Tuesday, March 20, 2007

When the room gets quiet

I was with four people in a room the other day while we were waiting for a store manager. There was a little conversation going on here and there, but after a few minutes of this the room got quiet when the surface conversations went dry - the dreaded lull in the conversation. One girl got visibly nervous and finally asked, "So is someone going to say something?!"

Someone finally asked her a question that would not have usually engaged a drone but the silence was heavy and she was happy to fill it, even with prattle. It was fascinating to watch.

She, and this is not picking on the female sex (it just happened to be that way in that room), probably would have answered a question that involved random words or maybe even something like, "So, what do you think about the source of the space time continuum?" She just wanted (honestly making a huge assumption about someone's motivations, just go with me or even disagree with me) noise to be filling the air and connections to be made, regardless of the tenuity of the resulting babble.

What is it that makes silence so frightful? Is it an indication of the cynical bent that if someone isn't saying something nice, they must be thinking something wrong? Is it a fear that I might start thinking things and who knows where that may go? Is it that the constant noise that is usually around us creates an environment in which golden silence is more like copper dead air?

I'm actually one of those people right in the middle of the I/E personality composition. I enjoy parties and big crowds and can hop into conversations with complete strangers and have a blast. At the same time, I need times of aloneness and non-talk, so that moment of quiet in the room didn't bother me a bit.

So fill me in, oh yea of glad speaking, on why you think silence can be tough to take...

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crazykarl7 said...

I prefer the silence actually. It gives me time to stare at my feet and count them. 1 - 2. Then start over.

vaught_family said...

Do you get confused when you wear open-toed sandals and have all that new visual data to process?