The Quiet Stranger

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In a world dominated -or seemingly dominated- with extroverts, it has became almost law that talking instead of silence is expected, if you’re in public somewhere and you aren’t talking to someone, then you’re weird and there is something wrong with you because you’re not talking. If you are not participating in some sort of small talk in order to meet people when you’re out then you’re being rude – is what seems to be the unwritten social rule. Why though?

Recently I had taken a break from going out, to clubs mostly, which is where a massive amount of my demographic tend to congregate in the modern day. A few months went by and I didn’t miss it, I noticed over these months that I had less conversations with a lesser amount of people than usual, however of these conversations, a larger percentage of those conversations were more meaningful/pragmatic, in that they weren’t simply to combat silence. This is a curious phenomenon -among many- I have found to be a little weird and even alarming. People want anything but silence.

An example would of this would be waiting in line for something. The line is taking a long time to get through so you and many others have been standing for a while. There seems to be this crushing atmosphere from everyone that says “Someone say something, anything, silence is awkward…”. People will try to alleviate this by doing something that looks like it could be socialising or invites socialisation, the common one is playing around with a phone, we’ve all done it. Why must we do this though? Why can’t we have silence and be happy with it? I’m certainly not a big fan of small talk and would rather silence than you awkwardly asking me what plans I have for the weekend. If anything I feel slightly insulted by you asking, as we both know you genuinely do not care and are just attempting to push back the grasp of expected extroversion we have in the Western world.

Why do we feel the need to eradicate silence though? I’m personally a big proponent of “if you don’t have anything interesting or useful to say, don’t say it”, save us the effort of pretending to care. If being the guy that sits alone at the bar every now and then means I’ll avoid hearing about how you’ve hated the weather recently or that you’re friend went to a concert last week, then I’ll be happily drinking, thinking and observing for the rest of the evening.


Featured Image: ©x1klima