July 16, 2018

By Arthur H. Gunther III

I talk too much, can be overly gregarious, especially when there is a seemingly captive audience. That’s rude, isn’t it? Yet most of us do not listen, at least not fully, so while doing so is defensive and protective, it can be a put-off as well.

Human nature has us repeating our idiosyncracies over and over, and that at least is a marker for the friends we do keep and for the relatives and co-workers who have little choice. It’s like driving a particular car — you know what the quirks are, what buttons to push, what to ignore.

What about silence, though? If with a stranger, it can be awkward, uncomfortable. If with a talker, relief. If with someone who might often talk and talk but with whom you also share comfortable, mutual, give-and-take conversation, silence can at times produce goose bumps, understanding that needs no words. Reassuring, perhaps even a purring moment, surely reinforcement that a mutual existence continues. 

Truly, human beings do not have to jabber on to be understood. In fact, silence can tell you more, reveal more and become a hand-holder that is reachable even when those involved are not present.

Besides, the quiet that silence lives in is a true security blanket.

The writer is a retired newspaperman. Contact: