Silence is needed once in a while

Ines - Boston, Massachusetts
Entered on April 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Silence is Needed Once in a While

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen,” says Rachel Naomi Remen and I couldn’t agree more. I believe silences connect people, and are very important in every aspect of our lives. They are necessary.

For someone who has a social life, and by this I mean that they work with people or go to school (so everyone basically), silence is something essential. I don’t mean an uncomfortable silence; no one would like to be in such an awkward moment where no one is speaking because there’s nothing you can say to the other person. No, what I am talking about is a time to think, a time when you can react to what has been said.

A silence is a moment to get calm. As a teenager I really need to have a silence, a big silence, once in a while. I use these silences mostly to think or to organize my thoughts. During silences in a conversation I reflect of what I am going to say next, and about what the other person has said.

As an international bilingual student I experienced many silences during my first months in the United States. Silences in which I translated whatever someone said to me into Spanish, thought about it in Spanish, and when I had the answer, translated it back to English so that the other person could comprehend me. Now that’s a lot of work to be done in a relatively small amount of time. But I needed it. Those silences and those translations were essential to my understanding my world. Now of course, I don’t need those translations, but still I need time to reflect on a question if it is too complicated to answer it fast. I remember now when sometimes I saw the person standing next to me getting tired of waiting for my answer.

Silences are also a tremendous help to listen and learn. That is how I caught onto English, listening in silence, with nothing else going on in my mind. You don’t just only use these silences to learn a language, or in school, but to understand those who talk to you, and understand whatever is surrounding you, like the people that you are with, and how they react to anything. You can tell those things just by listening and looking at their facial expressions, and reactions. By silences I also learned about culture, like how students act in front of their teachers, or even how they address them. In Spain calling a teacher by their last name would be something that only a suck up would do. In students mind teachers do not have a first name, they have a last name. Another big difference was the time the meals were served, in Spain lunch is served at 2 o’clock and dinner is at about 9:30 or so; here my friends would be like “Oh I’m having lunch right now” and I thought well I am having breakfast, this would happen at like 12 p.m. Another huge difference that I found, and I still laugh at sometimes, is the clothes. Here people dress to be comfy, in Spain people dress to impress (most of the time). My friends from Spain that came here would get so stunned at some people, they would even feel pity for them, no wonder they did so I used to feel sorry for them too, and even now I sometimes do feel pity.

Staying in silence might be the most intelligent thing that someone can do. You won’t mess up if you stay in silence. You won’t answer the wrong thing either. So don’t be afraid of silence since those who stay in silence are often those that get the most out of life.