I think I grew out of giving people the silent treatment when I was about 16 years old. I’ve always been more inclined to fight it out and make an arse of myself, even if it’s a losing situation. I have big mouth syndrome, if I were to try and bite my tongue in an argument I’d probably chew right through it. Of course there are times in our lives when we must sit back, observe and keep our opinions to ourselves and I have forced myself to sit squirming in my seat, white knuckled on more than one occasion but generally, if there’s an opinion to be had, I’ll have it.
I have a friend who is the complete opposite of me in this regard, if I say something she doesn’t like or if she feels I’ve let her down in some way, she will employ her favourite tactic, knowing it’s the most cruel and frustrating way she can get back at me, she will ignore me. I know I’ve said or done something to upset her because she will go AWOL from texting and Facebook, when otherwise I would hear from her through one of those mediums multiple times a day.
This latest incident, which we are in the midst of at the moment, made me wonder, in this age of online friendships and virtual interaction, have we grown so uncomfortable with confrontation that it’s easier to just ‘log off’?
I suppose the real life equivalent would be her storming from the room and slamming her bedroom door closed on me and not answering when I knock. She’s sitting there on her bed in a huff, refusing to let me in or talk to me, with her headphones in pretending she doesn’t hear me at the door.
After a few days there will be the cryptic status updates like, “why am I the only one who cares” and “I’m always the one making the effort”, which will make no sense to anybody but me. At least when we were younger she would have written me a letter, folded it in our secret “pull here” style and had another friend pass it to me in English. So even though someone would be sitting in between us in class, at least we were still communicating directly with each other.
These days, social media is that other friend sitting in between us at school. She’ll whinge to Facebook about how mean I am and be supported with the feedback she needs from her online friends, “oh no, that’s terrible babe” and “don’t worry chick, it will be ok”. Eventually our old friend Facebook will be there when we make up and the 3 of us will all be talking and laughing and sharing our friendship through check ins and photos and status updates again.
Have you realised that these days you’re more likely to send an email or text to an old friend rather than picking up the phone and calling them? Try and think about the last time you actually had a real conversation with someone face to face.
Sad isn’t it, that with all the online networking, facebooking , tweeting and blogging we do up there in the cloud, down here on earth there is still so much silence?