How many times has this happened to you? You are on a date and all of a sudden the conversation dies and there is a prolonged silence. Even to us chatters it happens. Is there anything wrong with the silence? I know as a therapist I relish the silence. I believe my clients minds are at work and the anxiety that the silence provokes helps me to see with my own two eyes what defenses take over when their anxiety levels raise. How does this apply to dating? In my own experience whenever there are those inevitable moments of silence I use it to my advantage. I take those moments to really look at my date. What is his body language telling me? Does he become more anxious? Does he try to fill the void? Does he make jokes, talk about himself, or ask me questions? Can he sit with the silence? All of these behaviors give me clues into what he is thinking during the date. I also take into account what is happening with me. Am I trying to end the silence? Am I twirling my hair? Am I making lame jokes? Am I comfortable with the silence?
All of these behaviors can give you clues. Keep in mind these are all generalities and one behavior does not necessarily mean it is true for everyone who behaves in that particular manner. If the silence appears comfortable it is a good sign that you and your date feel at ease. If one party is trying to fill the void it can mean the person is not as confident as they might have appeared to be. Jokes and small talk tend to tell me the person is interested, but nervous about where he stands in my eyes. When I twirl my hair I usually don’t feel at ease and there is inevitably something making me feel uncomfortable. Next time you find yourself sitting in silence use the opportunity to read the situation to get an idea of where you and your date both stand.