Author Topic: Can silence be viewed as a green light?  (Read 4269 times)

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macncheese

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Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« on: December 24, 2010, 12:26:18 AM »
Silence is a great weapon in dealing with people who can't seem to mind their manners.
But can it be seen as a green light for people to do what they want to do?

I remember I was at a dinner party awhile where I was trying to talk to a friend while another guest who was
drinking too much started make some obnoxious comments about me. What really got on my nerves was that my friend
was actually egging him on. I kept shooting her looks to back off, but she just smiled at me as if it was a joke. It was
straight out of Mean Girls.

After the party I confronted and asked her why she let that guy rip into me like that. She thought it was just a joke and that I hadn't said
anything to stop it. I called her out saying that she should have realized how I was feeling by the looks I was giving her.

Of course sometimes saying something just make things worse.

Jan74

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2010, 06:01:50 AM »
Oh yeah. Not only in the situation you describe, but you'll see many submissions to the main site that go "So I delayed giving an answer, which was an answer in itself" and where the person who doesn't get the answer to the favor/party etc. assumes that "no answer" means "yes".

blue2000

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2010, 06:05:20 AM »
If you aren't laughing, it's not a joke. I think your friend was making excuses for her own horrible behaviour. >:(

Silence can sometimes mean consent. If everyone at the party was being quiet and letting Obnoxious Guy say whatever he wanted, that implies they are fine with his behaviour. They (and you) don't have to directly call him out, but ignoring him and talking over his comments would go a long way towards making your feelings known.

Silence can also mean consent if he makes a comment and then asks an onlooker whether they agree with his nastiness. If they don't say anything, that is seen as agreement. If they say right out "No, I don't think that. I happen to like macncheese." then they are politely calling him out on his comment.
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atirial

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2010, 06:51:35 AM »
Yes, staying silent can imply consent in the absence of other evidence. It's even a key plot point in A Man for All Seasons ("the maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent". If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented." Sir Thomas More.)

Your silence, accompanied by "looks", sounds like it definitely had evidence to the contrary. Your friend wasn't silent though, she was actively being rude and sounds as if she claimed it was a joke to cover her own rudeness.

macncheese

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2010, 07:05:20 PM »
Yes, staying silent can imply consent in the absence of other evidence. It's even a key plot point in A Man for All Seasons ("the maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent". If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented." Sir Thomas More.)

Your silence, accompanied by "looks", sounds like it definitely had evidence to the contrary. Your friend wasn't silent though, she was actively being rude and sounds as if she claimed it was a joke to cover her own rudeness.

That is what I told her. It really got on my nerves. Your friends are supposed to have your back. If he had done that to her, I would have to told him to go to hell if not ignore him.

TheMidnightSkulker

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2011, 03:44:40 PM »
Nthing that your friend knew better and just failed to do her duty to support you.

Next time, you could try:

"What?"

which, especially with a drunk, may not get you the response you want. So how about:

"What kind of a thing is that to say?"
"Cut it out."
"I am definitely not having any fun with you."

or getting up and leaving the room, or the party, depending on whether the costs/benefits are worth it.

I really think there's something very wrong about this. If I have read this right and you and your friends are women and the person heckling you was a guy, it smacks of harassment and instead of supporting you, your friend reprimands you for failing to say No. This is not somebody I'd count on to walk me home on a dark night.

rashea

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2011, 09:00:54 AM »
Silence works best if it's one of those silences that the whole room sort of stops and jaws drop.

If silence doesn't work immediately, it's time to speak up, or walk away at least.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2011, 09:21:52 AM »
Silence works best if it's one of those silences that the whole room sort of stops and jaws drop.

If silence doesn't work immediately, it's time to speak up, or walk away at least.

I agree. There is only so much you need to put up with before you can speak up. Or leave.
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Allyson

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2011, 08:56:19 PM »
I think that teasing/snarking on someone stuff can be a grey area. I've definitely had that kind of stuff happen and be fine, and also that sort of thing happen and not be fine. The problem can be that one can very quickly become the other. I wouldn't rely on people reading your expressions, though. People can be very dense. I do think this is unfortunately one of those situations where you need to say "hey, cool it!" or it is likely to continue. What's ragging on in good fun in one group is totally unacceptable in another. I do think it's an uncool thing to do, to talk about people like that, unless you're sure they're fine with it. But I think silence in this case, practically, isn't going to stop it.

toontownnutter

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Re: Can silence be viewed as a green light?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2011, 06:51:56 AM »
Sometimes others can see it that way.

My friend's husband (D) works with a lady who talks a lot, my friends husband by nature is very quiet. So they would work side by side and this lady would chatter away often complaining about things or other people and then later in a group environment she'd state her complaint and then say "D agrees with me don't you D" ummm D hadn't said anything of the sort. D hadn't said anything at all. Apparently his silence spelled out agreeable to her?? He quickly learned to just say "oh none of my business" or "doesn't matter to me" so she couldn't use him as back up later to her shenanigans.