Whereas TheVoiceless can talk and presumably does off-screen a lot, this character remains quiet most of the time, often out of [[ShrinkingViolet shyness]]. However, around a select few people, he'll all of a sudden begin talking quite a bit. This character may in fact speak on-screen often (TheVoiceless will at most get a few lines onscreen, no matter how much they're stated to talk offscreen), if they happen to be a main character - a role that most [[TheVoiceless Voiceless]] characters don't do well in. That's because if the story's focus is on the character, it will naturally have a lot of scenes in which the character is with the select few he'll talk with.

The name comes from "elective mutism," which was the old term for this condition in [[TruthInTelevision real life]]. The name was changed to "selective mutism" due to the implication that the person was choosing not to talk, when in fact, the usual case was the person getting so terrified that their vocal cords froze up and they were literally unable to.

Compare TheQuietOne. Some examples may overlap between these two. Also compare SilentBob, CannotTalkToWomen, and ElectiveUnintelligible.

'''When adding to this page, please think carefully about whether your example fits. This trope is not merely someone who doesn't talk often or who doesn't talk except for one line. What is important here is that this character has a select few characters whom he will speak to. If you cannot say who those specific characters are within your example, it is not this trope.'''
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In TheMelancholyOfHaruhiSuzumiya, Yuki Nagato rarely speaks more than a sentence at a time to anyone but Kyon. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that she's an alien with limited information on Earth life, and more importantly (compared to others like her), was specifically created without social tools.
* In the early parts of ''BunnyDrop'', Rin falls into this. At first, the only one who she opens up to is Daikichi, in part because he resembles his grandfather (who is also Rin's father), and in part because he's at first the only adult who seems at all concerned for her well-being. It's most strongly demonstrated when, after slowly but surely opening up to others, Daikichi takes Rin to see his mother and father over the new year's holiday - and Rin immediately clams up again, remembering the harsh treatment she had previously received.
* One of the traditions binding the shrine maiden Touka in ''Manga/ShindereShoujoToKodokuNaShinigami'' is that she is absolutely forbidden from speaking with any man regardless of the circumstances, up to and including her own brother. The sole exception is her husband, when she chooses to take one.


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[[folder: Comics ]]

* While this trope isn't TheSilentBob, Silent Bob from the ViewAskewniverse would be an example.
* Black Bolt of ComicBook/TheInhumans. He can talk, but chooses not to since his voice is as powerful as a nuke.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* Peter in ''{{Jumanji}}'', who talks to no one but his sister ever since their parents death by car accident. Once Alan gets out of the game and finds his parents are also dead, Peter starts talking to him as well.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* Charles Wallace was this as a child in ''AWrinkleInTime.'' By the time of the later books, he has grown out of it.
* The young adult novel ''Robin's Country'' centers around Dummy/Richard's learning to speak. He is this for most of the book after Marion discovers he is not actually TheVoiceless (he sometimes talks in his sleep).
* Lewis from the book ''Lightland'' is ''highly'' selective about who he talks around. He won't speak to his mother, teachers, classmates, neighbors- only to his friend Lottie. When he finally speaks to someone besides her, It's a pretty dramatic scene.
* Ben from the book ''The White Giraffe'' is less selective, but still only speaks o his parents, and his new friend Martine. the other students don't believe he can talk at all. In the second book, he opens up a bit more, and everyone is shocked that he ''talks''.
* In the first book of the ''{{Elenium}}'', the foundling Flute doesn't speak at all, except possibly off-page to Sephrenia, the only other member of her race in the party. Partway through the second book, she apparently decides this is tiresome and reverts to her true personality, which is decisive and bossy.
* In ''Tobacco Road'', Pearl is willing to talk only with her mother Ada, and even then uses few words. Jeeter reflects that Ada herself used to not speak to him.
* In PeterPaysTribute, Matt has gone more than a year without talking. When he finally does, he starts out only talking to his close friend.
* In ''[[Literature/RoTeO Ro.Te.O]]'', Satoshi (aka Uriel) is one. So far, he's only chosen to talk when voicing Daichi - a protagonist in the [[ShowWithinAShow Show Within A Web Serial Novel]].
* A half-German boy living in Norway in WWI is violently beaten by schoolmates whose fathers were killed by a U-boat, in Jan Guillou's ''The Bridge Builders''. When he recovers from the beating he refuses to speak Norwegian [[spoiler:so he will no longer have to attend Norwegian school]]. He still speaks German, though, so this might also be a case of ElectiveUnintelligible.

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Ruby, a minor character in one episode of ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', "doesn't talk. Her voice got scared away."
* The mostly silent Conundrum, from ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Humbug," spoke only one line, to Mulder and Scully and in the presence of Dr. Blockhead, at the end of the episode. It was implied he was very selective about those he spoke to.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': After witnessing his dad's death, the son refuses to even talk with his mom. Dean gets him to open up little by little and by the end of the episode, he's back to the little kid he was before the incident.


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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* In the play (and movie) ''Reckless'', [[spoiler: Pooty]] is this. Due to a SnowballLie, [[spoiler:her husband]] thinks she's a deaf-mute. When she's alone or with someone who will keep her secret, she talks.

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[[folder: Web Original ]]

* On the Roleplay/BehindTheVeil site there's Jennifer O'Connell, who stopped talking completely after the car crash that killed her parents and left her stranded in there for hours (due to her own paralysis). She only very recently started to talk again, and only to her step-mother or when the situation is important enough.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The Bug in ''Hover Car Racer'' only talks to people he feels very comfortable with and close to.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'': Played with Soundwave; while he doesn't use his own voice to speak, he uses recordings of others to communicate.
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