Today, we won’t talk about people who like to give others a silent treatment, but rather about those who are in general short-spoken and taciturn.
In fact, a closed and untalkative person is not necessarily sulky or secluded. Usually, taciturn people are nice, polite, and attentive, but they don’t rush to talk about themselves, their views, or feelings.
If your partner is like that, while you are an open and emotional person, most likely, it’s not always easy to be in this relationship for you.
We suggest that you don’t attack your untalkative friend demanding that they pour their heart out, but first figure out the reasons of their restraint, which would allow you to develop an appropriate line of behavior.
Why is he/she silent?
There are many reasons for keeping quiet, so your actions will be different in every individual case:
- Upbringing: If your partner comes from a family where everyone is frugal with words, or grew up in a house, where restraint and control over one’s emotions were appreciated, you should probably just accept your partner the way he or she is and respect their peculiarities.
- Old Wounds: Your partner was once betrayed and lied to, so now he or she doesn’t want to open up to avoid being vulnerable and showing their weaknesses. In this case, you’ll have to be very patient and caring so that your partner learns to trust others again (we will discuss it later).
- Insecurity: Being short-spoken might stem from having a low self-esteem. For example, your partner might be afraid of looking stupid, boring, or even tongue-tied in a conversation. In this case, it’s important for you to be a perceptive interlocutor and support your partner’s attempts to have a dialog with you, even if the topic is insignificant.
What to do?
First, let’s discuss what you shouldn’t do.
No matter why your partner is so taciturn, you are bound to fail if you try to force him or her to speak or try to shake them up. This person needs his or her “secrecy” for protection, which is why any “militant” action will force them to resist you even more and make them want to hide. “We need to talk”, “Let’s be honest, come on”, etc. is a very bad way to start the conversation.
Now, what will help?
Taciturnity is almost always based on the fear of being misunderstood, rejected, and lonely. This is why your goal is to create the atmosphere of love, trust, and full acceptance. No reproaching, blaming, lecturing, or criticizing. It’s important to make the person understand that you appreciate and love them the way they are, that their taciturnity doesn’t make them worse or better than others. Give your partner time to thaw out. He or she hasn’t always been so short-spoken, so they won’t open at once either, which is why you need to be patient.
The rules of communication
A relationship is impossible without communication. However, when it comes to an untalkative person, it’s necessary to create the safest possible environment for them:
- Share the topic you would like to discuss with your partner in advance.
- Choose the place where he or she won’t feel tense when talking.
- During a conversation, do not rush your partner, give them time to think about their answers.
- Use “I-messages” so that your partner understands that you aren’t blaming him or her but rather trying to be sincere: “I am worried about us talking so little” (instead of “You are always silent, it’s suspicious”), “I feel sad and scared when you stay silent for a long time” (instead of “You don’t seem worried and you don’t care, people usually don’t act like that”).
Why not? Give it a try. Many reserved people find it more peaceful to first express their thoughts on paper (in a chat, in a messenger), than face to face. Offer your partner this type of communication (for some time) and, maybe, it will make it easier for him or her to open up to you and become intimate.
A joint activity
It has been noted that people find it easier to talk when they are doing the same thing rather than when they are face to face. Try to cook, wash a car, or collect a puzzle together and talk.
When doing something together, your partner might become distracted from their fears and open up to you and start talking about something personal.
Being together with a person whose inner world is always shielded by “Everything is fine” and “I’m okay” is never easy. However, if you have got the necessary love, patience, and wisdom, you will find the keys to this “fortress of taciturnity”.