Doing nothing is doing something

Way too often have I come across a situation where a conversation has just stopped or an action is being delayed. And after some time has passed, that conversation continues like there was never a pause. Or an action is finally taken like it was an immediate reaction.

But time has passed. So something has happened. Situation has changed. Even though nothing was said or done.

Saying something

Saying nothing is still saying something.

Let’s say that you broke up with you SO. And that those close to you have heard about that but you haven’t straight up told anyone about it yet.

Now whether or not you will tell them yourself what has happened, is not a trivial matter. You might think that it’s none of their concern or that it’s too private to share. And that’s fine. But saying nothing is still saying something.

You saying nothing still gives quite a lot of information to those around you. That maybe you are ashamed. Maybe there’s more to it than seems. Or maybe you have something to hide. By saying nothing, you’ll leave it to their imagination to complete the story. And that’s rarely a good thing.

Just by saying “Hey you know I broke up with my SO, but I don’t want to talk about it right know. Everything is fine.” will give those who are wondering about your situation something to hang on to. Then they don’t have to keep wondering.

Quite often it’s better to say something than nothing.

Learning from nothing

Let’s take raising children as another example. When a child does something for the first time, or is misbehaving, parents’ actions are crucial in determining what the child ends up learning from the situation. This can be some kind of a disciplinary action or just a conversation about what happened.

But also not reacting to the child will have a consequence. Thinking “I’m too tired at the moment, I’ll talk to the child tomorrow” is not delaying how you’ll resolve the situation. Delaying will still resolve it. Just by nothing instead of something. And the child will learn that whatever they did, will not cause a reaction.

This is similar to training guinea pigs. If you want your guinea pig to learn something, you have react fast on whatever it is doing. Delaying your reaction even slightly will already have taught the guinea pig that ‘oh, nothing happened when I did that’.

A guinea pig will not wait. A child will not wait. Time will go on and they will learn from what you do. Whether it is something or nothing.

Nothing can be right

Then again, not always is something required. For sure there can be situations where doing or saying nothing is the right move. In those situations you make a conscious decision to do nothing. Which again, in that circumstance, is something.

What ever you do, in what ever circumstance, it is crucial to understand that every action has a consequence. And nothing is an action, too.