There is a very simple reason why I often resort to using the Silent Treatment. It is not because I am immature. It is not because I am passive-aggressive. It is not because I hate confrontation.
If I have a complaint about you or your services, you can expect a strongly-worded letter.
If you have touched my soul with your kindness, you can expect a sentimental “thank you” letter.
If you are revealed to be my one true love, my destined soulmate, the yin to my yang, you can expect an eloquent and passionate declaration of my innermost feelings carefully, lovingly penned in my very best handwriting.
If I need information or advice or want to schedule an appointment or need to discuss something important or want to apply for a job or promotion, you can expect a letter or email or Post-It note.
The reason that I prefer writing rather than speaking is because I am a verbal klutz. In casual conversations, I am a classic example of Word Vomiter. I can sit silently for an indefinite period, but once I start to speak I spew forth tidal waves of oversharing awkwardness. It is uncontrollable. I dominate conversations, interjecting and undercutting anyone else who tries to respond. I’m horrified and I’m just as uncomfortable as everyone else within hearing distance, but I’m unable to stop myself.
My brain misfires and my tongue malfunctions in professional conversations. I’m incapable of pronouncing words that I should know, and I’m unable to think of the impressive words that I’ve practiced ahead of time. I catch myself rambling and my instinctive solution is to stop talking. Randomly. Mid-sentence. This is somehow just as equally awkward and unsettling as oversharing.
And then, in confrontational situations, whether I am voicing a complaint or arguing a point with someone, my emotions get the best of me. I’ve learned firsthand that tears flowing is equivalent to raising the white flag. Yet I start to ugly-cry if I’m ever fighting for something I believe in, and it’s exactly as frustrating and embarrassing as you might think it is.
So the simple reason that I resort to the Silent Treatment is because in my mind I am quietly composing the most scathing verbal assault you will ever read. It will be neatly organized into pristine paragraphs, and it will be free of spelling errors, and it will clearly describe why I am angry and what I want you to do to fix the situation.
And I will probably email it to you so that you will feel pressured to email in response. Then the argument is on my turf and you are going down.