How to Turn an Awkward Silence Into a Moment of Comfort

4 min read
Maksym Tymchyk / Unsplash

Source: Maksym Tymchyk / Unsplash

The power of silence is one of the most profound paradoxes that exists in the world of relationships. In our quest for constant communication and endless chatter, we often forget that silence can be just as powerful a tool for connection as words.

Awkward silences are often misunderstood and unfairly criticized. In reality, they are not only perfectly normal but can also be a sign of a healthy relationship. Embracing these moments and learning to turn them into comfortable silences can bring you closer to your partner. When seen in this light, you may start viewing awkward silences as a right of passage rather than untimely speedbumps, as they:

  • Provide an opportunity for intentionality. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, silence creates value in a relationship by providing space for more thoughtful and intentional responses. Rather than rushing to fill the void, we can take a moment to consider what we want to say next.
  • Yield authenticity and vulnerability. When you stop filling every moment with words, you create space for vulnerability. Sharing silence can be a way to convey trust, showing your partner that you are comfortable enough to be real without constantly seeking approval or validation.
  • Build emotional intimacy. Meaningful connections are built on emotional intimacy and silence can be a powerful tool to nurture it. When you sit together in silence, you create a safe and comfortable environment where both you and your partner can simply be. This creates a sense of togetherness that words alone cannot achieve.

Findings from a 2020 study indicate that silence can be an effective and valuable communication tool by itself. The key lies in knowing how to employ it appropriately. Here are three ways to turn awkward moments into comfortable silences.

1. Practice Relationship Mindfulness

A study defines silence as more than just the absence of communication. It’s seen as a deeper quality of presence and active listening. This silence allows for a deep human connection, helping love to emerge through emotions, mental imagery, and sensory experiences, culminating in a therapeutic experience.

Rather than avoiding or feeling uneasy about awkward silences, approach them mindfully. Fully engage in the moment, observing your partner’s non-verbal cues like body language and facial expressions, as well as the overall atmosphere around you.

You can keep a small notebook or sketchbook handy for these moments. Instead of rushing to speak, use this time to write a brief note or create a simple sketch that captures your emotions or thoughts in that particular moment. You can choose to share these with your partner later, offering a creative way to express yourself and strengthen your connection. This also adds spontaneity to your relationship and promotes meaningful non-verbal communication, creating a space for deeper connection beyond words.

2. Use Touch to Communicate

Physical touch can be a subtle and powerful way to break the ice during awkward silences. A 2023 study revealed that frequent affectionate touch strengthens love between partners. Holding hands, for instance, is a simple yet deeply meaningful gesture that communicates “I’m here with you, and we’re in this together,” without the need for words.

Similarly, a gentle touch on your partner’s shoulder or a warm hug conveys empathy and support when words fall short. It’s a non-verbal way of letting them know that you’re attentive to their feelings and that you’re there for them to lean on.

In essence, affectionate touch allows you and your partner to build intimacy in a way that transcends conversation and verbalization.

3. Silent Companionship

Silent companionship is a way to enjoy each other’s presence without the need for constant conversation. You can read books, work on personal projects, or simply sit together in companionable peace.

Alternatively, watching a sunset, stargazing, or taking a leisurely walk hand in hand—these quiet moments can become cherished memories. They offer opportunities for reflection and appreciation of the world around you.

In essence, embracing silent companionship allows you to relish the simplicity of being together. These quiet times enrich your connection, strengthening it over time.


Silence should not be feared or overlooked in our relationships. In fact, when harnessed well, it can unlock new dimensions of trust and comfort. So the next time you and your partner are stuck talking in circles, give silence and stillness a shot—you might be surprised by how much you are able to communicate through the quiet.

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