My relationship to silence

Like most introverts, I like it. Silence. Quietness. Solitude. I seek it. There rarely are times when I avoid it.

I intentionally choose silent times as much as possible, especially when I want to write. The last time I wished for a few hours of quietness was around my birthday. I recall being torn into a million pieces with work and life in general; I recall thinking I’d rather have silence, than any other present. I like not going out to parties on weekends, or to busy cafés. I much rather enjoy a quiet, intimate night, either in or out. The thought of three days in a cabin without music or TV make me feel pangs of longing.

Sometimes I can take it, but generally there can’t be loud music playing while I’m working on something. While I craft maybe, that works, but when I’m writing – forget it. Simple instrumental music doesn’t even help many times.

Like I said in a comment on Carolyn Rubenstein’s recent blog post, the Chef is a complete extrovert. He keeps the TV on even if he’s not in the room, needs to listen to music while doing most anything; thrives on it.
I’ll have to slowly teach him the “trick” of putting headphones on if we’re both trying to work in the same room *winks* That way both of us will be happy and not get cranky.

I’m more and more aware of the quality of silence between me and other people. I’m a strong believer of silence being louder than words, many times. In conversations, especially new conversations I fill in silences carefully. I like finding out things, but make sure not to overwhelm people. But I rarely fill the air with music, singing, one word at a time. I like listening.

Listening, really listening feels like a luxury. Most people are so busy and distracted, that it might feel like a passive action or an impatient pause. But when someone truly listens, it gives me a feeling of hope. True listening is an art, really.


*Blog post inspired by this question from Danielle LaPorte’s The Burning Questions Series.

15 Responses to “My relationship to silence”

  1. Hi Estrella! I’ve always found it so interesting that most writers are introverts. It makes sense, though….All that time alone when writing, all that BIG thinking going on! I think you know I’m the opposite. I’m outgoing and not a bit shy, but I also do love my “alone time,” when I’m writing, reading, listening to music, etc. I AM quite a quandary!! Have a wonderful rest of the week! :)

    • Yes, it makes sense. I have my moments of wanting all the noise I can take around me, but that hardly ever happens really ;) It’s great for people, like you, who are okay with it. I’m sure it makes for a much easier life :P
      Thanks, you have a lovely rest of your week, too!

  2. I often listen to music while I write, but I do like being alone. Just one more day and my alone time will be a rare commodity since the kids will be out of school!

  3. Such great thoughts here, Estrella, bravo. I like how like-minded people can connect through a simple log post like yours – I’m also an introvert and everything you described here rings so true. I also have kids and pets in the house, aside from a husband :P so peace and quiet rarely every happens anymore.

    • Oh, I have times when everyone is at home, listening to the TV, music, etc. plus cats trying to catch my attention. Hope you’ll also find some quiet alone time :)

  4. Oh, thank you for writing this. When I go to bed at night I pray that the next place I live will not be filled with the noise of machines. Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, tree-chopping machines, snow blowers … all year round it goes on. We even have a noisy machine in our basement – a dehumidifier to inhibit the growth of mold. (Don’t tell Brian but whenever he’s out of town on business I turn it off at night so I can lie in bed without listening to that thing.)

    Yes! Time in a cabin out in the woods with no TV, music or freakin lawnmowers would be utter bliss.

  5. I guess I’m a hybrid introvert. I can do a lot of my work with the noise, I guess cuz it drives me into myself, and almost makes me… Forces me to hear my own thoughts. It’s when people engage me that I get distracted, and I lose focus.

    However, i too love the silence, and often turn off everything to experience the wonder and bliss of stillness.

  6. It’s always nice to know there are others who share my “need” for silence Estrella. Sometimes I feel selfish for wanting the silence because by husband and children and TALKERS and cannot possibly comprehend my need for quiet. But, like you, I cannot work with any sort of external distraction – I especially can’t write with music on or if there’s a conversation going on nearby, even if I hear only mumbles.
    Great post, as always!

    • Same with the Chef, and my mom especially – then they are the ones to get frustrated if I don’t reply or react too crankily when responding… I mean, at least give me the chance to finish my thought, a sentence, or something before “needing” my reply. Right?
      Yes, it’s so nice t know other share this need of mine for silence. The little girl I babysit is also a talker – she will talk to me while watching cartoons, that’s how badly she won’t shut up at times! This winter she had a cold (when didn’t she though?) and I was telling her to shut up until we arrive home on account of the cold air. She then started to whisper… so yeah, still talking!


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