We are constantly talking about something with someone in our daily life, whether it be an everyday conversation, a meeting, an answer at a seminar, or a funny story that we tell with friends. Of course, in each of these situations, we speak completely differently on different topics, and, of course, we try to think about what we are saying, to whom, and when.
However, few people think about silence, which serves as a pause in a conversation and an integral part of speech. First, it’s at least silently easier to think about in your head what you’ve been told and what you can answer to it. Secondly, silence affects the interlocutor no worse than spoken words. It is not for nothing that they say that the absence of a result is also a result.
The strength is in ignorance
During a conversation with any interlocutor, be it your friend, boss, or new acquaintance, you should understand that the partner’s disposition towards you will change depending on your answers. Everything is simple here: if you say the right, sensible things, you are witty, cheerful, polite, and intelligent, then the degree of confidence in you in the interlocutor will noticeably grow, which means that he will do what you need with a much greater desire. If you know what to say – speak up; if not, then, obviously, luck has left you, but you can always competently keep silent.
Imagine talking with your boss, beloved, or just a useful acquaintance whose location is very important for you to win. The conversation goes smoothly, fluidly, you like each other, but suddenly your interlocutor begins to conduct the conversation in a completely unfamiliar direction. For example, he starts talking with ardor about fishing, in which you, of course, do not understand anything. What to do in a similar situation?
It is important to remember that in most cases when a person himself persistently translates the topic of conversation into a narrowly focused channel, this means that he does not want to discuss this topic with you at all. He wants to speak out, show his professionalism and awareness of the issue, in the end, boast of. Well, why should we interfere with him? Let him speak, nod, and pretend that you are interested. You can ask leading questions and generally have fun with all possible methods: the main thing is not to fall asleep and not show by your appearance that you do not care deeply about the variety of spinners.
After his tirade, your interlocutor will feel tired but satisfied. And, most importantly, he will be infinitely grateful to you just for the fact that you listened to him. He will ascribe to your person many of those good qualities that you, perhaps, did not have at all. Moreover, he will tell all his acquaintances that you are “a real specialist in fishing” and “an excellent companion, you can immediately see that you are a knowledgeable, well-informed person.”
Sometimes the best answer is silence
How often did our sharp tongue and hot head cause trouble, big or small? And how many times have we gotten a headache because we were silent? I think that in the second case, there were much fewer precedents. He said without thinking, blurted out in the heat of the moment, well, and all that, but would have kept silent – and there would have been no problem.
The secret of silence lies in the person’s zero response to what is said. If you kept silent, you did not respond to the aggression, did not lie to the accusation, or gave the wrong answer. You haven’t done anything. If we compare a conflict situation in a conversation with a duel, then conditionally, we can consider several options for developing events.
You are called to a duel (they start an unpleasant conversation for you – accusation, reprimand), and you understand that the interlocutor is already against you, which means that whatever you say, most likely, it will not be spent in your favor. There are three ways from here:
Answer the call (start bickering). It is immediately clear that this will not lead anywhere except a quarrel or pointless debate.
Pass. The interlocutor will think that you are a coward and unable to answer for your actions. You can start to get out, but if you get caught in a lie, you will find yourself in a completely disadvantageous position.
Keep silent. By keeping silent, you buy yourself time to think about the correct sequence of the conversation, and at the same time, you gradually reduce your opponent’s aggression to nothing. Moreover, he is dumbfounded and does not know how to interpret your reaction: are you afraid, scared, angry, insulted? Or maybe you know more, and he’s just making a fool of himself? Moreover, it is likely that after a short pause, he will either give another monologue, which will give you more time or information about the problem, or he will ask a direct question, which is, of course, more accessible to answer than an indirect, open accusation.
Of course, it will not do without an example. Imagine that you are walking down the street, and an extremely suspicious person follows you. He begins to shout in the back typical provocations from the series: “Do you have a smoke?” “Where are you from?”, “Who is he?” or, if you are a girl: “Why is such a beauty walking alone?”, “A groom is not needed?” well, and all that jazz. A simple situation can turn into a big problem if you misbehave. When a person bullies in words, he only expects from you an excuse to move on to more serious methods of resolving a conflict invented by him.
That is, it is obvious that the marginal did not follow you to ask stupid rhetorical questions. He is only looking for a reason to cling to an excuse and go to physical contact. In such a situation, of course, you can respond to a provocation if you are very confident in yourself or have a black belt in karate, but this is, in any case, stupid and not at all necessary.
What if there are several malefactors? What if the bully has a knife? If you answer something from the series “F*ck off,” “Get out,” and all that, then the pursuer will feel offended and will begin to explain to you in a more rude form that you should not talk to him like that. It is much more correct and simpler to keep silent. After all, if your “victim” does not answer anything, then you will not be able to justify yourself on a moral or legislative level. In short, no, and no trial.
The point is that silence is ambiguous. It can be interpreted as you like, and, as a rule, your interlocutor understands him the way he likes best. But, unlike words that cannot be caught in reproach to the sparrows, silence leaves no traces at all.
That is, if you said a smart thing at a party, people are likely to think that you are smart (or boring). However, this also works in the opposite direction: if you say something stupid, the glory of a fool is guaranteed to you. But if you are silent, then people will tend to imagine everything that comes to their minds: you are arrogantly silent, because of all those present, you are the only heir to a multimillion-dollar fortune, you are silent because you are saddened by the death of a relative or unrequited love, perhaps you silent because you are contemplating a major oil company merger, or are you planning a contract murder? Even if you are silent because you do not know what to say – it’s okay; society tends to make idols out of people.
Dramatic pause per second of silence
Barking a dog is an attempt to intimidate an opponent. If the dog barks, it warns you that it is ready to fight, and if it is silent, it means that it is already directly preparing for the attack. Is it possible that this works not only in dogs but also in humans? The right words are said to enhance the moment. This is certainly true, but doesn’t silence do the same?
Why is a minute of silence announced during mourning and not a minute of speaking? Yes, because words and energy from them go into the air, into “milk,” while silence keeps people in suspense, and after 30 seconds, people are afraid to move so as not to make an accidental sound.
The royal guard at the Tower of London commands such respect precisely because they are silent and do not move. Do you think they would be honored if they answered all the tourists and took selfies with them?
A person capable of murder, before the decisive blow of the knife, will not shout at the top of his lungs, “I will kill!” Instead, on the contrary, ominous calm and silence are the companions of the bloodiest crimes.
Silence raises the degree of conversation, creates an atmosphere of tension, innuendo. In especially important disputes, the ability to keep quiet in time can play a decisive role: you will catch your opponent by surprise, and he will be on his nerves to blur out everything he knows to get a response. After all, it is very difficult to give energy unilaterally: when you are emotional and all on your nerves, you want the interlocutor also to show involvement in the process; otherwise, there will be an awkward pause, silence, pressing on your nerves. Sometimes it can be used very competently by playing on the emotions of your interlocutor.