The silence of friends

When people are speaking about their friends and mention that what they most value in their friendship, it often seems that being able to talk to friends, confide in them, use them as a sounding board, seek advice, share difficulties and joys – and reciprocally to be the same and to do the same for them, is what they value most. What isn’t as often mentioned is the silence of friends.
It’s something I really value; to be able to sit in silence with others, or be in their company and they are silent too and it’s perfectly comfortable and natural and somehow reassuring and relaxing. I’m so lucky with my friends, and my friends in different circles. Recently, fortunately I’ve been with writing friends, and as you might imagine writing goes on, which is mostly in silence except for times when someone needs to ask for a word, or read out a bit they’ve just written, or mutter something aloud to themselves. You might also imagine that when we are not writing we are talking about writing, writing in general, our writing in particular and each other’s writing too. You might also think, quite rightly, that as we’re friends we talk and chat and gossip and laugh about all the ordinary everyday things, and reminiscences, and stories that anyone would share with their chums.
What struck me recently with this particular group (and others as well of course) there is that wonderful, positive, comfortable silence among friends. Where no-one says anything, and we sit or lounge quite happily thinking our own thoughts. With some people it might be uncomfortable, to be in silence, some people might feel compelled to talk, some might feel awkward and ill at ease. But the silence of friends is the most lovely thing, and I’m very happy, and grateful that I can enjoy it with my chums.

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