Talkative folks, have you ever wondered what the quiet people in your social group are thinking? I can’t climb inside the minds of your friends but I can tell you what I’m thinking about at social gatherings as someone who is quiet in real life.
Sometimes I have nothing to say. This isn’t a negative thing. My mind simply doesn’t always have things to add to the conversation so I soak up what everyone else is discussing instead. I’m lucky to have a few friends who are amazing story-tellers in person or online and I could sit and listen to them (or read their sites) for hours without once uttering a peep.
I’m watching everyone’s body language. How you say something is much more important than what you’re actually saying. One can learn a lot about someone by how they move, sit and interact with everyone else.
Loquacious friends are awesome. I have friends who can talk a mile a minute and I love that about them. Every so often one of them will ask if their boisterous ways overwhelm me. Normally they don’t. If I hang out with someone it’s because we click. It is also riveting to hang out with people on the opposite side of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. We see the world in radically different ways and as cliched as this is going to sound there is definitely something to be said for embracing this and learning from one another.
I don’t have an opinion yet. If everyone is discussing, say, their favourite variety of sea cucumber or various theological interpretations of a particular bible verse I’m probably not going to jump into the middle of the debate.
You learn about others by listening to their stories. There’s nothing wrong with talking, of course, but if I want to get to know a new friend better it is best done by listening to what they say, how they say it and what they leave unsaid.
Rarely I’m quiet because someone has just put his or her foot in their mouth. I know that I’ve cringed over something I said that came out entirely wrong more than once. What was meant to be a lighthearted observation sometimes falls flat. Or maybe it was a question that was taken in entirely the wrong manner. Either way, I’d prefer that others ignore the dumb stuff that slips out of my mouth every so often so I do the same thing for them.
Finally silence isn’t a conversational cockroach. It doesn’t need to be exterminated. In fact, it can add to the conversation more than additional words if what would have been said is inane or repetitive. I’d rather my words mean something than talk just for the sake of exercising my larynx. 🙂
Fellow quiet people, have I missed anything? Do you disagree with any of my points?
Talkative people, what is your first reaction to a quiet friend at a social gathering? Did anything you read today surprise you?