I'm one of those people who listens. I also, often wrongly, assume people know what they're talking about and that gets me into trouble. I can go very quite if I can't reconcile what's been said, with what I believe to be true. Like anyone with an academic background, I find myself questioning my beliefs and experiences, looking to see who might be misguided or where I might need to modify my hypothesis... So I go very quiet indeed.
Whilst I'm quite, the person I'm with, tends to get nervous and talk more. It can be quite intimidating to be silent. High pressure sales teams use it a lot to get you to sign on the dotted line. In counseling, it's used to nudge a person to talk about their issues. So some people can find me rude or assume that I don't rate them or that I'm bored with them. Really, I'm just thinking.
Sometimes I'm envious of those who can comfortably talk. I remember working really well with a friend, Rob, on a consultancy job. Rob finds solutions on his feet, talking through everything. Sometimes he talked absolute drivel and it became my job to stop that, but he'd also cover every, almost unthinkable, aspect of the problem. With Rob talking, I could think and together we forged some pretty good answers - and unlike most consultancy projects, we even improved something!
My wife is like Rob, but with bells on. When we're out with anyone, I have to get the drinks or order the food. She seemingly can't stop talking. When she returns from a meeting or night out, I need to set aside a good hour for the debrief. When I go out, I return to the questions I failed to ask and the subjects I failed to mention.
Last night we ate really late. We have some lovely visitors staying and whilst I got our boys to bed, all Lynn had to do was phone for some Thai food....