Quiet & thriving.
Helping introverts connect to their fierceness & their stillness.


8 tips for living with someone who needs less silence

I love silence

The noise starts before I get up from bed.

Sometimes it’s a podcast, other times it’s a radio show, or maybe some music. Whatever it is, it continues throughout the early morning. The noise travels into the car with us during the morning drive to work, usually in the form of a morning radio show. Our ride home in the late afternoon is filled with stories from her work, and they continue when we walk into the house. When the stories have ended, it’s back to the disembodied voices of podcasters. Sometimes these voices remain until we eat dinner.

My partner, I came to realize many years ago, has a different relationship to silence than I do. She just doesn’t need as much of it. Silence? Well, for her it’s mostly there to be filled. But for me, silence is a place where I can hear myself. It’s comforting. It’s an actual substance, not a void.

Here’s eight tips I’ve picked up over the years about how to live (sanely) with someone who has different silence needs than me. These are tips I’ve used in a romantic relationship though I don’t see why these they couldn’t be applied to roommates as well.

1. Don’t be self-conscious about communicating your need for silence. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. Truly understanding and accepting your need makes it easier to communicate that need to someone else.

2. Don’t take the noise personally. The other person isn’t putting on that podcast to piss you off, they have the noise on because it’s comforting to them. The noise for them is filling some sort of need, just as silence fills a need for you.

3. Compromise. Home is a shared space, and it exists for both of you. And because it exists for both of you it should be a place of comfort for both of you. The two first steps to compromise is honest communication about what you want and listening without judgement to the other person. A whole world exists in between the concepts of selfishness and martyrdom.

4. It’s a process. At one point I thought I would be really clever and put in earplugs when I wanted a bit of quiet. My partner did not like this, she felt like I was blocking her out. We decided that I would tell her when the noise got to be too much, and then she would listen to things through earphones.

5. Stay in bed. Each morning I stay in bed at least 15 minutes after my partner gets up. The darkened room and muffled noises allows me to wake up slowly and allows my brain to gradually get used to the outside world. You may find that waking up earlier than your partner works better.

6. Try to get a bit of silence when you’re not at home. If you’re at work this could mean stepping outside for 2 minutes or taking a nap in the car.

7. Meditate. I meditate for at least 5 minutes each day. If you’re around coworkers and noise during your 9-5, you could try meditating for 5 or 10 minutes during your lunch hour. I use the app Simply Being.

8. Leave the house. An evening stroll could be a nice together activity that provides enough silence for you, and enough distractions & stimulation for you partner.

Living with a person who doesn’t need as much silence isn’t the end of the world, but it can be annoying. With a little bit of (ok, maybe a lot of) patience, understanding, and good communication skills, you’re on your way to creating a home that works for everyone.

Quick review of The I’s Have It: Reflections on Introversion in Student Affairs.

I don’t work in Student Affairs. In my sophomore year of college I did apply for an RA position, but the interview was a disaster and I didn’t get the gig. No hard feelings though. I ended up finding other uses for my time, like running the club Cheese Lovers United, but that’s a story for another day…

Despite my lack of student affairs experience I decided to read The I’s Have It because:
a) It’s about introversion!
b) I enjoy reading books by people with very difference experiences than me.
c) Amma Marfo and I follow each other on Twitter and she seems like a nice person.

Turns out that although it was written with student affairs professionals in mind, most of the advice and insights can be transferable to other jobs, particularly customer-facing roles.

The I’s Have It would be an easy first read if you’re new to the concept of introversion. It’s also full of quotes from other introvert-centered books, so it can provide you with a good introduction to the literature out there (and she has a great “On The Shoulders Of Giants” resource section in the back).

Amma’s down-to-earth writing style made the book engaging and accessible. And as someone who’s read a lot about introversion, I appreciated her new insights. Speaking of insights, I often have a short attention span so I also appreciated that each chapter ended with a few “INsights,” tips and bite-sized summaries of what was discussed.

Another thing I LOVE about the book—its metaphors. Here’s one of my favorites:
“Introverts are the pasta of the world. We need a lot more moving around room to effectively serve our purpose. We can’t take the high heat as long as rice can. And, most important to this chapter, after a given amount of time we have to get out of the highly stimulated environment that is hot water. If we don’t…well, I think we’ve all had overcooked pasta. It’s simply not at its best when it gets too hot. And, as introverts, neither are we.”

And, I found out yesterday that Amma’s doing a giveaway for the book (closes August 9th) at:

Happy reading.

The Road of Life – free PDF

Most people are gung-ho about improving certain aspects of their life. Maybe they derive pleasure from making sure their finances are in order, or maybe they concentrate on developing healthy relationships. And some people treat their body as their only temple.

And while it feels good to get a perfect ten in one aspect of life, if we ignore all the other aspects our life can start to feel uneven.

I had a big aha moment when I started looking at my life as a whole. I had been focusing on improving certain aspects of my life, like education, while ignoring other parts, like physical health. With my Road of Life PDF you get a visual representation of where you’ve putting your energy… and where you haven’t.

How to use The Road of Life
On the bottom of the sheet is 10 categories. These represent certain aspects of your life. The last slot on the right is left empty for anything you think I’ve left out.

On the left-hand side of the sheet are ten numbers. For each aspect of your life, plot along the dotted line the level of your satisfaction. After you’ve plotted your level of satisfaction with each area of your life, connect the dots. How bumpy is your life?

… Not sure what to do with this information? Book a free Discovery Session with me, to find out if life coaching can help you.

Walk in like you own your life

You’ve probably heard the expression “walk in like you own the place,” or some variation like it. I like to interpret it not as “walk in like you can boss everyone around,” but “walk in like you have every right to be there.” Although the phrase is usually used to describe a feeling of confidence when walking into a physical space, we can also use it to describe feeling confident about our lives.

Do you walk into your life like you own the place, like it’s yours and you have every right to be there? Or do you walk into your life like you rent the place, like you can’t hang up pictures on the walls for fear of losing your deposit?

Good friends and family don’t keep running tabs on your metaphorical rental deposit, and whether you conform to their ideal person and ideal personality. But the truth is that we most likely have some crappy friends or family in our lives, people who see it as their job to put people down. It can hurt to have friends and family who don’t understand you. They don’t understand the way you see yourself, and don’t understand the way you want to be seen. But there’s a huge difference between good friends who don’t understand but still care, and crappy friends who don’t understand but judge. And it’s much easier to tell the difference between these two kinds of people, and not let the crappy “friends” get you down, when you own your life and your decisions and your actions.

There’s a difference between well-meaning advice and ill-meaning advice. A difference between not caring what crappy people think and not caring what anyone thinks. A difference between knowing that you are in control of your responses and knowing you’re not in control of other people’s actions.

Walk in like you own your life, even if you have to take baby steps to get there.

Do you have shiny new object syndrome?


Oh look! A new idea! Something different than what I’m currently doing! I certainly have shiny object syndrome, a propensity to want to do something other than what I’m currently doing.

But for the past 6 months I’ve been doing pretty good in terms on concentrating on life coaching and Introvertology, and I owe a lot of it to my decision workflow diagram. Occasionally someone will ask me to do a gig related to a previous career, and I’ve been able to turn them down with only fleeting regrets.

Decision workflow diagrams aren’t just helpful in terms of career decisions, they can also help with getting enough downtime, whether to accept social invitations, etc. If there’s a certain kind of decision that you struggle with or that keeps you up at night I highly suggest you create a workflow diagram to make your decision as easy as possible. You can download a blank copy of my diagram shown above in Pages form, or in Word form (I don’t have Word, so apologies if the formatting is messed up). My version of the diagram has a lot of “Maybe” and “Use intuition,” but yours can be clear cut, like this one.

Copyright © 2015. Introvertology.