Silence can be so lovely, peaceful, and relaxing. It’s a shame that many people feel awkward when there is silence; they feel the need to fill the void by talking or other noise. Maybe that’s why we are all so tied to our phones, iPads, Televisions etc. We feel a need to fill in the silence, or risk being alone with our own thoughts. Maybe we are so scared of being bored, we never let ourselves slow down to just relax. Everyone is so busy multitasking and being productive, that it is so easy to reach a level of burn out.
I love silence! I always feel like I am at odds with society’s pressure to be overworked, too busy, and outspoken. I enjoy being home alone, I purposely avoid overbooking myself, and tend to avoid large groups. Silence helps me to be more self-aware, reflective and lowers my anxiety. As I get older, I realize that I enjoy socializing with just one or two friends at a time. It’s not as fun to be in a large group where everyone has to talk over each other, and it’s so hard to relax in a group.
Giving yourself time to enjoy silence might leave you time to try meditation, yoga, or maybe even just taking a long needed nap. Silence helps us to get rid of those constant distractions throughout the day and become grounded. If you really sit back and watch people, it is clear that we are so overstimulated as a society. People have such a hard time focusing because they are expected to multitask constantly.
Small talk is just as bad as being in a group for me, and many other introverts. It’s awkward, unnecessary, forced, and usually feels like a waste of energy. For some people, small talk comes easily, but for me, it tends to take a lot of energy. Small talk does not come naturally to me. Talk about the weather? your job? your shoes? I’m probably not really interested in any of these things at the moment, yet I have to pretend to be interested so that we can fill in the silence with meaningless chatter.
Silence is the perfect way to process a long day, encourage creativity, or just create my mental to-do list for the next day. Sometimes I like to find a television show just so that I can zone out for a bit and not have to pay attention to anything else. My husband is very much an extrovert, and there are times we don’t quite understand each other. Many of his statements or questions sound rhetorical to me. I have no response because it all seemed so rhetorical, and I do get annoyed even by his small talk.
In my mind, I am listening and so that is engaging in itself, but to others, there needs to be a verbal response or it appears I don’t care. I have to make a solid effort to always respond verbally to things coworkers say or when my husband is talking to me. I know I have little patience for small talk and look forward to the silence that is inevitable, but this doesn’t work for everyone.
So it is important to realize that silence does not necessarily mean that something is wrong, that someone is upset, that someone is being lazy, or that someone doesn’t care. It may mean that someone is listening intently on what you have to say, that someone is just trying to process the information presented to them, or someone is trying to relax and re-energize.
Featured at the Let’s Get Real Party