I guess I’m good at listening, if anything. You see, I’m an introvert and when I am having a conversation with someone most of the time, I will be the one hearing, nodding, absorbing. Sometimes I feel like a sponge. Sometimes I pretend to listen, and I’m pretty good at pulling it off until someone notices that I might be zoning off (not very often, I’m sort of a con-artist at this) and asks me what I think about what they just said.
What do I think?
That’s a question that isn’t directed to me very often, excluding my College colloquiums where the class is small enough that I can’t hide my presence or hide myself in my silence. I used silence in the past because it has been a tool for people to pay attention to me that something was wrong. Although it sounds like a plan that would backfire, my parents noticed, and they were not very receptive to that silence. I was also going through a hard time in school back then, and things are better now thanks for asking.
I think one of the worst things is to have someone ask you why you’re so quiet when 1. the person asking might not know what you’re going through at the time (and trust me, everyone has **** they’d rather not talk about) 2. if the person is hostile, they are (again) being inconsiderate of what you are going through or if you’d just rather not say anything at all. Nobody should be forced to do something they are uncomfortable with (unless it is an ethics issue or alas, homework or work related things). We should all be respected.
There is a time for everything, a time to be silent, a time to speak [Ecclesiastes 3:7]. Be silent when you need to be, and speak when you have to. I used writing as a way to help me get through my hard times in high school and I still use it to help me heal and cope with grief and loss. I also enjoy talking to friends and sometimes family because sometimes I have to analyze things in my life – that helps me heal, and it is healthy to get your emotions out there, even if it is a quiet way like drawing, writing, photography, meditation, self-reflection. Quiet is not synonymous with indifference (okay depends on context) and it is not always a bad thing. Let me mention that I do not enjoy small talk and prefer intellectual conversations. Great person to chat up at the bar, I know.
Sarcasm aside, I was listening to John Mayer’s Say what you need to Say the other day, and thought about how true it can be. The silence does not protect you, in the words of poet Audre Lorde. I have to disagree here because some things are better left unsaid, such as anything racist, homophobic or sexist but the people who are unfortunate enough to encounter anything such as the just-mentioned (pretty uncomfortable situation and yes, I have been a bystander if you’re wondering) should say something. The silence indeed will not protect you if you are wounded by anything or anyone. The hurt remains, and yes, I am saying this out of having experienced that hurt. There are also multiple ways to use “quiet” activities to help you heal, such as writing, etc. (see the previous list of things I mentioned).
There is a time for everything, a time to be silent and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
I hope you and I find the right time to be silent and speak when we need to.