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Living Out "Loud"

     We've all been in the awkward position of being in a public place when somebody is speaking loudly to someone else.  It's awkward because in some odd way--at least for me--I feel a bit embarrassed for the individual who's doing the talking.  They are loud and somehow don't recognize how they may be an annoyance to others.  They may be talking to another individual sitting right next to them, but they are speaking loud enough for everyone within a ten foot radius to hear them.  Worst yet, much of what they are saying, nobody around gives a bunny's tail about.  The whole scene reeks of desperation.  I use that word because it seems as though the individual is trying too hard to get other people to engage them.  Isn't the person sitting right in front of them enough?  Do they have to be the center of attention?  And what about the poor soul subjected to having unwanted attention thrown their way because they happen to be the one the loud person is talking to?  When it's happened to me, I wanted to just disappear.
     Speaking loudly is not a sign of confidence, intelligence or boldness.  It says you're either deaf or unable to control your own vocal volume.  I dare to believe the second option is the one we experience most often.  Moreover, it's not that the volume can't be controlled, it's that the person doesn't want to control it.  They don't often see anything wrong with monopolizing the conversation in public.  Even when the other person is speaking in hushed or normal tones, it's like the loud person doesn't get it.  They stay at the same decibel--blaring out their half of the conversation to anyone within earshot.  It's enough to make a person bolt.  So what do you do when you find yourself in such a situation?  There are no hard and fast rules, but a few techniques might get you off the hook or make a way  for your escape.  Try these three things:
     One, say quietly:  "[Loud person], can we keep this conversation between the two of us?  I'm afraid everyone is eavesdropping.  Maybe if you spoke a little bit quieter..."
     Two, look around like you think the person is talking to someone else.  Then say to them, "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were including the rest of the people around us in this conversation."
     When they say, "No, I'm talking only to you."
     Then you say, "Well, I'm right here.  You can tone it down a bit."
     Three, end the conversation quickly and walk away.  You don't need to be subject to unwanted attention.
     Living out loud suggests you no longer hide yourself away from the rest of the world as if you are a secret.  Living out loud means you free yourself to do as you please regardless of who sees as long as you're not doing anything illegal, immoral or offensive to someone else.  It's about being open and sharing with others your great joys and successes.  It has nothing to do with speaking loudly.  Sometimes your actions will speak volumes to others, and people are likely to trust you more when they can see you doing what matters.  There are times when words aren't necessary, and you can share your message loudly without uttering a sound.  Therefore, try living out loud more.  Save the speaking out loud for the stage.

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