For a while, I have wondered, if silence sometimes means disagreement. You are out with friends, or involved in a long work meeting. A friend at the table, or a colleague in your work meeting is quiet most of the time. Are they bored? Do they think most of the conversation is small talk? Why are they not talking? I read an article recently (I wish I remembered where is was) about silence = disagreement. The idea has not left my head. Instead, it has been silently percolating in my thoughts over the past few weeks. It has meant that I have watched interactions with others and when I find someone not speak up, I wonder if they disagree, but have decided to not speak up.
What do you do in those situations? I find that for the most part, I am usually completely transparent and share just what is on my mind. I sometimes wonder if I should keep my mouth shut more. Maybe silence is not always so bad? Does it truly mean that you disagree, or does it mean you maybe just do not care? Or does it mean you do not feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and opinion?
What do you think? If you are silent in certain situations, why are you silent? Do you always feel comfortable, or is silence a sign of your discomfort? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Good thought-provoking questions! I think that the tone and tempo of a meeting often determines who speaks up. Some participants may feel intimidated and uncertain that they would be able to swim against the tide and eloquently defend their contrarian ideas … so they remain silent. However, I’ve been in meetings where someone who has remained silent throughout the meeting finally speaks…and the result was that everyone paused in their tracks to listen. If given thoughtfully and with humility, I find that a contrarian (or supporting) argument carries even more weight.
As for conversations, have you ever been in a conversation with friends or colleagues when a little voice in the back of your head cautions you to stop talking? Especially in these times of heated political discussions, when friendships can be damaged or preserved depending on words spoken, I’m learning that often silence is golden.
I completely agree!! So WELL said. I have totally been in situations with friends where I’ve listened to that voice that tells me to stop talking. I love how you ended your comment: Silence is golden. Such a great idea!
It often means the facilitator isn’t doing her job leading, or no one stepping up to leading.
Often sad and boring.