Happiness Destroyer: Unexpected Silence

You send your kid a text to make sure everything’s okay.
You shoot off an email to a client with work to review.
You leave a voicemail about getting together for drinks.
You fill out an online application for a job.
You share your feelings out loud for the first time.

And…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…nothing.

You immediately start panicking.

They’re clearly in danger and have no way of contacting me. The client hates what I sent and is getting ready to fire me. If they don’t want to get drinks they don’t want to be my friend. I’ll never find work ever again. They don’t feel the same way.

Silence speaks volumes whether we mean for it to or not. But we’ve all been on the receiving end of silence. We’ve all wanted desperately to hear back. Something. ANYTHING.

One of the pillars of happiness is confidence. Confidence in ourselves and our abilities. Confidence that we’re doing a good job, that we are loved, that we are seen and felt and heard. Silence is the quickest way to shake that confidence.

Here are some simple tips for keeping silence from destroying our confidence.

  1. Assume the best. Actually, if you need to, make up interesting, fun reasons why the other person hasn’t responded. “They haven’t responded to that project proposal because they’re secretly training to be astronaut.” It may not be true, but it’s more fun to visual than your supposed-impending doom.

  2. Move on. Not permanently, but momentarily. Go do something to take your mind of the silence.

  3. Start another conversation. Make sure it’s one you know won’t be ignored. Call your best friend. Text your partner. Walk over to a chatty coworkers desk. Just get rid of the silence.

Now, if you’re on the receiving end of a communication, you need to do your part. Don’t be silent. Acknowledge the person who took the time to reach out.

Take 10 seconds to respond, even if it’s just to say you’ll get to it later. Or, even simpler, just say thanks.

Silence destroys confidence. Don’t let silence destroy yours, and don’t destroy the confidence of others’ with it.

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