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Are you 'covering' your quieter self?

I was pleasantly surprised by the responses to my last article The double glazed glass ceiling and invitation to the breakfast. The breakfast got booked out in 4 days, which was unexpected! There were many who told me that it resonated with them and they have had experiences of being overlooked, not heard or recognised. The other response was a little more surprising.


Some women told me that they look extroverted on the outside and people know them as being extroverted but they feel much more introverted on the inside. These women had often developed extroverted behaviours in their childhood, because they had noisy and/or a large family and had to speak up to survive, be the entertainer or be loud to get attention.


Many of these women feel a yearning to be more quiet and still, feel they get energy from being alone but find it challenging to access or express it fully because:

  • They have been told and continue to be told that they need to speak up and be noticed to be successful/happy/liked.
  • They are successful and well liked the way they are with their extroverted behaviours so it’s costly or scary to change.
  • They are expected to be social and/or don’t have time to be alone.
  • There are stigmas and negative perceptions around being introverted.


Have you ever heard “Oh, she’s so introverted and quiet!” as a compliment? I haven’t.


While not widely spoken about, it is a form of what’s called ‘covering’. Catalyst explains ‘covering’ in What is Covering, where it is described as “A strategy people use to downplay a stigmatized part of their identity. The e­fforts people make to combat and minimize the potential negative e­ffects of bias.”


For some people, they don’t even realise they have introverted preferences because they have drowned it out with the extroversion noise and expectations.


If you feel there’s something quiet missing from you, it’s worth having a deeper reflection about how much you may be marginalising your quieter self.


More than ever, the world needs more quiet, calm and feminine powers. The increased popularity of mindfulness, yoga, journaling and retreats are part of this move. Let’s cultivate and harness the power of quiet.


For the secretly quiet women who are 'covering', you’re also welcome to join us at the Quietly Powerful Women’s Breakfast in Melbourne, Australia, to explore being quietly powerful. Please book HERE to join us or share with others who you think would benefit.

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