Is Silence Really The Best Answer? ~ @TyLegal


Sometime ago, my boss had a complaint about an issue and as a result, he went on and on complaining about that issue. Well, I disagreed with him but thought it wise not to respond as I may have come off as being rude. You would think my silence would placate him and possibly make me win employee of the month. Well, the reverse was the case as my boss concluded that I was extremely rude by not responding to him when he spoke to me. shuo…

It comes naturally to some people to keep quiet on an issue no matter how angry they are and then address the issue later. On the other hand, some other people have no chill and will respond immediately with all fierceness. Also, I have always heard that silence is the best answer, especially when upset to avoid saying the wrong thing. Inasmuch as I totally agree with this, I also realize that silence does not always work, especially when it comes to entering into legal contracts.

The general rule is that silence does not constitute acceptance so it doesn’t help to assume that because a person is silent, he has automatically consented to your request. Acceptance of an offer has to be clearly communicated to the offeror.

When an offer is made to a person and the person does not give any response, the silence cannot be construed to mean an acceptance. It does not matter if the person making the offer specifically states that the silence will be taken to be an acceptance.

However, there are exceptions to this rule.

If a person receives an offer to purchase goods, does not expressly accept the offer but goes ahead to use the goods, it will be deemed that he has accepted the offer.

Another instance where silence can constitute acceptance is if both parties have a preexisting relationship and had been dealing in such a manner of using silence as an acceptance. In such an instance, silence can be construed as acceptance.

Also, if both parties had previously agreed to using silence as acceptance, then the general rule will not apply.

So even though keeping silent in some situations is highly recommended, when entering into or initiating a contract, it is very important to clearly communicate your intentions or get the required feedback clearly as against basing it on assumptions.


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