And Then… There Was Silence
June 1, 2020
Claire Miles

When I was 24, I started dating a very sweet guy. He was an introvert, like me, and oftentimes, during our time together, there were many minutes of silence. For us, that was the norm, and we didn’t view it as something strange or as a warning sign. However, the people around us did. Unfourtenetly, hearing all the criticism around us got to me and made me re-examine our relationship. Listening to other people’s opinions was what led to the end of this relationship.

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What I didn’t understand back then was how rare and special were these moments of silence. This relationship wasn’t my first, but it was the first one that seemed like it had some real potential, that seemed like it was going somewhere. We could go through long periods in which we didn’t speak, and it didn’t bother us. It wasn’t uncomfortable or weird – it was natural. We could walk along the streets, enjoy a meal, or relax at home without uttering a word for long stretches. We didn’t need to talk continuously to reassure the existence of our relationship. Of course, we communicated with one another, but when we didn’t, there was nothing negative attached to the silence.

However, when other people heard about our connection, they raised their eyebrows. They would tell me it’s bizarre and dysfunctional, that it’s a bad sign. Although we had communication in our relationship, people convinced me that it wasn’t a healthy one. Looking back at it, I see that silence doesn’t indicate a lack of communication. Quite the opposite; there’s a vulnerability in silence, and leaving at peace with it and having it not be awkward or weird, adds depth to the relationship. There’s a quote from Pulp Fiction that I agree with and relates to this subject: “That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just be quiet for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.” The criticism eventually got to me, and we went our separate ways.

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