranted). Then the time comes and the crowd parts ways, whether just until the next gathering or because some move away and they aren’t all able to get together again. Do you know what happens next? Many people forget the quiet girl in the middle of the noise…because they never took the time to notice her in the first place. They often form preconceived ideas about her because she is quiet. They may think she is unfriendly, even though she almost always greets you with a smile and hello, how are you? And you know what? When she says how are you? She usually really means it. She wants to know how you are and who you are, but it sometimes takes more energy to get to know her because she is more fond of one on one interactions with depth. Small talk is not a favorite past time of the quiet girl in the middle of the noise. Or they may think she is disengaged and disinterested, but usually the opposite is true. She’s very interested, but doesn’t always find the moment right to go deeper in the middle of the noise. Yes, sometimes she needs to be the one to engage others, to invite others to coffee, or to take the opportunity to ask more questions if the right moment presents itself. But sometimes, it’s so refreshing when someone takes the time to notice her, not in the “why aren’t you talking?” kind of way, but in the “I see you. You matter.” kind of way.