Woe Is Me! “I Think My Friend Can’t Keep Secrets Because She’s Too Loud!”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“My best friend is SO LOUD. She does not understand the concept of ‘inside voices’ or moderating her volume depending on where she is. It’s always borderline shouting. Even when you bring it to her notice, and she tries to whisper, it’s … not actually a whisper. I hesitate to confide in her not because I think she’ll break my trust (she wouldn’t), but her reaction, questions, advice, etc., is given at the top of her lungs and people around can’t help but overhear her side of the discussion of my personal business. How do I get her to turn down the volume?”
— I Hear You
SM – I think this very loud best friend of yours could also be me??? I can get very loud when I’m with my best friends — when friends from college and I meet (once a year now, because we’re in a long-distance friendship), we’re the table you want to kill and also, want to be at. So, first, I think being loud, especially with your best friends, is a sign of how much they love being around you — you energize and excite them and they want the world to know that a bunch of besties are around.
I’m getting emotional now because I miss my best friends. But, that being said, I think if this happens on a daily basis, you should do what one of my friends would do, which is keep nudging me to talk softly, every time I’d forget our surroundings or bring her on the verge of an eardrum burst (and this happened a lot). And the thing is, a lot of people don’t have a problem with this, because they’re loud themselves, but when you’re soft-spoken, it gets even more upsetting. So just nudge her about this whenever you need to, because if you can’t shush your best friends, who can you shush? It’s a small thing, and as a person who does this a lot too, I know she won’t mind you bringing it up — you’re probably not the first person to say this, and even if you are, maybe it’ll be a glass-shattering moment when she realizes she can’t keep state secrets but can keep you happy by keeping it down every now and then.
ADT: I get why this is a tricky situation to navigate — loud friends are invaluable when one has to catch a taxi in a busy street, or perhaps in a pub fight. Secrets, on the other hand, can get a bit tricky. You and I both know that ‘loud’ does not translate to untrustworthy — your friend perhaps just likes to show overt enthusiasm for some good drama. How about you stick to what you’re already doing — chat about the secretive business in places where the people who can hear you cause no damage. In more public situations, keep telling her to gently lower her voice till she finally figures out the inside voice that best works for her. Just so it’s not weird, the next time she summons a taxi from across a jam-packed road by the power of her champion lungs, make sure you tell her how much you love that about her.
LG: I do hear you. And I see you. Because I have this person in my life, too, and as much as they’re wonderful, they’re also occasionally deafening in a way that sometimes leaves you not only disinclined to share your personal nuclear codes with them but also disinclined to share at all, because you need a moment (just a moment!) of goddamn silence. Your friend is probably unaware — not of her tendency, but of her volume at any given moment — and therefore you’ll just have to accept her inability to self-regulate volume. But then, even the best songs need us to play them at the right decibel. So it’s up to you to gently nudge your friend to talk more quietly in a good-natured way; accept it as part of the relationship. If she responds, that’s the best you can hope for. Meanwhile, just try to choose private venues for the really juicy details about last night.
RD: Hello. Yes, loud people can be irritating and obnoxious — to strangers, but honestly, I love being loud with my own friends. If my friends are being loud in public, I’ll most certainly join them and revel in our group’s loudness. Not wanting to have your private business shouted out loud from the rooftops is valid, I get it. But you can also choose when and what you share with your friend in public spaces. Emphasize boundaries. That’s your privacy issue solved. As for any remnants of embarrassment or awkwardness related to having a loud friend — didn’t someone learned and scholarly say this?: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
AM: Hello Dear I Hear You, haha, we all have that one friend. I don’t think they realize they’re being so loud and that’s why you need to keep reminding them that they are speaking on top of their voices. If you keep nudging the friend, they’ll lower their volume automatically and as far as secrets are concerned, I guess it’s best if you discuss them at home, or on a phone call when the friend is alone at home.