The many gifts of awkward SILENCE.
It's the best reply to questions you wish you weren't asked.
I took a negotiation class a long time ago when I was getting my MBA (must know the enemy to defeat him, after all, bwahaha). And the single, most valuable lesson, the lesson that paid for that entire degree and then some, was this: SHUT UP when you aren’t sure what to say.
Really. Someone asks for something that could cost you financial and/or emotional security? (e.g: Can you lower that price? Can you work for free? Can you be less of yourself? Can you accept this shitty offer? Can you just let it go? Can you just denigrate yourself already? Can you get/do/be this expensive thing without expecting to be paid back in any way? Don’t you get my really nasty joke?)
Just don’t say anything. Just don’t. Nothing. No. Not a syllable. SILENCE.
You know the meme: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” SHUTTING UP helps you immensely when someone is fighting you. It makes the “then you win” part WAY more likely, too.
BEHOLD: the TEN WINS OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
THE FIRST WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
You make the situation even weirder—but in your favor. You harnessed the attack and deflected it, simply by letting it linger in the air, like the emotional fart it is.
THE SECOND WIN AWKWARD OF SILENCE:
You give up nothing. You do not get taken advantage of, cheated, insulted, or stopped. Nope. You stand your ground in that silence.
THE THIRD WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
You seem wiser than you are. Don’t blurt anything you might regret or that makes you look stupid. Don’t match and insult with another one. Nope. That smartest person in the room says the least a stunning percentage of the time.
THE FOURTH WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
You make obvious the absurdity of what you just heard. This gives whoever said the weird thing a chance to backtrack, to recant, to rephrase, to realize they were out of line. And most of the time? They’ll fill the silence with words that work more in your favor.
THE FIFTH WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
You avoid the argument by winning it preemptively. Wait long enough and the discussion is over without you having to engage any more in it.
THE SIXTH WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
You give yourself time to think out what you REALLY want to do next. Bite your tongue and savor the opportunity to compose yourself.
THE SEVENTH WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
Silence is more memorable than anything you could possibly say. Awkwardness really makes an impact. And it’s a real power move.
THE EIGHTH WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
You quickly see EXACTLY who you’re dealing with. In these moments, people reveal more about themselves than they do otherwise. This information is precious and can help you move forward—even, well, especially, if someone’s ugly side is revealed.
THE NINETH WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
You effortlessly retake the position of power. The ball is in your court and you can take it home, sell it, puncture it, or punt it into the atmosphere. Your call.
THE TENTH WIN OF AWKWARD SILENCE:
You feel free to choose your own fate. May all moments of vibrating quiet remind you of this. The is infinite opportunity in moments before decisions are made. Remember that more there for you is always possible than you are offered.
May you all have lovely, quiet weeks ahead.
Stay awkward out there. <3