One of the most powerful things you can say to someone else isn’t actually a word. It’s not even a gesture. It’s simply: nothing. Your silence is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. In silence, you consent to nothing, you offer nothing, and you tip the scale of control in your direction.
No response is actually a pretty powerful response.
If you’ve found yourself in a heated conversation or a downright fight, if there’s no clear way out, you can create your own doorway and walk through it. All it takes is silence, the decision to say nothing additional. To leave it alone and walk away.
The other person may want to keep going. They may say hurtful things they don’t mean in order to rope you back in. But you take all of the power away from their words when you don’t respond in kind and simply don’t respond at all. A fight requires two people. One laying down arms, in this case their words, is all it takes for it to end.
Know when to stop.
Don’t get me wrong. Communication is important, even if it comes out angry. I’m not suggesting you clam up in the face of any kind of challenging conversation. What I am saying is that you should be able to identify when you need to stop. Knowing when to stop is crucial. If a debate is getting circular, no progress is being made, and you’re ready to call it a day, stop engaging.
Of course, fighting isn’t the only situation in which your silence is powerful. Sometimes your silence is important for ‘playing it cool.’
One text, two text, no response? …
I have a rule. If I’ve met someone that I really like and we get to talking, or even go on a date, if I send two text messages and don’t get a reply, I give them my silence and move on. I know the excuse. Two weeks later you get a text that says “I’m soo sorry. I was just super busy.” I don’t believe in that at all. No one is so busy that they can’t stop and send a response, even if it’s to say “Sorry, I’m super busy.”
Even if that apology text does come two weeks after the fact, I treat them to my silence. I don’t exist at the beck and call of anyone. Their apology is heard, and if they want to try again, they’re more than welcome to try again.
But sometimes, you just have to move on.
For some people, your permanent silence is all they deserve, and it sends a message loud and clear: what you’re about doesn’t work for me, and no amount of words exchanged will change that fact. Your actions might though.
Hit me up when you’ve made some changes to your behavior.