One of my friends on Facebook put a post out there that he was confused about how to act and what to say. When he spoke, people called him argumentative, and when he was quiet, people were bothered by him being quiet. I responded by telling him that being quiet is how I learned to talk to people.
I used to be very quiet, and people would say thing about me like, “Silence is golden” or “She is always listening, but never talking. She knows more than all of us. She knows what we all know because we are always talking, but we don’t know what she knows because she never speaks.” They were right. I was listening, and I was learning. You see, my family had moved around my whole life, and I hadn’t had a chance to make deep friendships. I hadn’t really learned how to communicate with people even though I could talk, read, and write.
When people were talking, I was listening. I was learning how they communicated with one another. I learned what kinds of things to say and what not to say by listening and watching other people. I learned to consider my audience. I learned how people react to certain things that are said.
I decided how I wanted them to perceive me. I even learned how I wanted my voice and my laugh to sound. I remember laughing once and listening to my laugh and hating it, so I changed it and trained myself to laugh in a way that didn’t bother me. When I began talking, I was in control of myself and knew what I was doing. I used to think that whatever I said had to be something worth saying. I had to impart knowledge or say something profound, and I didn’t feel that smart or wise, so I kept my mouth shut. You see, I was raised that kids should be seen and not heard, and I was surrounded by very intelligent people I thought I couldn’t measure up to. However, when I listened to people, they sometimes just talked about silly things and laughed and talked. People like happy people who say nice things to them, but they also don’t like people who don’t tell the truth. They don’t like it if you tell them their hair looks good when they know they need to go comb their hair.
We also need to remember that what we think is true may or may not be true because we are human beings and fallible. There is not a god among us. When we say something from our perception, it may be true, but it may not be from someone else’s perception, so we have to be careful about how we say what we think is true. There could be someone who disagrees with us even though we think what we said is right, and if we didn’t say it right, we could end up in an argument which is not the way I want to spend my time.
We have to remember the feelings of that person we are talking to are more important than being right. Besides God, people are the most important in the world, and God tells us to love one another. If we go around attacking one another, that goes exactly against God. We should never intentionally hurt one another. We need to understand that everyone has a brain and everyone has feelings that could be hurt.
Before we speak, we need to think about what we want to say and what the reaction of other people will be to what we say. We need to think about how we want the other people to see us. I knew a lady once who was always jolly and talkative, and everyone loved gathering around her and talking with her. She said to me once that she wasn’t always like that, but she discovered that people liked it when she was jolly and talkative, so she continued being like that to make people happy. Making friends became easy for her. If we want to disagree, it is fine, but we have to be careful how we disagree so we don’t hurt anyone because people are more important than anything except God.
I learned not only how to speak to people, but I became a writer. I have had books, poetry, articles, etc. published. Just because someone is quiet doesn’t mean they can’t learn to talk. They can just listen and learn from what other people say and how they react. People don’t have to be unsure of themselves if they are first quiet and listen before they speak, and everything you say doesn’t have to be deep profound knowledge. You can just joke and have fun. I learned to communicate, and others who are unsure of themselves can too.