Ina Balke by Ted Russell 1964
Whether it is a heated argument or a flatlining flirtation, having the last word isn’t always the ideal end-goal when it comes to dating. Sometimes when we want the conversation to end, we want to cinch it with a final thought. We want to get our point across, and never have to hear from the offending party again. Or, we desperately want the conversation to continue, but the object of our affections is hardly throwing us a bone. What to say? We say … nothing.
Michelle Afont, relationship expert, divorce lawyer, and multi-published author whose most recent work is The Dang Factor, says to say nothing, too. “Silence is powerful. Refusing to engage with someone can be one of the most liberating moments of your life. A desire to refrain from texting back or posting on social media is a monumental turning point and the first step to taking your power back.”
That’s right, no response is a bigger power move than a response. It says, “I’m bigger than your microaggressions or passive-aggressive behavior.” It says, “You can’t hurt me anymore, because I simply don’t care.” It says, “I don’t have time for this petty bullshit.”
Or, it encourages more. “You’re gonna have to work harder than that if you want to keep my attention, honey.” It says, “Tell me something interesting, because I’m getting bored.” It says, “I’ll wait until you’re more engaged before trying to force a conversation out of you.” It says, “I’m not desperate.”
And if it’s a situation when we are really just over it, Afont calls it the valuable point of indifference. “Reaching the point of indifference in a potential relationship is powerful. Indifference means not caring. Not caring means you are now in control of your emotions and actions. The act of not responding is liberating. It’s boundary-setting. No response means you have reached the point where you are in control of who you give your time and energy to.”
Having the last word or constantly having a retort doesn’t necessarily mean power. It could showcase a reach for power, but not necessarily a grasp on it. “It is crucial to listen to your gut when deciding whether or not to engage with someone who is contacting you. Something may be making you not want to respond. Listen to that something. Responding equals prolonging. By responding, you are simply prolonging the inevitable end to a relationship with no future.”
That may come off as harsh, but why should we waste our time? If they can’t captivate us, next! If they can only upset us, next! Cut it now by going silent, or make them show up and show some initiative. “No answer is their answer. Let your silence speak for you.”