For some people, silence hanging in the air is a nightmare. They’ll say anything to fill the silence, to make things less awkward, or to cut the tension.
The truth is, silence isn’t always a problem. Sure, in the early days of dating it’s normal to want to keep the conversation going. You’re going to be nervous about a lull or an uncomfortable gap where one of you is desperate to come up with something you have in common to talk about it.
Instead of being scared of running out of things to say or being worried about boring each other, we should embrace silence. You don’t need to be quiet all the time but once in a while, being quiet together is an important part of a healthy relationship. Here’s why you should embrace being quiet with your partner.
It shows a level of ease with each other
I’m a nervous chatterer. At a party, when meeting someone new or in a job interview, I’m probably going to talk too much. So when I’m quiet with a partner, I don’t take it as a bad sign.
It doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to talk about or that we’re feeling awkward with each other, it just means that I feel comfortable enough to be quiet with them. Being able to be quiet together is a great sign. You’ve stopped performing for each other and you can just be yourselves together.
You can really relax
Along with showing how comfortable you are as a pair, being able to be quiet together allows you to actually relax. And silence can be rejuvenating. Once you get used to spending time being quiet together, it can become a restful, nourishing part of your relationship.
The silent treatment should never be a bad thing
“The silent treatment” is often associated with having a fight in a relationship, but the truth is, silence should never be used as a form of punishment.
Fights and disagreements require communication—you should be talking through them, rather than shutting down to prove a point.
You should learn how to associate silence with being an easy way to spend time together—and realise you need to respond to tension with communication. Never let an argument turn into a stalemate.
For an introvert, it’s even more important
For some people, being quiet together isn’t just a nice side effect of being at ease—it’s a must. Introverts not only need time alone to recharge, they also need quiet time.
So if you’re an introvert yourself or you spend a lot of time with an introvert partner, it’s important that as a couple you respect each other’s need for silence.
At some point, you’re going to have to be silent
It’s also important to be realistic—if this is your significant other for the long haul, a future partner or a spouse, you’re going to need to spend to learn to spend time alone
You can’t fill every car journey, every train or plane ride chattering away. At some point, you’ll run out of things to say—or just get sick of each other’s voices. Think of the amount of hours you might spend together over a lifetime…some silence is inevitable. Learn not to be afraid of it.
It doesn’t have to mean doing nothing
There’s a stigma about silence being associated with being bored or doing nothing—but it doesn’t have to mean sitting around twiddling your thumbs.
Being quiet together can mean being on a journey, but it can also mean both of you reading a book or the paper in the morning. It can mean one of you scrolling the internet while the other doses in bed or one of you working on a craft project while the other plays a game or does some yoga.
Remember that there are a lot of things you can do together in comfortable silence.