Silent Treatment Out Of Respect..?

This year has turned out to be one of my must occupied ever (I don’t like to use the word “busy”): if it’s not the day job then it’s working on some personal project I promised myself I’d complete. Just recently I started another web related project, and it’s that time of the year where I’m doing last-minute preparations for not just one but two LEGO events.

During some down time I had a moment to think…

Earlier this year I’d found out, after trying to contact them through Facebook, that someone I’d considered a very close friend – one of the few actual female friends I’d ever had – completely up and disappeared. They didn’t answer any of my messages, and refused to answer their phone (they might have changed their number), and there was no explanation whatsoever.

What was particularly upsetting about this incident was the idea I had that this person was “different from the rest”, and that they’d proven themselves to be otherwise.

My usual MO would have been to curse this person out, particularly because of their use of silent treatment to get out of a situation: something I’ve mentioned a couple of times before that I view as being cowardly and childish. At the most basic, someone choosing to run away instead of facing the music is displaying their lack of maturity.

Then I thought about things another way: given what I knew about this person, maybe there was a specific reason she thought a silent exit was the best solution.

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a bit…

Saying something would have resulted in conflict. Even though [I think] I’ve calmed down some compared to about five years ago, if I had been told that the friendship was over, I probably would have lashed out in some form or another. I have emotional moments just like anybody else, and sometimes I take things too far.

The reason for disappearing was particularly bad. It could have been something I said or did that she really didn’t like, or that something happened that changed the whole dynamic. Whatever it was, it might have been something so significant that they couldn’t address it.
(I wouldn’t rule out the idea of her disappearing because of what someone else had said, because let’s be honest: most people – not just females – would rather believe hearsay than a first-hand account.)

She simply wanted to move on. I would definitely advocate leaving anything behind that you’d consider to be dead weight, especially if doing so would free you to do something with your life. It could very well be that she saw me as dead weight.

It was out of respect. I’d said about rejection, particularly through silent treatment, that it’s always about the rejecter feeling better about themselves for doing the rejecting, as opposed to not hurting the rejected person’s feelings. This might have actually been a case where choosing not to say anything was done out of respect for however long we’ve known each other, particularly if we consider that most people believe they don’t owe anyone anything.

Instead of viewing the situation in a hateful way, it might help to re-frame the whole thing: instead of someone leaving, they’ve made room for something else to come in. Thinking about things this way removes the inherent need to know why something happened.

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