While I enjoy conversation a great deal and hopefully handle it well on most occasions, there are times when I don't have a lot to offer. Sometimes, all I really have to say is something like "I'm hungry," "My right nostril is clogged" or, and no one wants it to come to this "Wow, I feel better after that trip to the bathroom." None of that is especially enlightening.
While I don't usually resort to sharing thoughts like those ones, there can be times during a conversation when I struggle for something to say and they stand a chance of being verbalized. It seems a shame to struggle for something to say though. What is it about silence in conversation that makes this effort seem necessary?
It's wonderful when two or more people share themselves and their thoughts in conversation. I suppose it is a lot to expect, though, that people will speak every second of their time together. We may need breaks to absorb what we have heard, to generate new thoughts and to gather thoughts that we have not shared yet. To fill every second with words, we would have to work on what we are going to say when we should be concentrating on what someone else is saying. Slowing down and allowing silences should enrich our conversations, our sharing. But we seem reluctant to slow down.
Perhaps when there is silence we fear that we're not interesting (although everyone is pretty interesting, in my opinion) or that we don't have the connection we thought we did with someone. We want validation and connection and that's good. What's not so good is trying to force the issue. When we struggle to come up with something to say, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Perhaps relaxing and letting thoughts come to us more naturally is a better approach. And even if we find out that there's not a connection with someone, that is ok. And so are we.
I will try to let conversation flow a little more naturally and see how that goes. If we're ever in a conversation and I suddenly tell you "I might have a toenail fungus" or "I'm craving cheesecake" (and we're not in a foot clinic or restaurant, respectively), please be gentle and know that I'm trying a little too hard. I have to learn to appreciate that sometimes silence is a far better choice than saying what's really on my mind.