Idiom Academy | The Silent Treatment & The Cold Shoulder

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In this episode of The A to Z English Podcast, Jack explains the meanings of the expressions the silent treatment and the cold shoulder.

The terms “silent treatment” and “cold shoulder” are often used interchangeably, but they do have slightly different connotations.

Silent Treatment: This is a form of psychological manipulation where one person intentionally stops communicating with another person, typically as a way to express their disapproval, anger, or to exert control. It can be passive-aggressive behavior, often used in conflicts or disagreements as a way to punish or manipulate the other person without openly expressing their feelings.

Cold Shoulder: This refers to a deliberate act of ignoring someone or showing them indifference or aloofness. It’s often more overt than the silent treatment and may involve avoiding eye contact, turning away from the person, or giving short, curt responses. While the silent treatment can involve a complete cessation of communication, the cold shoulder can involve minimal or superficial communication but with an underlying sense of rejection or disdain.

Both behaviors can be harmful to relationships as they undermine communication and trust. They can escalate conflicts rather than resolve them and often leave the other person feeling hurt, frustrated, or confused. It’s important for individuals to address underlying issues in a constructive and respectful manner rather than resorting to these passive-aggressive tactics.

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