How Our Silence Can Become Our Ally

How our silence can become our ally

We usually believe that we are right when our interlocutor remains silent during an argument, but this silence gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we have said and to listen to each other, especially when our monologue is full of accusations. You should always remember that the person who is silent does not always agree, but sometimes with his silence reminds us of the pain that our words trigger in him when they come uncontrollably from our lips during an argument.

Silence and listening should not be supposed signs of weakness, but rather testify to intelligence, respect and understanding for the other. Because if we all scream, nobody listens and nobody learns anything. As soon as we all speak up, we lose our sanity and the words just fly around indiscriminately without being heard, making them lose all meaning. Or worse, they become pointless projectiles full of criticism that do nothing but hurt.

“The way to all great things is through silence.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

We are the slaves of our words

Often words are not simply blown away by the wind, rather they become dagger stabs that strike those who hear them right in the heart. Don’t try to put a band-aid on an injured heart that is bleeding from your words. Better be silent before it’s too late. Think about what you want to say and put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

silent-woman

If disputes always revolve around one and the same topic without reaching an agreement , this often results in what is known as “emotional escalation” . In this escalation, the same accusations are always made to vent our anger, but without wanting to hear the point of view of the other person. The voice with which the “adversary” is confronted becomes louder and louder, the latter answers in the same way and it becomes impossible to communicate efficiently.

Remember, it will be very difficult to say anything else using the same repetitive words. This happens because they are conveying the same message over and over and you are expressing yourself in the same way all the time. If you do this, it is a sign that you are not listening and that your words are ignoring what the other is saying.

As soon as someone is silent, he listens, but is by no means submissive, but thinks and tries to be compassionate. This can improve communication. In order for you to do this, your silence can be a great ally. Remember that a good interviewer will use their silence to see what they were wrong about and how they can improve that with their next answer.

“Silence is the loudest noise, maybe even the loudest noise ever.”

Miles Davis

When we keep silent, the words get the value they deserve

After the silence, and if it is not misunderstood, there is usually calm. There was time to relax and you went to look for a point where you can meet up with the other and talk about what bothers you. Then we understood that our point of view is not the same as that of the other person and that we do not feel the same because we are not the same person.

For this we should explain ourselves in the best possible way and express our emotions without hurting the other. A very useful tool for this are the so-called I-Messages.

The I-Messages do not contain reproaches, but rather communicate to the other what we – “I” – feel, think, think or want. In this way we avoid feelings of guilt in the other and still tell them how we feel.

woman-with-stars

An example of these messages would be: “I think / I feel / I believe that …”  Instead of saying, “Because you did this or that / said / triggered this on me …”  These messages contain full conversations. That means: We can begin to describe the situation or what our counterpart is doing without evaluating. Then we utter a first-person message and end the whole thing with a suggestion of a possible alternative with regard to what happened.

A total example of this would be the following:

  • Description of the situation: “Last night, when we had dinner with our friends at home, you didn’t help me set the table.”   That’s a reproach.
  • Me-Message: “It made me feel like I was your maid, your waitress, instead of your wife.”
  • Alternative suggestion in relation to the event: “I would have liked it if you had set the table with me and then put the plates away again.”

To have this type of conversation, we need to change our habits. Listening, silently thinking for a moment and giving an answer is not something that we can simply apply, it needs to be practiced.

It is normal that we do not succeed in the beginning or that we feel a bit shaky at the beginning when we have communicated differently all our lives. We can even feel like we are losing some of our power, but in the long run it will help us develop more open and healthier relationships.

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