Ways of asking People to be Quiet

There are times when those around us, for whatever reason, lose the ability to recognize our needs and become wrapped in their own little world. Safe in this place they jabber away to their hearts content, unaware that they have an unwilling audience.

At times like these it can be hard to know how best to handle the situation when all we hear is a constant babble when we want, or need, peace and quiet.

Our need for silence becomes a battle over another’s need for noise as we attempt to think of how to quell the other persons nattering without causing offence or sounding uptight.

Simply saying ‘please keep quiet’ may be met with a barrage of resilient defensiveness that is expressed verbally and so adds to our discomfort.

This is because asking a person to ‘stop’ anything brings out their need for autonomous expression as it reminds them of when they were a child and were told to be quiet rather often by their parents.

All of a sudden, instead of being a contemporary, you become a noisy child’s parent, in their mind at least, and they become rebellious.

In such a case the best that you can do is to not go along with their delusion. Don’t behave like a parent and become ‘too’ understanding or too angry. Behave as an adult and say, ‘when you are noisy it affects me by stopping me from……….’.

Most people are more likely to respond favourably when they understand the negative effect which their noise is having on others. But what do you do if you are dealing with an unreasonable person?

We have all heard the horror stories of the noisy neighbours from hell, or have unfortunately been on the receiving end of such commotion ourselves. For these noisy people protests from others seem to feed the fire rather than dampen it.

On such occasions it is not unusual for a third party to be bought in to try to calm down the situation and to ascertain whether the level of noise being experienced is thought to be unhealthy.

The bringing in of a third party can lead to a social war amongst neighbours that becomes far worse than the original noise. So we are back to trying to find out how to stop this situation from escalating in the first place.

The way to handle this is with direct honesty, without aggression but with purpose. Expressing not only how the noise is affecting you in a practical way, but in an emotional way can break down communication barriers and lead to a successful calm.

Very often people who create noise are attention seeking because they are lonely. Once they realize that their noise makes you ‘sad, ‘unhappy’ or ‘depressed’ they are more likely to be quiet.