How to Remain Silent for a Whole Day

Two Parts:Clarifying your reasonsBeing silent all day

A vow of silence, even a temporary one, is quite a commitment. As such, it's a deeply personal choice, and not for everyone. But if you have taken, or are considering taking, a vow of silence, please prepare yourself and others first. Here are some tips to help you get through the day successfully.

Part 1
Clarifying your reasons

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    State your reasons. Are you doing it for fun? For a sociology / psychology experiment? Going on a talking strike until you get what you want? Sick with laryngitis and want to recover as fast as possible? Trying to win a bet with your friends? Whatever your reason, you need to know why you are making this commitment.
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    Plan ahead. Before you start your silent day, specifically plan activities which will avoid people who are likely to either keep trying to talk to you or to get upset when you don't chat with them.
    • Do not attempt this on a week (or work) day. At least not at first — whether you can or wish to keep this up for multiple days is up to you. However, if you're going to make this your new norm, starting on a busy day is probably not a good idea.
    • It is best to schedule your day of silence when you are off work and have nothing else planned for the day. While your friends and family will likely be supportive, or at least understanding, those you do not know as well will likely be less accepting.
    • If you are doing this for The Day of Silence, know that it is always on a Friday, so you will have to find a way of communicating with teachers that doesn't involve talking (and / or let them know ahead of time). Therefore you should do it on the weekend, so you won't have to worry about the teacher calling on you.
    • Silence doesn't necessarily mean isolation — choosing not to speak is your business, but try not to shut out the rest of humanity, as this could make people more likely to try to force you to speak.
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    Let anyone who you speak with on a daily basis (family, friends, coworkers, and so on) know about your plans. Now that you and they know why and when, they will usually be happy to oblige you, and will not attempt to engage you in conversation, making your job much easier.
    • Whether you tell them in speech or writing is up to you, but letting them know is just common courtesy.

Part 2
Being silent all day

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    Do something to distract yourself from the difficulties of silence. Watch a movie, read a book, or listen to music (but resist the urge to sing along).
    • Singing along with the music defeats the purpose of silence — if you're having trouble resisting the urge, try listening to classical or jazz music, which is typically instrumental.
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    Take a walk. Go into the woods or along the beach or across the prairie. As you stride along, consider the joys and pleasures and blessings that are part of your life. Study your surroundings, the earth, the sky, the foliage, the wildlife. Be at peace, be silent, reflect...
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    If you are really having a hard time, think and/or write to yourself. Another option could be to use sign language if you know it.
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    Keep a pad of paper and a writing utensil with you at all times. These come in handy in case you truly need to communicate.
    • If you have to be silent, better express it in writing. Writing is a powerful way for people to communicate when silent.
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    Talk to yourself in your head. By talking to yourself in your head, you resist the urge to talk out loud. Talking to yourself in your head isn't considered talking. However, if you want to remain completely silent, then remember your reason of silence. If you remember your reason, you remember to not say a single word. This is not talking, not even in your head. You are just "seeing" or picturing your memories and the world before you.
    • To fulfill this step — cutting your mental chatter — it helps to clear your mind.

Tips

  • Remaining silent will help rest your vocal cords, as well as help you to develop a more introspective and observant point of view.
  • Try writing the word "silent" on your hand, then put your hand on your mouth whenever someone talks to you.
  • If somebody does try to talk to you, just point at your throat and 9 out of 10 times they will think you have a sore throat.
  • Write on an index card or two that you are having a vow of silence that day.

Warnings

  • You may need to break your vow of silence if circumstances demand or if there's an emergency. No vow of silence is worth preserving at the cost of your own well-being or that of others.
  • If you must speak, be concise. Don't be a Silent Cal, but as Susan RoAne (the Mingling Maven) put it, "Be bright, be brief, be gone."
  • If you do not inform others of the fact that you've scheduled this day of silence, they may become offended at your refusal to speak. It is important to let others know that you are not giving them the 'silent treatment'.
    • But some people will be offended anyway, with or without an explanation on your part, and may become angry. Another person's anger is their own issue, not yours, but common sense goes a long way — please be careful and understand what you're getting into.

Article Info

Categories: Speaking and Listening Skills