We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

When Does Silence Become Awkward?

Silence becomes awkward after approximately four seconds, research shows. People who view a video clip in which a four-second silence has been inserted into a conversation report higher instances of low self-esteem and anxiety than those who view a video clip without the breaks in conversation. Researchers believe that people might associate feelings of awkwardness with silence because not receiving a response signals rejection by their peer group. In prehistoric times, social rejection might have meant death, because people needed to be in a group to survive, so it is thought that humans have an inherent desire to be accepted.

More about silence:

  • In some countries, such as Japan and Mexico, people who are silent are generally viewed as more trustworthy than those who speak more often.
  • The scientific theory known as the “20 minutes after the hour” effect states that human beings in crowds are collectively silent every 20 minutes after the hour as a result of their ancestors needing to regularly listen for danger.
  • Children who go to schools in quiet environments have been found to have greater reading skills than those in noisy environments, because noise is thought to interrupt long-term memory formation.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.