I learned several things on my experience of silence. When I first began, I felt uneasy about the gaps of silence. I thought other people would notice because I am usually very talkative. However, I felt like I was the only one who even noticed any moments of silence. I believe I am more self-aware than people around me. My inner voice wanted to give in and speak more. I felt confined.
To make up for the small gaps of silence that I didn’t like, I started ending my statements in a question format. When I ended in a sentence format, people didn’t necessarily feel the need to say anything to me. When I ended in a question format, it definitely made people not only answer my questions, but add some additional comments. At times I felt as if they themselves felt the need to ask me questions in return. More banter was obtained this way.
I also observed that when I continued talking without pausing much, people tended to not hear everything that I had to say. They picked up bits and pieces of my story as opposed to the entire story. I observed that people tend to block others out and only have selective hearing. I know that I am a much better listener. If a subject was interesting to them or if the subject matter was theirs, they were more talkative. Also, they were more attentive in their listening. When the subject matter wasn’t as interesting to them, it was obvious. Not much was said by them in return. The amount of listening they did to me was also lacking. Eye contact was substantially less when our conversation was not as appealing to them. Often, it seemed that people wanted to pick the subject matter or attempt to steer the conversation to their preferences, usually making it about themselves. In that aspect, I noticed some selfishness. I definitely found this experiment to be very informative.