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Blessed Silence?

February 14, 2008

“Keep your silence when you’ve got nothing interesting to say…”

Do you agree ?

I lived by it. I always kept my mouth shut when not spoken to or when I wasn’t giving a lecture to a roomful of students. When I left teaching and started working with only a computer for company, I spoke even less – I simply had no one to talk to. Nor did I seek other people out just so I could sharpen my rusting conversational skills. I didn’t want to listen to other people’s inane chatter.

Yes, I’m sorry. There are people who thrive in senseless talk and I find such people boring. When I encounter such people, I’d start reciting the statement above – like a mantra – in the hope that it would somehow be transmitted to them and shut them up.

I know it’s not one-sided. Of course, there are people who find me “heavy weather.” Who knows, when such people meet me, they also recite the above – like a mantra – in their wish that I’d shut up.

So, I avoided social events and I kept my socializing to the barest minimum. It was a good trade off. I wouldn’t get bored with other people’s “hysteri-stories” (i.e. hysterical stories: hysterically boring, hysterically pointless or hysterically malicious). Other people wouldn’t get bored with mine.

Transition

But then, I went to class. I found out that I am no longer comfortable speaking and expressing my thoughts. It appears that my mind rusted along with my conversational skills. When I forced myself to go on and speak what I think, I slowly regained my eloquence and wit.

I also went to a reunion of sorts, with old friends. I found talking to them very stimulating. I didn’t want the night to end.

Realization

“Keep your silence when you’ve got nothing interesting to say…”

Do you agree?

I still do… but I do believe my understanding of it has broadened somewhat.

I know now that what might be inane chatter to me is probably titillating conversation to other people. What’s more, what I initially find senseless talk might actually turn out to be very interesting if I stick to the conversation long enough.

I have also learned to be less harsh on myself. While it’s true that my brand of conversation might very well be boring for some, it will not be for some other people. Furthermore, if I plodded on long enough, people who are less than enthusiastic initially might soon find my conversation interesting. I also want to stop wasting my voice and my mind.

So yes, I believe the above. However, I’d like to add something to it. For me, it has become:

“Keep your silence when you’ve got nothing interesting to say… but do keep talking for you’ve always got something interesting to say.”

(Repost from my Yahoo 360 blog)

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