Silence means rejection

You've heard the phrase: "Silence means consent".
However, the opposite applies.

E.g. 1
Employee: Boss, can I get a raise?
Boss: I'll get back to you.
The employee never hears back from his boss.

E.g. 2
Guy on the Internet: Can I have your phone number?
Gal on the Internet: (silence)
Guy on the Internet: Are you there?

E.g. 3
Guy to gal: When are you free to go out?
Gal to guy: I'll check my schedule.
Guy never hears from gal. He sends her a message but she doesn't respond.

Ever too often, we are faced with silence. Silence doesn't mean consent; it means "Not going to happen". Most of the time I make the effort to respond to turn down the requests instead of just ignoring them though sometimes I couldn't be bothered to do so. I've had guys go silent on me too. The thought crosses my mind that they might be have dead so I look for their pictures in the obituary section of the newspaper. It's not that I wish them dead - it's just one of the many reasons why they didn't respond. It would be nice if they would at least let me know that they are alive to save me the trouble of flipping through obituaries!

Many people are not used to handling rejection. Some rejections are not personal while others are personal.
Not personal:
- If a salesperson does not give you a discount (though sometimes it is - he might not like your face).
- If your boss doesn't give you a promotion (despite the reasons he might give you for turning down your request).
- If someone doesn't want to hang out with you.
- If someone doesn't want to have sex with you (despite the reasons given haaa).

Their reaction to rejection is unpredictable. So it's easier to ignore a people instead of having to reject them, explain why and deal with their reactions, especially if you're unlikely to come into contact with them again. Some people, after being rejected, would try to convince, pester or beg. That's precisely the reaction that others do not want to deal with.

I can't help it if people think I'm unable to handle rejection and would rather ignore me than reject me directly. Their predictions about my reaction is influenced by their past experience. E.g. If a guy's x-gfs all threatened to kill themselves when he broke up with them, he is likely to think that his current gf would also react the same way.
So when someone rejects me silently, I take the rejection personally but the method of rejection is not personal.

- Taking rejection personally doesn't mean I need to be upset and crying. I do need to consider whether the job/person is a good match or perhaps I need to improve myself or my behaviour.
- I was joking about checking the obituaries!


Anonymous said...

i bet u write the above from experiences. Well I agreed that silence can b a killer and at least response politely so that the other party know

~Pink Miu Miu~ said...

Interesting post, let us look at silence from another perspective. Everyone hates the big R but i think silence means rejection is a soft approach to say NO rather than being brutally honest.

Soya1942 said...

Perhaps it still comes down to people skills. If you feel that the other person cannot take a brutally honest rejection, then you go for the silent rejection. But if the other person can handle it, its still better to be brutally honest. Which in this case would be the type of person that Yu Kym is.

Sometimes, some people cannot detect other people's threshold of tolerance. Or rather are not sensitive enough. So their methods of handling rejecting might hurt the other person's feelings. Takes experience and maturity i guess. :D

Yu-Kym said...

Pink Miu Miu, If silence is a soft approach, then perhaps I should ignore insurance agents/financial planners, credit card salesmen and religious people who approach people in public places like train stations and shopping centres? :) Sometimes I ignore them completely because if I say something to reject them, they will have something else to say, and the cycle goes on...

Soya1942, I think you are right that we do need to read the other person's tolerance level. I still don't like the silent rejection because the person isn't given the opportunity to understand why he/she is being rejected and loses the chance for future improvement. But I just have to accept that there will always be people who would give the silent rejection.

David said...


Some people are better than others in getting the unspoken message from superior, women of interest.

Silence in certian situtions may signal consent. However one would have to be very specific regarding the situation.

Silence in the scenarios you descibe are indeed rejection.

Interesting post to events that likely occur everyday.