The ebbs and flows of conversations can sometimes feel like waves and floods.
Conversations you get into will present moments which are difficult to remain composed in. You’ll be surprised. Your counterparts may spearhead the back and forth. They may have agendas driving the discourse they seek to control, and you may find yourself listening more than you speak.
There will be times when the pressure to say something will rise out of your gut like your breakfast on drunken nights. We often only realize ourselves to be talking too much, and filling the silence a little bit too often, after the fact. In an effort to rid conversations of any bouts of awkwardness, we find ourselves saying unimportant things and asking trivial questions.
This article aims to help you curb your seemingly uncontrollable desire to fill the silence during conversations.
The assumption being made on this page is that you’ve determined that habit to be detrimental to your social skills and likeability.
First, it makes sense to explore why we tend to be disappointed in ourselves after discovering ourselves desperately filling the silence with trivial, worthless, dialogue.
Desperately Filling the Silence Can Communicate Insecurity
Though our intentions are positive when we fill the silence during pauses in conversations, for some reason, we often feel a sort of regret for doing so after the fact. That feeling is akin to saying the wrong thing on a date, or spouting run on sentences during a job interview. It is a form of social regret, but the reason for its existence is difficult to pinpoint.
One possible reason for the social regret we feel after succumbing to the pressure of filling in the silence is because we consider it an insecure habit. “Dead air” amidst an otherwise active back and forth breeds anxiety because of the pressure we feel to keep the conversation fruitful. Controlling the perception of a conversation we have with someone else seems to be an important goal.
Being considered someone who is easy and enjoyable to talk to has the capacity to reward us down the line. As a silent moment plagues the conversation, our fear of being perceived as someone who incites awkwardly silent conversations builds. By way of an assumed responsibility to keep the conversation going, we feel pressured to drag it along with insignificant dialogue.
The mix of insignificant dialogue and our obvious fear of being perceived as a bad conversationalist transmits insecurity. That insecurity is easy to pinpoint because both the trigger and the response are easy to identify and describe. The trigger would be the silence, and the response would be an action which is rooted in a fear of being interpreted as an unskilled communicator.
The Forest From the Trees; Confidence in Your Own Social Skills
A desperate attempt at filling the silence is a reaction to a specific and uncomfortable moment in time. As you seek to squeeze in anything which fills an awkward silence in a conversation, you would communicate your controlling anxieties to the other individual. Your reactive state will be difficult to match to the general tone, and organic context, of a conversation. You’ll seem a little too in tune, a little too on the ball.
Passing through an organically silent valley following a conversational hill without desperately trying to fill it communicates a sense of security in how you interpret your social skills. In this sense, you’d see the forest from the trees in terms of your social skills and how others perceive you. Your lack of a desperate attempt to control the tone and pace of a specific point in conversation communicates that you’re skilled enough to morph your social behavior to the context around you.
Contrary to popular belief, good social skills don’t simply call for the tendency to always be switched on. More accurately, someone who is socially skilled is simply better than others at adapting to the different social contexts of life. You’ll meet quiet people, upbeat people, and depressed people. Confidence in your ability to adapt to, and complement, their social tendencies involves ridding yourself of a desire to control every aspect of a conversation and always have something to say.
Social skills are much more than the words that come out of your mouth. There is a deeper meaning to the act of developing social skills. Your ability to properly read body language, tones, feelings, and environmental cues are all important. They should work together in melodic harmony.
Good social skills encourage allowing conversations to organically morph, twist, and even rest. Socially skilled individuals skillfully surf the waves conversations naturally give out as they morph. It is thereby wise to interpret a silent moment in a conversation as simply an organic point in time which calls for silence. Trusting the natural processes of a conversation’s journey will be difficult to do, but communicates a sense of peaceful confidence in you being ready for anything the conversation morphs into.
Silence Amplifies the Subtle Beauty of Things Around You
Falling in love for the first time is as much of an educational experience as it is a beautiful one. As you do, you learn about just how much richer life is when it is infused with love. The ones you fall in love with begin to seem majestic. Their voice becomes your favorite sound, and the way they walk can be picked out in any crowded place.
Falling in love educates you on just how bright and beautiful the seemingly insignificant, subtle, acts of those around you can be. Sitting in a quiet room with someone who loves you back can provide a rich experience as you revel in how they stroke their hair and scratch their shoulder.
Love’s lesson of subtleties carrying a lot of beauty isn’t exclusive to it. Though the presence of love exacerbates that lesson, that lesson can be learned even when sitting quietly at a park, observing nature.
Peace and quiet seem to be prerequisites to appreciating such subtleties in life. Love simply speeds up the process.
Silent moments in conversations allow the subtleties to shine around you. A peaceful and confident mindset amidst a silent moment will give way for the appreciation of the beautiful details. There are beautiful details that don’t depend on love existing between yourself and whomever you speak with.
A silent moment whilst conversing with a colleague can turn into a beautiful breath of fresh air on an otherwise hectic day. You two can just stand there for a while and take a moment to inhale. You’d provide them something others wouldn’t ever guess they should; a peaceful, understanding moment.
A silent moment on a first date can give way for your partner to appreciate some of the beauty about you which remains hidden when you speak. Their attentive resources will take a moment to not be weighed down by the things you say and the ideas you spread. Suddenly, the way you use your fork will be interesting to them, and the pleasant way you interact with a server may impress them even more.
Learn to trust in the subtleties that silent moments place onstage. Such subtleties can enrich your conversation and experience with someone else in a way which a continuous stream of dialogue never could.