How do you handle people taking your silence for weakness?

I’m naturally quiet & reserved at work. I’m not timid or shy. Just quiet, especially in a new environment. Its how I learn, I like to watch. I’m just taking it in. Focusing. I don’t move in a rush, I move when I want & it’s the same with speaking - I do it when I feel like it or it’s necessary at work. I’m... show more I’m naturally quiet & reserved at work. I’m not timid or shy. Just quiet, especially in a new environment. Its how I learn, I like to watch. I’m just taking it in. Focusing. I don’t move in a rush, I move when I want & it’s the same with speaking - I do it when I feel like it or it’s necessary at work. I’m very observant. I don’t join the gossip. I don’t want to know your business & I won’t tell you mine. I don’t have an attitude I just want to do my job. At every job management always says the same thing my first day “You seem so shy? You need to come up out of your shell. Don’t be scared to open up.” & I constantly have to tell them that I’m not shy nor afraid just private & naturally reserved.

Honestly, I’ve heard this outside of work before as well. And unfortunately I’ve had to make examples of people who’ve taken my quietness for weakness. I don’t want to have to do that though. I just want to be me and left alone. I’ve been in plenty physical and verbal altercations because someone thought “Oh just because she’s quiet I can say this or do that to her. She’s scary. She won’t do anything”. I hate to be tested. And I hate having to explain why I am the way that I am. I don’t like the fighting or arguing but sometimes if feels like it comes with the territory of being to yourself. My kindness is either taken for weakness or people assume I’m ultra stuck up.

How would you advise me to deal with this going forward without explaining yourself or altercation?
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