There is an answer in silence.

Have you ever asked someone a question and felt yourself hurt a little after what follows it. Not the answer they give you. Well that can of course, break you. But rather, the gap. The gap between your question and their answer.

A man can get down on his knee in the most sensational settings and ask his soul mate a question. A question that has so much behind it. A question full of love, passion, safety, commitment… “Will you marry me?”. A man or woman can be standing here with their hand being gently held by the other, about to take a breath full of oxygen in order to exhale their answer. That is the gap. That breath. That inhale. That split-second-but-feels-like-days breath. That is the gap.

Someone could choose to brush away past hurts of another friend. And finally build up the courage to reconcile. As she types her message “I haven’t seen you in ages, let’s meet up?” her vulnerability is growing. She contemplates pressing send, but a wave of bravery crashes over her and she opts for a phone call. The number gets dialed, and the ringing starts. The line halts, a breath is felt, and a hello is heard. The conversation expands and eventually and what is blurted out like an anxious twitch.
“I haven’t seen you in ages, let’s meet up?” … Queue, the gap.
“Um, yes, I am sure we can do that…”
“How about Wednesday at 7:00?”
“Um, you know what, can I let you know?”.

The gap. The space or length of time between someone’s question, and the other persons answer. This might not seem like a big deal to various people, but if you think about it, is has huge significance.

A gap signifies a breath. A gap signifies time. Enough time for someone to generate a million thoughts, “Do I really want to go?” “I have other things to do” “I need to ask this person” … and so on.
Think about it, if the answer was sincere and honest, it would have been said already.

When people hesitate, they are buying themselves time because they may not have the bravery to present the other with an honest answer.

“Will you marry me?” – Yes! Yes! Absolutely Yes!
“Will you go out with me?” – Yes, I would love to.
“Would you mind fetching my son from school” – I must just check…
“Would you be keen to grab a bit to eat this week” – Can I let you know..?

You can see the difference. Yes, these sorts of questions have very different contexts, but that is not the focus. The focus of this message is the gap. The gap between the question and the absolute answer.

If someone is hesitating or becomes silent (buying themselves time) for longer than typical period following your question. You have also, maybe without even realizing it, just received your answer.

Despite what a lot of people think, that messages can only be heard or read, a lot can be said in silence. A lot can be said in hesitation.

The next time you muster up the courage to ask someone in your life a meaningful question, do yourself and your soul a favor. Take note of the gap. Because let me tell you, there is also an answer in silence. there is also an answer in hesitation.

There is an answer in silence.

Photography by Nina Zimolong |


JHBeats is a 25 year old girl from Johannesburg, South Africa, who has a passion for chasing endorphin's found in healthy and happy living.

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