• H. Rick Goff

The Silent Treatment



It is said "silence is golden", but that could not be further from the truth in any type of relationship, a friendship, the work environment, a business relationship, a marriage etc. There are many things that can hinder effective communication, but silence is the worse. The silent treatment is not a "treatment" at all, it is a weapon that has dire consequences on a relationship. It closes the door on all other options to repair and or save a relationship.


Contrary to popular belief, no one is a mind reader. No matter how long you have been in a relationship with someone, you will never possess the ability to read their mind—never!! You may be able to predict their reaction in certain situations in some cases, but you will never know exactly what someone else is thinking unless you ask them, and they chose to tell you. While body language is extremely important and tells a lot about what a person may be thinking, verbally articulating feelings is the best way to communicate thoughts and feelings. Communication and the ability to talk through any issue are keys to a successful relationship.


Open and honest communication is not always easy and can be painful at times. But the result of not communicating can be devastating. Not communicating leaves it up to others involved in the relationship to assume what is meant, and we all know what happens when we assume! The silent treatment erodes the foundation and can cause irreparable damage or totally destroy a relationship. Long term relationships survive because those involved are committed to communicating with each other. They are willing to accept what is said may not be pleasant and can possibly hurt, but they also know this is best in the long run. They understand "talking" is the most critical form of communication in the relationship!


In the modern-day lexicon, I think the term "ghosting" is the equivalent of the silent treatment. Young people now tend to cut off all social media communication with each other as a way to hurt each other in a relationship. The consequences are the same as the silent treatment but with the fragile psyches of today's teenagers and young adults, the results can be and are often severe mental stress/depression and consequences up to and including suicide! This is a tough reality when a simple conversation could have made a difference and not only repaired a relationship but could have possibly saved a life!


Relationships with others can be hard and difficult to manage, but at the end of the day, most are well worth the effort to be repaired and saved. The silent treatment is just one of many threats and barriers to a successful long-term relationship. Addressing issues and concerns head-on by talking them out is the best way to ensure a relationship not only survives, but thrives!

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