Last night I was allowing my thought to run free and I started to answer the following question: Why do I chose to not speak up in certain circumstances? It’s interesting to me because, even though as an introvert being quiet is something that I do on a regular basis, I’ve never really taken the time to list all of the reasons for my silence. So let’s start with the simplest one.
1. Because I have nothing to say. When I’m asked for an opinion on a topic that I haven’t thought about… or is of no interest to me, I tend to have no thought formed in my mind. Therefore, silence is my best option.
2. Because it’s more fun to listen to the conversation than to say anything. Some conversations are just more fun to just let it run it’s course and enjoy them than to think about something to say.
3. Because I have no legit knowledge of the topic of discussion. I don’t know everything. Therefore, it’s wiser to stay silent than to speak up and look like an idiot.
4. Because it’s not the right context to speak. This is kind of logical.
5. Because I want to reduce unnecesary conflict. I want to be at peace. So if I think that the conflict is going to drain my energy or I just don’t feel like getting into conflict, I will stay silent.
6. Because I don’t want to deal with the other person’s reaction. This is similar to the last one, but this one is more geared toward the fact that I don’t want to deal with the other person’s feeling or be responsible for the other person being upset or angry at me.
7. As an action of rebelion. This one might not be expected. An example of this happened when I went with my brother and sister to Orlando last Christmas, the impression that I recieved was that I was there because I was biologically related but I wasn’t a part of the trip per say. So I stayed silent to minimize conflict and try to minimize the torture I was suffering. At one point, my sister said that I was drifting off and not being part of the conversation. I sald something along the lines of them not shutting up enough for me to speak, which my sister turned it on me (as if it was my fault) and said that they were going to shut up so I could talk. “Now entertain us”, she said in a forcefull voice. I had nothing to say and I didn’t want to exert energy in trying to entertain them without succeding, but that wasn’t the reason I stayed silent. I chose not to talk to not give my sister the pleasure that she was seeking. Two seconds later my brother resumed the conversation as if nothing had happened. They think that I did not speak because I had nothing to say. In my mind, I was rebelling against them and their crappy behavior.
8. Because the other person that is expecting a reaction from is not worth my words and my ideas.This might not be that big of a stretch. My speaking up is somewhat of a commodity reserved for a select few. It’s actually a privilege if I get into conflict with someone, because it’s an indicator that either the person of the cause is sufficiently important to me to force myself out of my comfort zone and speak my mind. So when a conflict comes along and I stay silent, it can be an indicator of the lack of value the other person has to me and the value that I put to my perspective and ideas. Last year I was in a youth group activity in a Boy Scout campsite where I was the leading musician. It was the last night and I had decided to take control of the musical aspect of the praying for people session by organizing the resources available to me. In the middle of the praying for people session a woman that wasn’t a leader in the activity asked if I knew a particular song that I knew how to play but they didn’t know how to sing. I said to her in a not so nice way no… and I put her in her place… ish. After the service, we went to try to do a campfire and the youth group director came at me in a forceful “you just screw up and I’m holding you accountable” way and asked why I treated the woman in the way previosly mentioned. I chose to stay silent not because I was ahamed, but because I knew that the youth group director was not worth my energy and my perspective. I was certain that the woman and the youth group leader both screwed up and were incapable of seeing that I had everything under control. The youth group leader thinks that she won the argument because of my silence, but in reality I won because she didn’t really get what she wanted.
These are my reasons to stay silent in certain situations. What do you guys think about these reasons? Do you have any others that can be added to this list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section… whereever it is.