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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Last Silence

Ever wondered when it was the right time to stop an e-mail communique?

Men seem to find it easier than women to simply go silent.  I call it the last silence.

These days I am practicing trying to be the one who stops communicating first.

It is hard.  I was raised to be say thank you and good-bye and to keep waving long after the last good bye has been said.

Maybe we are raised to do that in the South, but the rest of the world is not.

Does it matter?

I think it does.  In the same way that breaking up has a dynamic and the one who does the breaking up has the last word, the last silence doesn't necessarily have any power other than to help you feel that a resolution has been achieved.

If you are left hanging, you are not resolved.  If you do choose to have the last silence, you feel, well, in command.

Sometimes it is difficult to know when it's the right time to sign off.  To figure that out, I look at the copy of the last email and the string of email content that precedes it.  If it is time to change the key words in the subject line to reflect a shift in content direction, it is time to stop communicating and start anew.

Daphne Simpkins' latest book is Christmas in Fountain City


  1. This blog answered a question that I have often wondered the answer to. "When is the best time to end an e-mail conversation?" I have often wondered when communicating with employers if the e-mail suddenly stops, could it be a sign of avoidance?

  2. I struggle with this issue as well. Perhaps it is a southern thing. Southerns are thought to have so much hospitality. I find it difficult to end a conversation. Ending a conversation seems akward, wierd sometimes. However, it is almost like saying thanks for calling have a nice day. The responding party should then say a similar gretting thank you and you have a great day, that should end the call. Well in the case of an email or letter the same should apply. Then again, it does not always work in that manner. Although, I continue to struggle with the "last silence" this entry enlighten me to be more aware.