Child eating in a restaurant

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Secret #2: The Restaurant Voice
There are plenty of reasons to talk really loud. You're mad! You're trying to make a point! You're upset! You're stressed! But you're also silencing the people around you with all your exclamation-pointed emotion! Friends who want to give you advice get alarmed, so alarmed they can't put the right words together. A spouse who wants to end an argument with you gets so exhausted by the force of your convictions that he goes mute and gets depressed and says nothing. Furthermore, don't problems seem to grow at the volume we express them?

This is why you need to rely on a trick your parents taught you as a kid: the Restaurant Voice. Chatting in this voice, one that was calm, polite and, most of all, quietish was probably about not distressing them in public. But now, it's about not distressing yourself. No matter what the emotion (fury, fear, stress, total freak-out), it's most clearly and compassionately expressed at a talking-over-a-child's-plate-of-spaghetti tone of voice, which allows others to hear your concerns, and not just the feelings being blasted over them.

(Let me add that totally unproven, life-based research has shown that being heard leads to feelings of being understood which leads to feelings of bliss so resounding that when you experience them, old friends come up and ask you who cut your hair or how you lost the weight.)


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