May 13, 2013

On Conversation: Silence

An Intimate Conversation, Dana Ettmeer
Conversation is a give and take. Ideally, no one person should dominate most of the conversation. But the flip side is also true: no one person should be forced to dominate most of the conversation because the other is reticent to speak. 

Unless you are very good friends with someone, silence is uncomfortable. When the conversation has petered out and you are both left frantically scrambling for something- anything to say- it is one of the most awkwardly uncomfortable experiences I have felt.

Naturally, I know that silence can happen for many reasons: both conversationalists are introverts and tend to be quiet, the conversations gone for more than an hour and everyone is numbed, one of the participants is bored of the conversation and biding their time till they can leave, etc.  And while I know the first two reasons are more likely given my friends and the lengths of conversations, my mind always assumes the last one. The conversation ends and I leave feeling worried about leaving the other person bored and bothered at my own lack of conversational skills. 

Tomorrow I'll give my first technique for cutting down silences and becoming a better conversationalist. 


  1. I am naturally introverted, but in mute company (or, as is often the case, in a company of mutes), I am always compelled to entertain, to play the wit, and to draw the others out. It gets tiring. I'm not a naturally bubbly person. I would like others to pick up the slack, so that I can be reserved for once. I'd like to be a bit more demure.
    Great post!!

    1. Thank you! And thank you for reading my blog!

      Ah, demureness. I would love embody that virtue more often. However, I think it is near impossible in this day and age. To be properly demure, you need to have someone who is lively and interested in seeing what you are hiding away. I've yet to see a conversation between two demure people.

      Yet, the naturally bubbly people who have such a range of people to talk to these days rarely have the patience or interest to draw another person out. If you are quiet, they turn to someone else who can meet their enthusiasm with enthusiasm of their own.