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Have you ever been the brunt of someone’s joke? 

Have people laughed mercilessly while you lost repeatedly in a game of snakes and ladders?

Have you been teased all your life?

I have, and it earned me the label of ‘ the-one-you-can-tease-with-ease’. For a long time, I resented that label. I was too naive for my own good. I was so sensitive that I would burst into tears at the slightest hint of a cruel joke.

Then, I grew up- literally and emotionally. I learnt to grow tough. With age, the proverbial skin grew thick to insults and mean barbs.  Now, when people targeted me, I either ignored them or learnt to retort. But, here’s the problem with retorts. They hurt too. So, by reacting to a taunt, I was behaving no better than those who ridiculed me.

So, I took refuge in silence. This is not defiance, mind you. It is deciding which battles are more important. And you will come across many.

Today, I choose to remain silent if I know that what I say will have no impact on an argument. My lips remain sealed in a confrontation, where the other person’s mind is already made up. Sometimes, I remain silent during a tantrum that my child will throw, knowing that reacting to it will only fuel it further.

Yes, there is power in words. But there is a strength in silence that can only be experienced to be believed.

Word count: 242


Written for the A to Z 2014 Challenge

S is for Silence & Solace

My theme for the month is : Introspection in shades of 11

Also linking this to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for April


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Categories: A to Z

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Dr. Gauri Kekre · April 21, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Did you just write about me? I was always the butt of fat jokes (pun intended). Faux concern only fueled my agitation. But then like you, I learnt to remain quiet and it has helped me in many other situations as well. Like you said, in an argument, when you know that the other person's mind is already made up, there is nothing to be gained from arguing. Wise words Shailaja, wise words 🙂

nibhz · April 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm

oh.. i have been there and still there.. I'm usually an easy target for jokes 🙁

loved the last line of wisdom!

Carol Graham · April 22, 2014 at 1:10 am

I agree 100% about — “But there is a strength in silence that can only be experienced to be believed.” I grew up being made fun of because my parents were very strict and I was not allowed to do much of anything. Powerful post. I am sure you are, as I am, stronger for it.

Carol @ Battered Hope

Swathi Shenoy · April 22, 2014 at 1:40 am

silence can convey wat words fail to! evn i was d target of jokes before n wen dat happened i wanted to hide frm everyone but nw i knw better.. i no longer am afraid of it n can reply back. wen they understand that, they stopped pickin on me coz there was no use of it

tulika singh · April 22, 2014 at 2:51 am

Is there anyone who hasn't been laughed at? I was too. You've given a great way to deal with it. Somehow I don't find silence works too well with kids though!

Found In Folsom · April 22, 2014 at 3:07 am

Speech is silver, silence is golden….though not relevant here…sometimes, it is true. Keeping quiet works better than retorting back. I was made fun many times too…by cousins and family…now, I developed self mockery…no one can make fun of me then 🙂

Danny Simon · April 22, 2014 at 3:11 am

I was just like you growing up and I used to feel very bad about myself till I learnt to laugh at myself. When they realized that they stopped laughing at me overtime and eventually I have made some of my best friends with those people! Great post! Brought me a lot of memories!

Sreeja Praveen · April 22, 2014 at 3:13 am

I guess we're similar then, Shailaja. I had this invisible label too, as someone people could tease easily and get away with. And if I did retort, that would cause another round of ridicule. All this happened as a child, but I grew up faster and now I know how valuable my words are, and how powerful silence is. More than half the time , the people who ridicule you cannot accept their being ridiculed. As you said, I'm still learning to weigh the issues and decide on speech or silence !
A true 'S' post, this is !!

meena · April 22, 2014 at 3:17 am

Totally agree with you. At times am very good at it while w kids i lose cool. Yell less is somthg am tryg to achieve. Lets c…

Vinodini Iyer · April 22, 2014 at 4:10 am

Happens all the time to the best of us…have been there too! The best tactic I have learnt is to make a joke of it and laugh at myself when someone tried to tease me…and that actually deterred the person to get a kick from it 😉 Dropping by from A to Z.

Suzy · April 22, 2014 at 4:42 am

I was teased a lot in school and learned to suffer in silence because I was a quiet, timid, shy kid. There are probably very few who wouldn't have gone through this. Sometimes silence is strength.

Nisha · April 22, 2014 at 6:02 am

When someone tries to tease me, I tease myself more. That way we all get to laugh. And when someone goes overboard, I confront later on; never at the same moment though.
But in arguments, I do believe silence is more powerful. More than anything, it saves us the agony of saying something that we might regret later.

Aditi · April 22, 2014 at 6:05 am

Totally with you… At times silence is golden, the most powerful tool in hand!

Beloo Mehra · April 22, 2014 at 6:10 am

Yes, sometimes silence speaks louder than any words could. And the wisdom is in knowing that my silence actually brings me solace, it is not just a tool to repress my anger or frustration. Looks like you have become quite wise, dear Shailja 🙂 A very good post!

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 6:33 am

I probably wrote about a lot of us, Gauri, unintentionally though 🙂 Thanks for appreciating the wisdom 🙂

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 6:33 am

Nibha, from someone who has been there, do this: Laugh at yourself. It will make your life more pleasant 🙂

Ananya Tales · April 22, 2014 at 7:31 am

I find it extremely difficult to be silent, just not in my nature. If any day I am, everyone around me is in a shock !

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 7:39 am

Yes, Carol. Much, much stronger. Thank you 🙂

Shilpa Garg · April 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

Well said, Shailaja. They say, don't waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.

Afshan Shaik · April 22, 2014 at 7:58 am

Yep Silence is needed at times to be at peace but I can't be very silent if I am taunted 🙂
May u win with being silent ! I need to learn it

Usha Menon · April 22, 2014 at 8:16 am

Shailaja this is a very inspiring post. How beautifully you have concluded that there is strength in silence,.

Psych Babbler · April 22, 2014 at 8:26 am

I'm yet to learn the power of silence…I have been teased and picked on but as I've grown, I've learnt to retort. I agree that some retorts can be hurtful but like I said, I'm yet to learn to shut up! Great post Shailaja… 🙂

Prasanna Rao · April 22, 2014 at 9:06 am

Ha, I do that too, I remain silent and ignore my daughter when she throws her tantrums and she's in her twos so there are plenty of those 🙂

Bhavya · April 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

I am with you when you say that some people deserve nothing but your silence. Initially, I used to think that it would be rude to remain silent, but then some people leave you no other option.

Bhavya @ Ishithaa

Srilakshmi Indrasenan · April 22, 2014 at 9:33 am

Recently I am learning to be silent.. it gives me a lot of peace!

Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
Smile, it makes (y)our day! · April 22, 2014 at 10:06 am

Refusing to react in any way is the best response when one is ridiculed or taunted. It makes the other person(s) feel foolish.
Of course, one must be able to laugh at oneself: a quality which, sadly, is in short supply.

Nabanita · April 22, 2014 at 10:07 am

Sometimes I'm okay with jokes but at times I find it very annoying…Ofcourse at both times I keep quiet unless it's my husband or sister at the other end

S for Safe-Random Thoughts Naba

aparna adhikari · April 22, 2014 at 10:08 am

Yes I think all of us has been part of this taunting…if we can learn to take people's taunts as lightly we will grow emotionally..

Kathy Combs · April 22, 2014 at 11:37 am

It is hard to not take taunts to heart. I always struggled with that. I couldn't laugh off teasing. I take it very personally and let it hurt me. I hide behind a mixture of giggles and silence. Silence is golden.

Eli Z · April 22, 2014 at 11:58 am

Thank you for sharing dear Shailaja – you write so well about your process, and I was hooked from the first words… The power of silence is the most powerful sometimes, and I think a lot of people will relate to your post, and be inspired by it:-)

Archana · April 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Yes there is strength in silence especially in arguments or heated debates but it needs a lot of self control.

Archana · April 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I agree that there is strength in silence especially in arguments but it needs a lot of self control.

Comley Charlotte · April 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm

When people say words don't hurt they are lying. Nice to meet and connect through atozchallenge.

Cathy Graham · April 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Great post, Shailaja. I agree that silence is a good approach in dealing with difficult types who tease or argue. Why give them the satisfaction of having you react? Too bad I don't always follow this, though and often react too emotionally. Depends on my mood at the time.

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Yes, but replying doesn't help, Swathi, unless it is done in good humour 🙂 Trust me.

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Ha.. a silent, steady glare does wonders with Gy 😉

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Laughing at ourselves is the next best thing, I agree 🙂

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Becoming friends with those who teased you is the best form of forgiveness and maturing. So glad you could do that, Danny 🙂

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Sreeja, we are more similar than we realise. A-Z has proven that beyond doubt 😀

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Hope you are progressing well with Yelling Less 🙂

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Yes, laughing at ourselves is a good trick to learn 🙂

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Silence is more powerful than anything else. This is not true of bullying, of course, which is a far more serious concern.

Shailaja V · April 22, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Yes! Thank you! We regret what we say in the heat of the moment.

peppylady (Dora) · April 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Teasing was aloud in our family but there were bounds set. If someone ask you to stop and it wasn't stop there were a punishment.
If you were the teaser and you should make sure you could take the heat in re-turn.

Someone who teases needs to know bounds when it can be very hurtful.

Stop in from A to Z challenge and coffee is on.

geeta nair · April 22, 2014 at 6:48 pm

I agree with you Shailaja. There is no doubt that words are powerful But at times silence too speaks a lot. Silence has strength.

meena · April 22, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Honestly long way to go da…

Vidya Sury · April 23, 2014 at 5:29 am

Silence can be very soothing. 🙂 I like this line = It is deciding which battles are more important. When we learn to do that, we are also closer to self-love.

Pixie · April 23, 2014 at 5:39 am

I am with you on this!
As much as speech is required in some places, I prefer silence…
I prefer to answer the jokes, the rumors and the ugly whispers with silence. and so far its worked

Red Handed · April 23, 2014 at 8:29 am

Why would u be the brunt of someone else's joke and be silent.
I know how u said tht now u do not believe in confrontations whr u know that the other person's mind is already made up. But for some reason, I cannot be silent. I find it tough 🙁

Rajlakshmi · April 24, 2014 at 3:19 am

Sometimes when I am super angry, I am silent, maybe because I don't have enough words to express my rage… but my silence disturbs the other person even more. I was made fun in college because I was thin… like bamboo stick thin. Sometimes it used to hurt but I never defended, now I have learned to pass off any remark. Why give someone the satisfaction of disturbing me 🙂

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