Sometimes it’s Better to let the Silence Speak for Itself

Being the kind of person who tends to over explain every little thing, I’ve always wondered how and why people tend to walk away without uttering a word.

I don’t know how many times, when being a teenager, one friend or another was puzzled and devastated about that the person they’d been seeing just stopped being in touch. Of course, as a friend, there wasn’t much one could do apart from trying to comfort them with the very overused cliché

“You’re too good for them anyway,” or:

“It’s their loss”.

Obviously, at the time these small attempts to ease the pain was probably not very successful.

Another story is this: one parent leaving their child and partner unnoticed, just leaving empty drawers and closets behind – and a crying baby… Hopefully these type of things don’t happen in real life, but only in dramatic films. Sadly I don’t think that’s the case.

Either way, the thing is: sometimes there just aren’t any words to say.

This is not a way to justify any kind of unnoticed leaving, but rather an attempt to explain why this might be such a common phenomenon. I mean, there has to be a reason as to why people seem to tend to just disappear.

Besides there not being any words to say, sometimes people might just leave because if not uttering a word, they haven’t made any statement at all – apart from the silent statement which is intrinsic in leaving. If one doesn’t say anything at all, we might take it as we leave it open – we don’t shut the door, we don’t explicitly end something.

In times of uncertainty, it might be easier to just remain silent, to buy ourselves more time, until we have figured out for sure what the point we want to make actually is. And perhaps we don’t even plan to never be in touch, but rather just take a short break to think things through, and suddenly the break turned into a year or two.

Another reason might be this: In the case of, for instance, dating someone, we realize that we can’t be with them because of who they are, how they feel or think about something or because of the problems or past they carry with them. How do we tell another person

“Honey, we gotta stop dating, I can’t handle your problems, they are too much for me.”

If being goodhearted and nice people, we can’t say those kind of words. Because even if the problem actually is the fact that one of the partner is this or that way, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with either one of them – it just means that they don’t match. The problem does not lie per se in who one of them is, but in what each of their past holds. But again: there is no way to word this in a smooth or harmless way.

Does it hurt less to just walk away then? Leaving someone without an explanation? Maybe not. But perhaps we reason as such: if we haven’t actively hurt anyone, e.g. by wordly breaking up with them, we might not feel as responsible for the pain caused. Plus: if just walking away, and not facing the situation, we don’t have to deal with the consequences directly.

The plain truth is, that besides there sometimes not being any good explanation or any words to say, it’s easier to just walk away. And despite us being a quite complex species, we prefer to simplify things.

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