I hate silence.

I’m not talking about the lack of activity and noise that happens in the evenings when I’m just winding down or the replenishing solitude of a day alone at the beach.

No, I hate the kind that invades the room where two people are faced with having to deal with each other.

That is where I feel the overwhelming obligation to stamp out the lack of banter with meaningless chatter and insincere curiosity about your life. There is a certain part of me that scribbles a notch in the “personal failure”  column every time I get the feeling that we didn’t have an interaction that kept you happy, entertained and generally having left with warm, fond emotions about the time we were together.

Silence represents failure to communicate and even worse, it means you might be thinking harsh, unkind things about me that I won’t have a chance to remedy.

I’d rather stab myself with a dinner fork than endure the pregnant and uncomfortable lull in conversation caused by two boring tired people who can’t be bothered, therefore I try far too hard to make it memorable.

I mean, do I really care that much about what you must be thinking that I’d pull out all my most charming attributes and virtually exhaust myself so that we won’t suffer the sound of crickets chirping and so that I won’t hear the agonized hum of seemingly vibrating  silence that screams out ” you have lost the opportunity to make a decent impression and caused enormous discomfort for the other person”.? Why, yes….yes I do care that much..


That is one of the reasons I enjoy the familiar company of long time friends and family- the pressure to be “on” is wiped from the map of my day and I can stop the active and stern voices in my head that buzz constantly with worry.

Those of us still plagued with old-school ideas about how and why we feel the need to comfort others  in our presence before worrying about ourselves are probably a dying breed- but somewhere along the line I took this vague 50s housewife mentality and revved it up to the level of needing a nap and a vacation after giving my all to near strangers while I tell those closest to me that I’ll be with them in a minute..



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6 responses to “Shhh.

  1. I’m with you on this one. Why do we try so hard??? I’ll clean my whole house and make my bed sometimes, in case someone might want to come hang out, then sit in one of the 10 or more seats in my living room, analyzing how comfortable they seem and worried that they’re getting bored.

  2. That’s how I can tell how close I am with someone – when the show stops and they stay.

  3. I am with you. I have a pathological fear of small talks. The anticipation for the need for small talks is even worse. Lately though I have begun owning it: I told several people at parents orientation for my son’s 5th grade class, “I am really bad at small talks. So if I seem awkward, that’s why.” If my son has no friends at school, it’s probably all my fault.

  4. AND I love you for being a dying breed. Let’s get together and impregnate the room with comfortable silence. xo

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