Y is for Yackety-yack

Yack(ety-yack) – trivial or unduly persistent conversation. Concise Oxford Dictionary.

We Quakers do like our silence, but when we stop being silent, you should hear us.

Sometimes we do sit quietly after meeting for worship and are reluctant to break the mood, but more often everyone seems to burst into frantic conversation, yackety-yackety-yack.

Over refreshments after meeting there can be a hubbub of chattering that can be very off-putting to anyone who is not part of it. They may feel ‘not part of it’ because no-one comes to speak to them, because they are a newcomer, because they find this particular sort of social situation difficult. Sometimes people are rushing around trying to speak to a list of people about various committee tasks and other, very worthy, Quaker business. Others will be talking about the weather, or yesterday’s football match. Those not involved may feel bombarded by the noise and busy-ness.


I’m not actually saying that any of this is wrong. It’s good to talk, I like to talk myself. It’s good to get to know one another in the things temporal, as well as in the things eternal (Advices & Queries 18). It’s good to discuss some things face to face and when we are in the same place at the same time it may be an ideal opportunity. But it may not be the right occasion for some of our busy-ness.

Please, Friends, try to be aware of those who are new, those who feel left out, those who can’t cope well with standing to chat or fetching their own coffee, those who want to ask deep, important questions about meeting for worship or other spiritual matters rather than discussing trivia. Maybe you are the person who can do something to improve their experience, rather than just joining in with the yackety-yack.


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