Today someone told me something about silence…
In France, culturally, silence is something that is considered as uncomfortable. When there is a conversation, it is not a very good sign to have a long silence. When there is a long silence, we say that an angel passes by « un ange passe ».
In France people talk a lot and sometimes interrupt the other person before he finishes, so there is no silence…it’s like a tennis game…words keep going and going and going… But this can be perceived as aggressive or disrespectful by people from other cultures… I feel like in the French culture, leading the conversation is having power “avoir la parole, c’est avoir le pouvoir”, be the one to end the conversation « avoir le dernier mot ». When you want to bother someone, you can also interrupt him when he speaks, “lui couper la parole”, to make him feel like you are taking over the conversation.
However, we also say “le silence est d’or”, silence is gold. We also say “si ce que tu as à dire n’est plus beau que le silence, alors tais-toi”, if what you have to say isn’t more beautiful than silence, just shut up. So yes, we are contradictory sometimes. Often, to be honest.
But today someone told me that, being comfortable in silence with someone, is something that must be valued and appreciated. Could not agree more.