The Lost Art Of The Inside Voice


For most people my age, when we were growing up we were taught the difference between our inside voice and outside voice.

Inside voice is when you use a lower volume on your conversations so as to be considerate of others.    Outside voice is one you can use at a higher volume without restrictions of annoying others.

The smartphone has seemingly exceeded any boundaries as people will routinely carry on a conversation without regard to who is around or could be listening.  I have often said that it would be easy to be a private investigator today because you wouldn’t have to necessarily get someone’s phone records, you could just follow them around and eavesdrop on their end of their telephone conversation to get all the information you need.

This mentality even carries over into normal conversations.   When I am at a restaurant or public place, I don’t want to hear someone else’s conversation.  Once we were at a restaurant where it wasn’t difficult to hear the party behind us totally gossip about a party that was late but then when the party showed up they were as nice as could be.  Their loud conversation the rest of the meal drowned out any conversation my wife and I attempt to have.

The problem is that we live in a world where people do not consider others.  Period.  People live in their own world and have the “friends list” mentality where if you are not in my group of friends then you do not exist in my world.

Even in the workplace, people will neighbor and even use their speaker phone because they are too lazy to pick up the headset without regard that other people may be working or doing a task which requires their concentration.

The thing that’s really annoying is that some people who violate the inside voice rules also let the language fly without concern for who is listening.  So there is usually a good chance you’ll hear the F-word or worse being thrown around.  In the old days, men used to be considerate when ladies or preachers were around.  Now, there is no such consideration.  It’s very sad that adults have no thought of manners or consideration of others.

Unless you are in a bar, try to remember there are other people around who may not want to hear your conversation.   I don’t want to hear about office gossip, details of childbirth or any other drama in your life.  Talk to the people you are with and adjust your volume to them.

In today’s sensitive, anger triggered world, you can’t say anything to people or ask them – even politely – to talk lower or they will want to fight your or worse.  The easiest thing is to get away from the inconsiderate person.

Voice Levels:

  • 0 – Silence is Golden – Absolute silence.  No one is talking.  (Like during a movie)
  • 1 – Spy Talk – Whispering, only one person can hear you.
  • 2 – Low Flow – Small group.  Only the people in your group can hear you.
  • 3 – Formal Normal – Normal conversation voice.
  • 4 – Loud Crowd – When public speaking or teaching.  Everyone can hear you.
  • 5 – Out of Control – Anything goes.  No restraint.

Unfortunately sometimes we are just really big kids who need a reminder to use our inside voice.


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