How do you respond in conversations when there are moments of silence? Do you look for something to fill the silence? Or do you wait it out?
We all have different reactions to silence in groups - whether it be just us and one other person, or a larger group of people. Some are uncomfortable with it and will desperately seek to fill it. Others will just fill the silence and not even realize they're doing it. Still others are comfortable with it and will just wait it out.
There is one group of people, who sees silence as completely necessary. Without it, they just won't say anything. It might seem counter-intuitive to others, but these people need it.
As one of these people who needs silence in conversation to participate fully in it, I can say that it is sometimes hard to explain this to people and have them understand. Without silence to allow me to form my thoughts and then put them into words for others, I just won't say anything.
There is a need to silence sometimes. I know not everyone needs the same thing. Some people don't handle silence well. But, some people need it.
When I take a bit of time to answer your question, I'm putting my thoughts into words to communicate it with you. I need the silence to do that. I realize sometimes it's awkward when I take that time. I take as little time as possible to put it all together. But, I need the time to do so.
I'll give you lots of room to talk. I'll happily listen. But, if you fill all the quiet places, I'll never say a thing. I'm asking for some grace from you, in those moments when I need some time to put my words together.
Part of learning to do life together is learning to work with each other in all our differences. That means I'm learning to not get annoyed when others keep talking and avoid the silence. It also means, I'm asking that others learn to work with my need for silence in the midst of conversation.