I generally don’t do well with silence. This serves as both a blessing and a curse: I can be just as productive with the radio or TV blaring as I am without, but tend to feel more comfortable with a cacophony of noise. I sometimes compare myself to Joe Pesci’s character in “My Cousin Vinny”, wherein he gets his best night’s sleep while serenaded by the sounds of a prison riot. I am without a doubt an extrovert, thriving on the energy that comes from interacting with others and getting antsy if I go too long without it. As a result, by far the most uncomfortable silence I experience is that which comes when I’m with other people. If I’m driving in the car with people and there is a lull in the conversation that goes on too long, I don’t like it. If we’re enjoying a meal and their isn’t a robust conversation, it doesn’t sit right. It feels like we should be talking in these situations. And if we’re not, I tend to assume it has something with me. “Should I say something? They’re not saying anything. Are they not talking because they don’t want to talk to me? What did I do wrong to bring about this insufferable silence?!?!?!”
I’m working on getting comfortable with this. I’ve come to realize that silence is somewhat normal and that not every situation, not even every human interaction, needs to be filled with noise or sound. Coming from a family of talkers, as I have, is not necessarily the norm and is not everyone else’s context. Their can be beauty to silence. And I’m working on realizing it.