One of my New Year's resolutions was to refrain from speaking (or in today's online world, posting) when I'm in a highly emotional state. Emotions tend to turn off my brain-to-mouth filter, and I tend to make comments I regret later. So, earlier this month when a family member sent me a accusatory Facebook message over something that I had very little to do with, I told myself that I wasn't going to post my angry reply, because I was too worked up over it. Within 24 hours, she sent a note apologizing for her comments, and I then was able to play the benevolent role and accept her apology.
This afternoon, an acquaintance made a remark to me that had me seeing red. I came home and told my husband about the remark, and he wanted to pick up the phone and give her a piece of his mind. I said no, we're both too worked up over it, let's sit on it for a day or so. I just received an email from her explaining why she said what she said. She also did some major backtracking on the remark that touched on my nerves.
Please know, I'm not subscribing to the belief that if you ignore someone, they'll go away. Rather, I'm thinking that silence creates an unexpected vacuum. Most people expect an emotional reaction, and if you give them nothing, it takes the wind from their sails.
So, what do you think? Is silence a polite response? Has it ever been effective for you?