Remember the old adage, “Silence is golden”? Civility experts agree. There’s a lot to be said for basking in silence now and then, rather than contributing even more to the distracting babble that constantly surrounds us.
Think about it… when’s the last time you enjoyed silence? These days we drown everything out with our iPods, we shout into our Bluetooth headsets so that everyone can hear our private conversations, we gossip and squeal with our co-workers by the water cooler, disrupting those who are actually trying to work. We create noise pollution, violate our own privacy, and annoy others in the process.
Of course, practicing good civility doesn’t mean we have to cover our mouths with duct tape or join a monastery. It’s simply about being courteous and aware of our surroundings. If we need to listen to our music, we keep it at a low level so that it doesn’t affect others. If we need to make a phone call or have a conversation, we find a private space or lower our voices, and avoid any overly personal or inappropriate topics.
Silence can be incredibly meditative, and more and more people seem to be embracing it as a reaction to the loud, abrasive, technology-obsessed culture in which we now live. Take, for instance, the designated “quiet cars” on certain trains, in which passengers must refrain from loud conversations or blaring music. Having ridden in one of these cars, I have to say—it’s much more relaxing, and less stressful!
Make an effort to “keep it down.” Switch off your mobile next time you’re on a train or bus. Use your indoor voice. Read a paper. Respect other people’s space. Trust me—they’ll appreciate it!