Is it normal to be uncomfortable with silence?
A conversation with a stranger, a bit of small talk, and then all of a sudden, we don’t know what to say, and hey presto, there’s a gap 😨. The silence then becomes awkward, and uncomfortable, and our social phobia grows. We look for what to say, but it’s not always easy to have a conversation! Obviously, we want to get out of this embarrassing situation quickly. That’s how I see silence in an exchange, as something that causes discomfort. I’m not the only one, in fact, we often transmit this feeling to each other when we’re in a group. However, you don’t have to be in a social context not to tolerate silence 👀. If you feel this too, know that you aren't alone, and that it's quite a common feeling to experience.
I’m one of those people who can’t stay in complete silence for long. Even though I’m an introvert and hypersensitive, there’s always noise at home, whether it’s music, a podcast or videos on my computer. For others, it’s the TV that has to be on to keep them company 📺. In fact, we have the feeling that silence is synonymous with boredom, whether in society or at home. Even worse, it ends up causing anxiety, as we’re so uncomfortable with it. So we do everything to fill it and nip in the bud any possibility of it appearing 👎.
When noise becomes a shield
Cutting off a conversation with a pause or spending an afternoon in silence, there’s no denying that it’s difficult. Nowadays, noise and speech are key, we have the impression that it makes us exist or that it allows us to create a link with others. We then see silence as something to be filled, at the risk of not being interesting enough or being invaded by solitude. It becomes unbearable to be silent with others or with yourself. In fact, noise or speech becomes a shield that allows us to overcome these false ideas.
Something else that shouldn’t be forgotten is that we live in an extremely noisy society, with our cars, our ringing phones, our sound ads... It’s therefore difficult to adopt other habits, even though they’d do us good!
Why is silence beneficial?
Believing that noise can save us is a cognitive distortion, because by trying to escape silence, we end up causing something worse! Especially when we’re in a social context, and we want to fill a moment of silence at all costs. We look for something to say and in a moment of panic, we end up making a blunder or being completely off the mark. As a result, we’re even more embarrassed than if we’d put up with the silence. So, in trying to avoid it so as not to be embarrassed, we end up provoking what we dreaded the most 😅!
>>> Read these tips on how to become a great conversationalist
Seeing it as a remedy rather than a poison
When I’m at home and the house is silent, it gives me a great sense of loneliness. I find myself in my own head, and often I’m afraid I’ll be overwhelmed by a bunch of thoughts that I’m not used to dealing with. So I make noise to fill my mind and the fact that I’m alone. Except that it’s not the silence that’s the problem, it’s the fact that I can’t cope with the loneliness and my thoughts.
🧘♀️ On the contrary, silence can be a remedy, via mindfulness meditation, for learning to deal with what’s going on in our heads. It allows us to reconnect with our inner self and find some peace.
How can we tame silence?
Without becoming mute, we need to try to tame silence, because the biggest problem is that we’re not used to it. As I said, we’ve been surrounded by noise since we were young, so it’s difficult to add new habits. Without wanting to cut out everything overnight, we can allow ourselves moments without noise. 🕰️ For a quarter of an hour here or there, we can turn off our TV, podcast or radio. This allows us to get used to silence, which will increasingly soothe our ears and our brain, which is constantly over-stimulated. Not to mention that there are places that lend themselves well to the exercise of silence, like a forest or a church ⛪.
>>> Discover; I talk to myself, does that make me weird?
Practicing silence with others
What about in a conversation? Keeping quiet in the middle of a sentence would make no sense, but we can practice not wanting to respond at all costs when a gap arises in a conversation. We can welcome it and take advantage of it to rethink what the person we’re talking to has said to us, it helps us to work on our active listening!
Moreover, we take advantage of this to mentally repeat to ourselves that it’s not serious, that it doesn’t make us less interesting to be silent! We’re not responsible for silence, but when it comes, we can choose not to push it away. Moreover, it can help us to get rid of a bad habit, like the unbearable habit of cutting other people off. I’m just saying 😬!
Editor’s note: Make silence an ally
To go in search of silence is, in a way, being on the lookout for peace. We learn to listen to what’s going on inside of us and around us. This is why it’s good to make silence an ally in order to recharge our batteries. And the more comfortable we are with silence, the more we can use it, especially in important conversations. Someone who’s uncomfortable with silence will tend to want to fill it by saying sensitive information. So we might as well not do the same thing by learning to like silence!
🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!
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