Your boyfriend’s pissed you off? Did he do something totally inappropriate that he should’ve known wasn’t ok, but he done it anyway? Like tell you that your new hairstyle makes you look like Ringo Starr? Or did he stare blatantly down your gran’s Christmas jumper for a good long horror-filled (on your part) minute? He didn’t think about what he was doing, it was just a reflex. He’d have already forgotten about it a second after, but it could keep you boiling on a high heat for days on end. The answer to the problem? Speech. Who’d have thought something so simple could solve all those little niggling problems eh?
So, what I’m ranting about this week is the ‘Silent Treatment’. In my experience, this is one of the biggest ways for a girl to let her boyfriend know that she’s annoyed with him. And it is also the least successful and most harmful way to get a point across. Apart from making you look like a stroppy little kid, silence when there’s a problem just makes things worse. I can almost 100% guarantee that when you’ve stopped speaking to him, he won’t notice for at least an hour. He’ll just be happily sitting there playing games on his shiny new phone, watching the football or he’ll even just obliviously keep on talking to you about this amazing thing he done with his awesome friends, not even realising that you’re sitting there in stony faced silence with your arms and legs crossed. Generally, guys aren’t very good with body language. Or hints. They can’t take hints, they really can’t.
If he does notice that you’re not speaking to him, which he will eventually, he’ll ask you why. He’s not playing a twisted trick on you; he genuinely doesn’t know. So he forgot that he was supposed to be taking you out to get a new party outfit/taking you to that film/coming with you to collect your sister at the airport. He won’t guess what it is. He’ll be like ‘erm…OH! I know! It’s because I blocked your toilet last night isn’t it?’ And…cue goofy boy laugh. No! It’s not! So what do you do? Carry on the silent treatment and he’ll just carry on with his life while you let your anger fester until you one day just explode in his face in the most inappropriate place. Like in the queue in Tesco. Or on the bus. Or at his niece’s jelly and ice cream party. A clown or a magician is what a 5 year old wants on their birthday; not a spectacular emotional meltdown.
I tried the Silent Treatment out once or twice on past boyfriends. It’s what I thought was appropriate in relationships thanks to the various sitcoms and teeny-bopper chick-lit books I once engorged myself on that showed it as ok, even funny. As we all now know in our adult lives – these kinds of media are over-rated in their wisdom, and are definitely not the best places to pick up relationship advice. Which is probably why those past relationships failed. No one likes to be a guinea pig for emotional games.
There’s a good reason that the saying ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ is so famous. It’s because men and women aren’t the same! Wow, I know right? Shock horror. If you want a relationship where your other half remembers the two month anniversary of when you first held hands, picks up your subtle hints about what you want for your birthday and doesn’t yawn when you just mention the words ‘shoe shopping’ - then you need to be dating a woman. Not a man. It’s easy to say that you need to accept all of the differences men have to women, but it’s another actually accepting it. I know it’s difficult, but there’s one way that will not solve the issues caused by clashing thought processes, and that is the Silent Treatment.