Couch Cat: Better loquacious than taciturn

13 September 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
I am proudly loquacious. Those who know me will smile at this. When I am on a roll, I go for it.  By engaging in dialogue with all kinds of people, I have learned so many wonderful things! On balance, being talkative is better than being taciturn and aloof.
After many painful mistakes over the years, I learned when to tone down my gift of gab (though sometimes I fail at this).  There are situations that need a laugh, others need love and caring, and still others need facts and figures.  Everything said must be sensitive to others and well-considered.  Silence on certain topics is GOLDEN.  Politics, money, sex, cultural taboos and religion are usually no-go public conversation.
My years as a diplomat taught me to talk with a purpose.  While I prattle on, I watch and remember what is going on around me.  I can hear conversations on all sides, even though I am telling a hilarious story.  I am a student of body language and ‘vibes’.   You can speak with your face, arms, standing position and eyes without ever opening your mouth.
With me, loquaciousness is natural.  I open a part of my personality as I verbally reach out and say, “Hello there!” On the job, talking is a reflection of my homework on whatever topic is pending.  I dislike people who enter meetings with quiet agendas. They tend to sit silently as the meeting goes on and then spring things on the group.  They think that their words are hammers and the rest of us are nails.
Being taciturn on purpose is a net negative in my book.  A silent person is not always someone wise.
Some use their silence in social situations as a power play. They enjoy making others work hard to try to draw them out.  They watch people as if they are science experiments.  Throughout it all, they hold their faces like the Sphinx.  People who do this are usually not very nice at the core. 
A few taciturn people laugh inside their minds at how many people always think that quiet people are stupid.  A handful of people speak loudly to them as if their silence means they are hard of hearing.  Most people feel uncomfortable with their silence and badger them with direct questions.  Some are quiet because they feel superior to those talking all around them.
‘Still waters run deep’.  A few quiet people can be either extremely angry or in a lot of internal pain.  Either way, they can be powder kegs.  Tread lightly around people who smile with their lips only, while their eyes are flat and cold.
I have found that handling quiet people with reticence, discombobulates many of them.  A circumstance may arise when you cannot avoid being with a ‘social Buddha’.  My response is to not utter a peep.  I mentally ‘leave’ and go to a world of nice memories.  I make myself comfortable with silence.
After a bit, the quiet person tends to open the conversation with me!  I sense that they are uneasy with my warm eyes and slight smile. They seem to want some indication of what I am thinking. 
Granted, my observations about taciturn people are subjective generalities.
Some people are honestly shy and do not like talking.  Then there are those who have never had an original thought.  They feel exposed if they speak.  My grandma Cookie used to say, “People won’t know you are a fool until you open your mouth and let them know.”
Social media has made people more comfortable typing their responses or texting rather than enjoying face-to-face conversation.  I suspect in the coming years, there will be even more verbally uncommunicative people.
Fellow loquacious people, take my advice:  Know yourself.  Others must have space to speak in conversations.  Keep an eye on the time and don't speak for too long.  Never take offense when someone asks (even with non-verbal signals) you to stop talking or interrupts.  HOWEVER…do not keep quiet just to meet other people’s expectations.  Accept yourself as you are – those who love you will be right there with you, no matter what.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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