Communication Issues

When being Silent Speaks Volumes

Karen Chaffee's image for:
"When being Silent Speaks Volumes"
Image by: 

Being silent-what is it really? It can be the absence of sound, or it can be the absence of talk, or the lack of communication. But there are times when those absences speak loudly indeed.

When Being Silent Speaks Volumes

1. Are you giving someone the cold shoulder? Is someone giving you the silent treatment? Either one speaks volumes, doesn't it? We hear the message loudly and clearly: I am angry with you. I don't want to talk to you. This is your punishment, this loud silence that shows you my disapproval.

This cold, silent shoulder tells you that I am hurt when I cannot say it with words.

2. When you are in the middle of a heated discussion or an argument, has your phone just suddenly gone silent? That silence is saying something. The other person cut you short and then hung up on you. That silence on the other end of the line speaks loudly of anger.

When the phone remains silent day after day, it tells you: s/he lied about calling me back. And it says it as loudly as a polite, "I'm truly sorry; I didn't plan this, but I'm just not interested in continuing to date you," ever could.

3. Another time being silent speaks volumes is when you've caught someone you trusted in a lie. You confront them, and that person just stands there at a loss for words. No further accusations or explanations will change the truth you've finally discovered. The silence says it all.

4. When someone says, "I love you," and you cannot say it in return, you've learned something about your feelings, and so has the other person. When you ask someone, "Do you love me any more?" and they stand silent, unable to meet your eyes, it is one of those times when someone being silent speaks volumes.

5. When you are grieving and a loved one hugs you without saying a word, this silence tells you that they love you, they are there for you, they care, but that they know your hurt is too deep to be soothed by words at this particular time.

6. Have you ever been so in love that all you can do is stare into the other person's eyes? The look on your face says it all. Your rapt silence speaks volumes to the one you love.

7. Moments of being silent or moments of silent prayer, are often requested in remembrance of the loss of a hero or someone who has sacrificed their life for others or in memoriam of other tragic or momentous events. Words are not needed, as being silent is speaking volumes that no words ever could. That silence speaks of respect, of homage being paid, of great requests being shouted inwardly, of grief, of a sense of loss.

8. Have you ever been rendered speechless in the presence of the great beauty of nature? Or at the sight of your child immediately after birth? That silence is the feeling of awe, and it does indeed speak volumes. So does the sight of snow falling silently on a landscape, or the silence of a sleeping child, finally peaceful and resting after a fitful night of illness.

As you can see, words and body language are not the only ways we human beings communicate with one another. Being silent , can indicate guilt or awe, great anger or great love, deep sorrow or tremendous joy. While it may sound like a contradiction in terms, there are frequently times in life when being silent really can speak volumes.

More about this author: Karen Chaffee

From Around the Web