Some people believe that having a reserved personality is a negative quality.
But the truth is, there are plenty of benefits to being reserved and many ways to thrive in life with a personality that is more reserved than others.
It can be hard to be the quiet one in the group, mainly because people assume something is wrong and you’re upset or that you’re quietly judging them.
But if you are reserved, you know it’s just because you enjoy listening to other people have a conversation and prefer to give input only when you believe it’s useful or necessary.
It’s not that you never speak, but most of the time the chatter is happening in your head.
Often reserved people are introverts whose natural personalities lend to a quieter, more thoughtful way of interacting. Does this sound like you?
Let’s talk about the personality traits of people who are reserved and some of the best ways to thrive in life with this type of personality.
Reserved Personality Traits
People who are reserved share certain personality traits. They can be:
- Calm and composed
- Emotionally stable
While they are not necessarily shy, reserved people prefer to keep to themselves unless a topic arises that is truly important to them.
They are deep thinkers and prefer to listen to other people communicate in groups instead of putting themselves out there and opening up to a larger crowd.
They enjoy having deeper conversations with one or two close friends.
What does it mean to be a reserved person?
There is nothing at all wrong with being reserved. Although others can perceive you as shy or even withdrawn, you possess qualities that serve you and those around you well.
- When they do feel emotions arise, people who are reserved can keep their opinions to themselves and maintain a calm and collected demeanor.
- They can privately manage their intellectual and emotional content without angering or upsetting others.
Reserved people may come across as stoic, but that does not mean they are unhappy or uncomfortable.
Since they tend to keep their opinions to themselves, they rarely impose inappropriate emotional influence on other people.
Instead, they ponder the information they hear and reflect on it for quite some time until speaking (if they feel the need to do so).
Why Am I Reserved?
There are many possible reasons you could be reserved, and none of them need to be negative.
Being reserved might be part of your introverted personality type. But even extroverts can be reserved in certain situations.
Perhaps being reserved makes you happy and content. You may not feel the need to conform to society’s desires and put it all out there for everyone to see.
Instead, you find comfort in being selective about the information you share with other people and who you share it with.
Maybe you are reserved because you don’t want to complicate things in your life. If you are reserved, it means you have a high sense of self-awareness, and you don’t give people much of an opportunity to judge or label you.
Your independence allows you to make your own decisions without consulting other people for their opinions, which can naturally lead you to become reserved.
Whether you are proud of your reserved traits or you want to change them, it’s important to know how you can thrive in life while still being reserved.
Here are some good tips to live your best life with this type of personality.
15 of the Best Ways to Thrive with a Reserved Personality
1. Embrace Your Personality Type
Embrace your natural traits and don’t feel you need to be inauthentic to please others.
You may notice that the people around you have different personalities than you do, so you may try to adapt yourself to fit in.
These efforts might work in the short-term, but after attempting them for some time, you’ll feel exhausted and insecure.
The facade you create will cause you stress and unhappiness.
However, if you live authentically and embrace your more restrained demeanor, you’ll enjoy more growth, success, and opportunities in life. You can focus more on your work and close relationships than on trying to be someone you’re not.
2. Accept That Traditional Methods May Not Work for You
Some people become obsessed with something that is all the rage, like a specific motivational speaker or a great self-help book to help them know themselves better.
As a reserved person, you’re already tuned-in to your feelings, and you may not need support with self-awareness. However, you may need advice on how to work with people who have different motivations than yours.
Many reserved people aren’t motivated by traditional measures of success. To find what works for you, figure out what motivates and inspires you.
3. Find What’s Holding You Back
It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone — especially for a reserved person. This obstacle may hold you back from reaching your personal and professional goals.
External stimuli have more of an impact on people who are reserved than on other people.
So, it can be a mental hurdle to step outside of your comfort zone and possibly expose your perceived weaknesses. It is easier to avoid this risk than to face it head-on.
Whether you don’t want to stretch yourself, you have a fear of failure or rejection, or something else, pinpoint what is holding you back. Discovering this is one of the first things a reserved person can do to thrive.
4. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
While people who are reserved are mostly disciplined and goal-oriented, they may not have the competitive traits of other ambitious people.
If you see someone doing well and you are not, you could feel defeated. Instead of measuring your success against other people’s, compare yourself to the person you were yesterday.
This practice helps you remain focused on your personal and professional achievements.
5. Surround Yourself with Other Reserved People
To help prevent negative comparisons, surround yourself with people who are like you or those who appreciate your reserved nature.
Being around like-minded people helps you to stop seeing other people as competitors and start seeing them as a supportive group of people with similar goals.
It may take a while to find your like-minded group, but you’ll know it once you’ve found it.
6. Choose the Right Job for Your Personality
Reserved people tend to do their best work alone, with very few interruptions, and a lot of time to focus.
Pick your career accordingly, which would likely not be one that involves a lot of traveling, frequent group projects, or a job with a meeting-driven culture.
Companies that offer a work-from-home option may be beneficial for people who are reserved.
Having the option to work from home on certain days, in an environment that you can control, may be beneficial after a busy week in the office.
7. Use Writing to Your Advantage
If you are reserved, you likely feel more comfortable communicating through creative writing than talking.
You like to carefully consider an issue before sharing your thoughts with other people. Use this to your advantage and write down your ideas and thoughts prior to meetings.
In professional meetings, bring your written notes or make sure to have an outline of the issues that you want to address.
8. Focus on Your Strengths
While being reserved in a room full of talkative people may feel like a disadvantage, it doesn’t have to be when you play to your strengths.
Because you are reserved, you’re able to quickly absorb information, observe group dynamics, and notice key things that others may miss.
Point out the things you see in a follow-up email to the other members of the group so they can see your unique perspective.
9. Speak Up
Make sure to speak up if you have something important to say. Don’t remain quiet if you have a great idea in a meeting or notice a big potential problem.
When you have something to say, push yourself to say it. Once you start speaking, you will likely be pleased with the reaction you get from other people.
Because you are not one to speak impulsively, people will be more interested in listening to what you have to say.
10. Develop Important Close Relationships
Instead of talking a little bit to a lot of people, remember the importance of speaking up when you feel a connection with someone.
You don’t have to know everyone, but it’s valuable to develop deep and strong relationships with the few key people in your personal and professional lives who can help you reach your goals.
11. Maintain a Positive Attitude
Don’t look at your tendency to be reserved as a flaw. It isn’t.
Acknowledge the things that you find especially difficult and adopt a growth mindset to recognize that you can get over any hurdles and learn from mistakes.
People who have a growth mindset tend to thrive more than those who don’t because they keep trying to get better at whatever they’re doing.
12. Develop Awareness
Develop your knowledge and awareness about when to go with your natural tendency to stay quiet and when it is best to override it.
For example, it may be a good idea to speak up about a matter you’ve been contemplating for a while rather than continue to think about it.
You may have a boss who expects team members to share ideas and express themselves in group settings.
Learn to correct any tendencies you have to overthink possible negative outcomes of taking action and focus more on the potential positive outcomes.
13. Consider Any Reticence to Success
If you feel nervous about achieving professional success, you may have fears about performance pressure, increased social demands, and requirements on your time.
If you feel you may be holding yourself back as a result, think about ways you can combat these issues. Don’t sabotage your abilities or future when you know you have so much potential.
If your current job requires more discomfort than you want, and you’ve tried to stretch yourself, then look for one that better matches your personality.
14. Build Your Success on Prestige
There are two approaches to achieving success in life. The first is prestige, which refers to sharing expertise and knowing how to earn respect. The other is dominance, which involves using force and fear tactics over other people.
Research shows that using dominance is only effective in the short-term because new competitors try to override your position all the time. However, building your success on prestige will have a long-term impact.
You don’t need a dominate, loud, or commanding personality to be successful. Take advantage of your reserved nature and show others how much you have to offer.
15. Play the Game
Learning to play the game doesn’t mean you must be someone you’re not. It simply requires that you learn flexibility.
Rather than trying to change who you are, just aim to show different parts of your personality to different people so you can relate to them better.
Talk to other people about things you know interested them, and try to adapt your conversation and approach by observing others.
How Do You Deal with a Reserved Person?
If you are involved with a reserved person or this person works for or with you, you’ll be glad that you take the time to get to know him or her better.
Here are some thoughts on dealing with a reserved person:
- Don’t assume they don’t have opinions or feelings if they don’t speak up. Invite them to share their thoughts.
- Give them time to carefully consider what they want to say if they need it. You’ll get a more fulsome reply if you do.
- Recognize that their reserved nature doesn’t mean they don’t like you or want to spend time with you. They do.
- Understand how powerful they can be during emotionally fraught or stressful times since they can maintain their calm and poise.
- During conversation, bypass the small talk and try to make a connection through deep and meaningful discourse.
- Avoid probing too deeply into their personal lives unless you get an invitation to do so.
- Remember they are self-sufficient and don’t frequently want or need advice or input.
Reserved people can make steadfast, reliable, considerate, and thoughtful friends, partners, managers, and employees. If you take the time to get to know them and understand them, you’ll discover a well-spring of enjoyment in their presence.
Do you have a reserved personality?
Having a personality that makes you be more reserved in life certainly should not keep you from thriving, either professionally or personally.
Play to your strengths and understand that many people who have become famous for their success were more reserved people.
Keep the fifteen tips listed above in mind if you are feeling like you’re not reaching your potential, and you will see that you can thrive with your reserved personality.