A wise man once said nothing

Introverts are known for being people of few words.  We are accustomed to others telling us that we are “too quiet”.  Negative feedback about our quiet nature can leave us feeling like there is something wrong with us.  Because of this, we might find ourselves wishing that we were more talkative.

I have felt this way at many times in my life, especially as a teenager and young adult.  I thought that individuals who could talk a mile a minute were somehow superior.  After all, these people were popular.  They seemed confident.  They were able to slay dreaded awkward silences with a continuous stream of words. Never mind what those words were.

As long as they didn’t drop too many F-bombs, I figured that talkative people were doing better than I was. I knew that others found my quietness strange.  But the way many teenagers made conversation seemed foreign to me.  I honestly didn’t understand how they could have so much to say.

words, words, words

I once read that the average woman speaks about 20,000 words a day.  Clearly I am not the average woman. I don’t think there has been a day in my life in which I have spoken 20,000 words.  It sounds exhausting.

In the past couple of years, my admiration for very talkative people has dwindled.  The reason?

Words Have Power

As a writer, I am a strong believer in the power of words.  Words are like living things that get into our minds, our hearts, our walls, our spirit.  They have the power to change the energy in a room. They can uplift us. They can connect us.  They can hurt us.

You would think that recognizing the power of words would make me envious of people who use them in excess.  But the opposite is true.  Knowing how influential words are allows me to see that they are widely abused.

In the world of writing, there is a saying:

“Just because it happened, doesn’t make it interesting.”

Can I get an amen? Because introverts tend to speak less than extroverts, we often find ourselves downstream from some Chatty Cathy unloading every mundane detail of her life on us.  The words flow out unfiltered.  There is no editing. No thought as to whether what she is saying is interesting, important or of any value at all.  She simply verbalizes every experience and passing thought that is rattling around in her brain.

black-and-white-quote-silence-tekst-Favim.com-541207_originalWhen people use words in this manner, it dilutes their power.  There is nothing admirable about using words simply to fill air space.  They are meant for so much more than that. Instead of creating connections, empty words create barriers.  They jam up all the space that could have been used for deep thought or thoughtful sentences.

This doesn’t mean that every conversation should be deep and philosophical.  Or that people who have the gift of gab are inferior.  It means that we should be aware that words are meant to have a purpose.  If we have nothing valuable to say, it is better to stay quiet.

It is meaningless conversations – not awkward silences – that we should fear. Tweet this

Knowing this has helped me to embrace my quiet nature.  I want to infuse more meaning into my sentences, not more words.  I don’t need to say 20,000 words a day to get my message across.  I think 500 or so will do just fine.  Come to think of it, everything I just said can be condensed into a few simple words:

Words have power. Don't abuse them.