Sunday, April 5, 2009

Don't Leave Home Without It

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Have you ever had one of these?

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Silence.

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Awkward silence, in the company of another?

Not the kind after some untowardly comments are made; but when two people are thrown together into a non-conversation-conducive situation. Especially in a car, when there's no way out.

I used to be very uncomfortable with this kind of uneasy hollow. I often felt a need to break the silence with some verbal exchanges. It seemed strange to have two persons sitting together and not have any communication between them.

Even after a conversation is started, when it starts to circle around the weather, I can already sense the dead-end wall fast approaching. During the flitting comments on the heavy rains or the long dry spell, my mind would start to wander, poking around to find a lead for the next topic. But the more I search, the more frustration I will feel. The more frustrated I am, the less likely I will succeed. In the end, silence befalls. In a car, turning on the radio can shatter the silence, but it will do nothing to ease the awkwardness.

Then I found a way of thinking which would make me feel at ease with these awkward silences.

Friends, colleague or family members, if the other person with me is my senior, I would just sit there, singing songs in my head, planning my next dinner, forecasting the winning lottery numbers, figuring out the order of chicken and egg, etc. I would figure that as the other is the senior, he or she should take the initiative to undo the awkwardness, if there is any. If my senior doesn't stir up the silences, I will just sit there happily doing my mental exercises. Otherwise, a succinct and perfunctory "yes sir" or "no madam" will nicely return the ball to the other side.

It's even simpler if I'm the senior of the two. If I don't feel like talking, you better shut up, junior.

If we are equal, as in the case of friends, it's a bit more delicate. But then, I overcame that too.

The source of the awkwardness under these silences is expectation. We feel awkward when we think there is a need for conversation during these silences. In this case we're assuming that the other person would like to start a conversation and waiting for us to take the initiative. But, that's an assumption. It could very well be that both of us have a common desire in that situation, silence. Even if the other person does want to start a conversation, it's really his right to do so. And we should respect that and let him start a chat in his topic of choice at his own convenience, while we wait, enjoying the silence.

But ultimately, it's about self-confidence and self-esteem.

An adequate confidence in ourselves will put us in a comfortable state in any situation, including these awkward silences. And I have cultivated enough esteem of myself to carry me back straight, chin up and face smiling without any fidgeting in the company of others under most situation. If I prefer silence during these awkward moments, I will be myself, and be comfortable with it. But that does not mean courtesy is out of the window.

With a beaming self-confidence as my front, I no longer feel awkward under this kind of silences.

Self-confidence - look good in it, and never leave home without it.


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6 comments:

RE Ausetkmt said...

I Love It !
"Self-confidence - look good in it, and never leave home without it."

Small Footprints said...

Wonderful post! I, personally, love the silences ... it really doesn't need to be filled with empty chatter. After all, how often do we get just a few moments of peaceful, calm silence!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts ... and experiences with us!

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com

Life Ramblings said...

Hitting that blank is very common and most of the time, unavoidable. at times, it can be weird and awkward when you're into a situation where it's you and another person and there's nothing to say.

Aron Sora said...

This post reminded me about a Zencast episode which taught that silence is the best thing in conversations, to embrace silence as an opportunity to develop a relationship.

I'll see if I can find the podcast episode.

RE Ausetkmt said...

BJ
I wonder if you know about the No DROP Day on FRIDAY April 10, 2009.

please go to my site and get the button and add it to your site, if you support the use of the EC over the $.

remember Your Blog's Value is now threatened by .02 drop. don't let them take away your value.
Join Us in NO DROP DAY Friday April 10, 2009

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Buzzing J said...

RE:
I'm glad you love it!

No Drop Day. You mean, I could get a day off? Let me think about it.

Small Footprints:
Yes, silence is golden ...

Life Ramblings:
That's the "awkward silence"!

Aron Sora:
I guess, at times, a "comfortable silence" can be an indicator of the status of a relationship between two people too.

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