Why you should be with a person you can be comfortably quiet with

Comfortable silences speak volumes about your relationship.

26 March, 2023
Why you should be with a person you can be comfortably quiet with

'...You say it best, when you say nothing at all'—who remembers this iconic song by Ronan Keating? I am a man of few words, and I am in love with someone who speaks enough for the two of us. After all, life is all about balance, they say. Our relationship isn’t a case of one-way communication; I choose my words wisely. But I love that there are two people, an introvert and an extrovert, who communicate a lot through the silences they share.

These comfortable silences, I think, make a relationship stronger and here’s why they matter. 


What do silences indicate? 

"Comfortable silences between a couple can be as important as a good conversation, says Mehezabin Dordi, clinical psychologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai. “In this busy, chaotic world, there is always the pressure of having to make conversations and do something all the time, but when you’re able to sit together and spend time without having the urge to fill every moment with words, it indicates a deeper level of understanding, intimacy, and trust. It allows partners to appreciate each other’s presence. It’s a positive attribute that can deepen the connection and understanding between two people.” 

Sherene Aftab, founder of Serene Hour Counselling & Career Advice Consultancy speaks from a personal capacity, “Sitting silently with each other is my favourite thing to do; it was one of the first things that I liked about my husband. Being able to share comfortable silences shows that the relationship is in a positive space and the two people are connected. It's possible for couples who are able to communicate well.”

The person matters more than their words  

With hectic schedules, sometimes all we need at the end of the day is a warm hug from the person who feels like home. “Sometimes, when you come back after a long, tiring day, you might not have the energy to tell your partner how your day was and only want their presence and warmth to make you feel right. At such a time, the silences are the most comforting. It is a major green flag in a relationship. When you can share comfortable silence with your partner, you’ve aced the relationship,” says Aftab.


What comfortable silences shouldn’t make your partner feel

It’s important to know what silences shouldn’t feel like. “It shouldn’t make your partner feel like they are being ignored or aloof. They should not be left confused about why you are silent. These silences should be reassuring and not a reason to guess or fear losing a person,” says Aftab.

Don’t mistake it for the silent treatment

One person’s comfortable silence may be another person’s silent treatment. It’s important to convey the right things even when you’re not saying a word. “An important caveat is that not all silences in a relationship are comfortable. If you and the partner are avoiding communication and giving each other the cold shoulder, then it can be problematic. Comfortable silences shouldn’t be confused with giving your partner the silent treatment,” says Dordi. 

According to Aftab, any form of non-threatening silence counts as comfortable silence. “Silent treatment is being passive-aggressive, and the couple should talk it out. Comfortable silences are all things warm and secure, and leave you feeling safe.”