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Silent Treatment

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"Brave men tell the truth.
The wise man's tools are analogies and puzzles.
A woman holds her tongue
Knowing silence will speak for her."
— "Remind Me", Roysköpp

If you want to really show your disapproval for someone, one way to do it is to give them the Silent Treatment. It's a Boring, but Practical way to show disapproval — just stop talking to the other person. No acknowledgement, no anger, no responses, no questions, nothing.

While this may seem like a relief in some cases, this can be a very effective form of punishment and social isolation, especially if several people gang up on the silent treatment. A common variation is that the person being subjected to the silent treatment is relieved that they no longer have to hear the other person speak until they realize the full implications of a person not talking to them.

Could lead to Tell Him I'm Not Speaking to Him. Not to be confused with The Quiet Game. If it's an Edutainment Show on something like PBS, expect an aesop about how hiding your feelings never solves anything and you need to use your words to address and solve the problem. In some situations, the silent treatment can be depicted as a cowardly option; as you are not addressing the problem or actually establishing boundaries with someone, you are actually relying on them to be fully aware of their own actions; if they're not, this becomes a Bewildering Punishment. Compare I Can't Hear You. Overlaps with Threatening to Cut Ties if a person threatens to do this to someone.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Dangers in My Heart
    • Ichikawa gives Yamada this after she does a Fake-Out Make-Out with him to ward Nanjou. Ichikawa felt used afterward and wrongly assumed that his newfound friendship with Yamada was just her using him to ward off boys, and avoids her for two days. They quickly reconcile when she confronts him.
    • Yamada later gives the treatment to Ichikawa when she overhears him telling their sensei that they're "not that close", so that she wouldn't be burdened with helping him around school after he broke his arm in a family trip. She ignores Ichikawa, but still quietly assists him by having Adachi give him his notes for class. Ichikawa apologizes and they reconcile again after school.
  • One of the many bullying tactics that Nanako and Mariko from Dear Brother go through is this, including an iconic scene where the Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse begin interrupting Nanako when she's reading in class and saying "there's a bug in here!"
  • In one chapter of The Hating Girl, after Asumi goes off on Ryouji for what she thinks is him publicly announcing that she's on her period, a note in the corner of the last panel states that she didn't speak to him for three days afterward.
  • In His and Her Circumstances, Yukino's classmates use it against her after she's revealed to not be The Ace. The ringleader is Maho, the local Alpha Bitch. Ironically, Maho is later on the receiving end too.
  • Played for Laughs in Kakegurui at one point with Yumeko and Midari. After Midari ruins their second gamble together, Yumeko refuses to even acknowledge her existence and ominously asks people why they're talking to themselves when they interact with her.
  • Played for Laughs in the first episode of Tiger & Bunny season 2, where Barnaby gives Kotesu this after the latter drank his energy drink, and Kotetsu returns the favor. Of course, that doesn't stop the two from not only remaining professional while taking down a villain but also coming up with a plan without even saying a word.

    Asian Animation 
  • Motu Patlu: In "Motu Ke Sawaal", Patlu and his friends decide to remain quiet so that they don't have to listen to Motu constantly asking them questions. It doesn't work, since Motu notices they're not speaking and keeps asking why.

  • In Cheech & Chong's "Pedro And Man At The Drive-Inn" sketch from Los Cochinos, near the end of the sketch where Man calls out to the people they tried to smuggle into the drive-in theatre and couldn't get out because Man broke the key off in the lock to see if they were okay, and he gets no response from them, Pedro says that they're probably giving them this because they couldn't get them out yet.

    Comic Books 
  • The Watcher used this to great effect against The Stranger in Beyond, just appearing and standing in silence and letting him draw his own conclusion about why he's there. Since he never showed up before, Stranger thinks he's there to watch him be defeated and flees.
  • In Empowered, Emp has a tendency to do this to Thugboy when he pisses her off. Cue parody Imagine Spots of him fighting his way through blizzards...

    Fan Works 
  • Early in All The World's a Toybox, Dipper employs this against Bill Cipher, refusing to acknowledge his captor. Bill responds by turning him into Paper Jam Dipper.
  • Discussed and subverted in Blackbird (Arrow). Most people think that Laurel simply left Starling City and didn't look back. Oliver however notes that she isn't one to use the silent treatment. She's confrontational and would return just to tell him and how much he hurt her and that she never wants to see him again. He rightly concludes that she was actually kidnapped.
  • Burning Secret: Discussed when, after telling the truth about starting the fire to Lucy, Lincoln fears the sisters will stop talking to him.
  • CONSEQUENCES: In EXPOSED, Lila attempts to expose Marinette's Secret Identity as Ladybug to the world. While the rest of the class isn't aware of the truth, they think instead that Lila was attempting to trick Hawk Moth into targeting Marinette and punish her by collectively ignoring her. Since Lila craves attention, getting ignored by people who were formerly taken in by her lies and fawning all over her drives Lila insane.
  • In Craving the Sky, Weiss's older sister Winter blackmails their parents, threatening to reveal that Weiss is a faunus if Jacques breaks his word to their late grandfather and removes Weiss's wings before she turns eighteen. While Winter is trying to protect her, Weiss has been raised to despise herself for being a faunus and thusly hates Winter for preventing them from removing the evidence. As a result, she spends several years refusing to talk to Winter at all.
  • An Extraordinary Journey: Following the whole debacle with the Slayer Council, where her own friends take Willow hostage and attempt to force her to reveal what she knows, Dawn refuses to acknowledge anything that Willow says. The only time she addresses Willow herself is to try and hurt her. All of this is made worse by the fact that Willow had magically severed her own vocal cords in order to avoid revealing classified information, making Dawn's behavior a mockery of that.
  • Fashion Upgrade: Though Adrien had agreed to act like Lila's friend if she got Marinette un-expelled, when Lila then gets Marinette kicked out of Ms. Bustier's class and takes her seat, he decides that Lila broke the terms of their deal. To punish her for this, he refuses to acknowledge Lila's existence unless he absolutely has to, knowing that she craves attention.
  • Girlfrenemies has Apple attempt to use this on Raven; it doesn't last long, as Raven annoys her enough to make her break it.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • Lily, upon seeing that Torture Is Ineffective on a thug during interrogation, suggests isolating the thug in his cell for a day, nary a sound or any kind of interaction.
    • In the remastered version, Kyril is briefly given this treatment by Alicia and her knights due to their disapproval of the Hunter being in close proximity to Prim. He finds it a tad awkward but is otherwise fine with that.
  • Us and Them: In the story "Road Trip", after Aeris realizes Sephiroth used Materia to put their children to sleep, she looks out the window and begins ignoring him for the rest of the drive.
  • Subverted in The Loud House fanfiction What You Wish For. Lori believes Lincoln isn't responding to her because he's mad at her for swearing at him, but really it's because he isn't there.
  • Words May Hurt: Katsuki believed that he'd be much happier if all the "useless extras and NPCs" around him just left him alone, especially if Izuku stopped trying to act like they were still friends. After he seriously injures Tenya during the Heroes vs. Villains exercise, the rest of Class 1-A want nothing to do with him, ignoring his existence... and leaving him to realize that being left alone isn't much fun when you don't have any choice in the matter.
  • What In The Egg: Princess Bubblegum still refuses to acknowledge Finn’s existence after his idiotic treatment of the Flame Princess, even when he and Jake bring her the mysterious egg. Finn finds this to be very ice-cold.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, Rowley gives Greg the silent treatment when he's mad at him for breaking his hand. (Greg broke Rowley's hand by accident, but Rowley was mad at Greg for not apologising). Greg tries to start a conversation several times, but Rowley doesn't budge.
  • The film Good Morning is about two brothers in 1950s Japan who refuse to talk to anyone but each other until their parents give in and buy a television set.
  • In Holiday on the Buses, Arthur refuses to talk to Olive after the embarrassment she causes him during their two-step performance.
  • Discussed Trope in Kill Bill:
    Ernie: White women call this the silent treatment... and we let 'em think we don't like it.
  • In Mario (1984), Simon spends a few days ignoring Mario after Mario rips down his pictures of Hélène.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009). Watson does this when Holmes's behavior becomes too outrageous even for him (in The Man with the Twisted Lip, the below line actually refers to Watson not wanting to bother Holmes with questions while he's thinking).
    Holmes: Watson, you have the grand gift of silence—makes you quite invaluable as a companion.
  • Shok: Oki refuses to talk to Petrit for some time, after Petrit's blundering leads to an enemy Serb soldier (it's The Yugoslav Wars) stealing Oki's bike. The silent treatment lasts until Petrit sticks up for Oki after they are pulled off a school bus, and takes a gun butt to the stomach for his trouble.
  • In Summer Camp Nightmare, acting camp director Franklin Reilly, after the junior counselors took over Camp North Pines, had the campers and other junior counselors give this to Chris Wayne and Heather from Camp South Pines for not going along with the direction of the revolutionists and trying to stand up for the deposed camp director Mr. Warren, who was subsequently murdered.
  • In The Three Lives of Thomasina, Mary refuses to speak to her father or even acknowledge his presence after he euthanizes her beloved cat Thomasina, telling other people that he's "dead." When her father ultimately brings Thomasina (who was Only Mostly Dead) back to her, she finally speaks to him again, saying "And you're alive again too."
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor does this briefly when Loki visits him in the gladiator dungeons via an illusion to talk until Loki exasperatedly tells him to say something. The reason for this is that Thor is angry at Loki for having faked his death four years ago and blames him for their father's death.
  • Discussed and subverted in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, when Mearing is first introduced to the Autobots, Optimus is in his truck form in a huff.
    Dino: He's in a bad mood. He's not talking to anybody today.
    Mearing: What is this, the silent treatment?
    Ironhide: We've seen that and this is not that. Prime MAKE SOMETHING OF YOURSELF, (thumps the hood of Prime's cab), he's pissed.

  • Achoo!: The cats threaten to stop speaking to the other animals for breaking their tug-of-war rope.
  • In Ben and Me, Amos refuses to talk to Ben at all after the kite-flying incident. Given how badly it affected him to stay on a kite in the middle of a thunderstorm, it's pretty understandable.
  • In Thomas Costain's novel The Black Rose, Walter's grandfather has made an oath never to speak to him; he now regrets it, but he gave his word. Near the end of the novel, after Walter's successful adventures in the Orient, his grandfather accidentally addresses Walter directly three times and decides he can consider the oath permanently broken.
  • In Completely Clementine from Clémentine, Clementine gives her father this without even realizing it's a thing for not joining her in becoming a vegetarian. She tells her friend Margaret that she hasn't talked to him for one day, thirteen hours and twenty-one minutes.
    Margaret: Oh yeah. The silent treatment.
    Clementine: The silent treatment. It's a treatment?
    Margaret: Very effective. Hold out for a lot.
  • Described as a form of bullying in one of the stories of the anthology Dear Bully, in which a group of kids at a school subjected a different kid to the silent treatment each week, and each never thought it could never happen to them... until it did.
  • In the Dino Life Guides book "How to Be a Friend", one boy is seen shouting at another, "I'll never speak to you again! Ever, ever, ever!". They make up, but we don't know what he was angry about.
  • In A Feast for Crows, Doran Martell orders the servants bringing food, water, and clean clothing to his imprisoned daughter not to speak to her in order to break her psychologically; eventually, this works.
  • In the The Great Brain series the Fitzgerald family uses this as the ultimate punishment instead of a whipping. The boy who gets the silent treatment wishes he was whipped instead, it's so devastating.
  • In the Harry Potter series, this is a favorite tactic of both Vernon Dursley and Severus Snape. Harry is quite relieved when Snape uses it against him, as it means that he doesn't have to suffer anything worse. Or at least so he thinks until Malfoy knocks over his potion sample and Snape is all too happy to just leave Malfoy off the hook.
    Snape: Whoops. Another zero, then, Potter.
  • In Haze, Madeline tells her abusive mother that she wants to go to a movie with a group that includes Seb. Her mother is furious with her for wanting to meet a boy, blames the "slut" Kristie's influence, and punishes her by completely ignoring her for the next day. That evening, she sets a table for one, makes Madeline's favorite dinner, and eats it herself, leaving Madeline to eat alone in her room.
  • In The Inheritance Cycle, this is a standard Dwarven punishment to some of the more heinous crimes, and we get to see it happen to Vermund of Durgrimst Az Sweldn rak Anhuin as punishment for the attempted murder of Eragon. Put simply, the dwarves pretend the offending party isn't there at all. He can rant, rave, or in any other way attempt to scream at them, but they will simply act like he doesn't even exist, and quite literally, not even give him the time of day. And when Vermund physically grabs another dwarf, a couple of guards quite calmly wrench him off and toss him away, though the nonchalance of it is described as being no different than the guards helping straighten their protectorate's chain mail. But they don't do this just to Vermund but the entire clan as punishment for endorsing him, until they change leadership.note 
  • In The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family, Lara impulsively reveals all her family members' secrets during Rosh Hashanah dinner. The next day, her siblings all ignore her.
  • Exaggerated in Midnight's Children: Salim's grandmother holds a grudge against his grandfather, that she never speaks to him again, for 30 years, until her death.
  • In The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, after Nicholas Benedict outwits the plans of the Gang of Bullies known as the Spiders to initiate him by giving him a Swirlie, they give him the silent treatment and force all of the other children at the Orphanage of Fear to do so too. After John Cole becomes his friend and defies their ban on talking to him, the silent treatment is extended to him as well.
  • In Pinocchio’s Sister, ventriloquist Mr. Rosedale has become completely wrapped up in his dummy Iris, to the point of neglecting his daughter, Martha. After Martha has an outburst at Iris in the park, her father does not speak to her for hours.
  • Roys Bedoys: Discussed in "Stop Jumping to Conclusions, Roys Bedoys!" where Roys thinks that Maker is mad at him when he doesn't respond to his text.
  • In What a Trip, Amber Brown, Amber Brown subjects her best friend Justin Daniels to this after he splashes her in the pool and otherwise gets on her nerves, but he soon manages to get her to forgive him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Banshee Kai Proctor is a crime kingpin who comes from a traditional Amish family. Because of his criminal lifestyle, the entire Amish community is shunning him. When he tries to talk to his father, Proctor Sr. does not even acknowledge that Kai is there.
  • The Big Bang Theory: In "The Guitarist Amplification", Sheldon doesn't speak to his roommate Leonard.
    Penny: What is he doing?
    Leonard: It's a little hard to explain. He's pretending to be in an alternate universe where he occupies the same physical space as us, but cannot perceive us.
    Sheldon: Oh, don't flatter yourself. I'm just ignoring you.
  • The Brittas Empire: In “That Creeping Feeling”, the majority of the staff refuse to speak to Brittas after he obtains their personal fitness targets through ... privacy-violating ways. They eventually start talking to him again after Brittas sucks the poison out of a spider-inflicted wound in an ... awkward area of Colin.
  • In Carrusel, when the kids got sick of Maria Joaquina's bullshit, they invoked the trope on to her for several days — not even her Dogged Nice Guy Cirilo wanted to talk to her. It made her break down crying.
  • CSI: NY: When Mac develops speech aphasianote  while recovering from being shot in the back and flatlining during surgery, Christine gets miffed with him for not letting her know what's wrong. She confronts him in his office, a co-worker interrupts them, and he dismisses her. She ignores him for the rest of the episode and refuses to answer or return his calls for the entire next one and part of the one after that. He finally visits her at her restaurant, gives in, and tells her about his condition. She says she's got to decide if she can live with his pride so he leaves. The next day she shows back up at his office, having forgiven him.
  • Doctor Who. In "Dalek", Henry van Statten has a Dalek imprisoned in his underground research base for study. The Dalek has refused even to speak to the Puny Earthlings holding it captive, other than screaming in rage and pain as they try drilling through its casing. When the Doctor is locked in with the Dalek and it reacts in the usual fashion, Van Statten exalts, "It's talking!" rather than respond to the Doctor's pleas to be let out before he's exterminated.
  • Emma (2009): Mrs Bates stops talking to her daughter Miss Bates after the former has decided to send Mrs Bates' beloved orphaned granddaughter Jane from their impoverished home to Colonel Campbell who can provide for Jane's education. Mrs Bates apparently hasn't talked to anyone ever since. She doesn't break her silence, not even when Jane is visiting. She starts talking after years when Jane is grown up and engaged.
  • In an episode of Full House, D.J. goes into silent disapproval when she catches Danny, Jesse, and Joey spying on her while on a date. When D.J. obeys their pleas to talk with them and viciously rips into them for their actions, Jesse remarks that they were probably better off with the silent treatment.
  • Gunsmoke: "Coventry," an episode from Season 7 (the first season with hour-long episodes) features an extreme case of this. Here, a land speculator is acquitted in the murder of a feed store operator who had threatened to expose his criminal business practices. note  In the aftermath, the non-repentant speculator tries to resume his business activities but finds it impossible to do so when virtually everyone in town will not only not speak to him but they literally consider him an Unperson. He can't even be served at Miss Kitty's Saloon or get service at the doctor's office. Eventually, he is forced out of town, where he ultimately meets his death.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • "A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart": After Claudia runs away from home, Louis de Pointe du Lac blames Lestat de Lioncourt for being the cause of her distress due to the latter's "sadistic" (as Louis calls it) parenting style, so one of the ways he punishes his boyfriend is by ignoring him. It has gotten so bad that a miserable Lestat, who's burning a playing card with a lighter, wonders out loud if Louis would pay any attention to him if he set himself ablaze.
      Lestat: I sit there thinking, "Light yourself on fire, see if [Louis] would notice."
    • "Like Angels Put in Hell by God": Louis doesn't speak to Lestat for six years after suffering a vicious battering from him.
      Lestat: If you want me to go away, just say so. I'll obey you. I'll leave your life forever.
      (Louis says nothing)
      Lestat: This silence is cruel. And you were never cruel, Louis.
    • "What Can the Damned Really Say to the Damned": Claudia refuses to acknowledge Louis' attempts to converse with her while they sit in front of a campfire, so he talks to himself and pretends that she's chatting with him by imitating her voice.
      Louis: And I endured it all for Claudia, whose rage toward me and my refusal to burn Lestat had dulled into a bitter silence.
  • Maid Marian and Her Merry Men: In the episode "Tunnel Vision", the Sheriff's henchmen decide to express their hurt feelings by collectively ignoring him. The Sheriff has coincidentally just come into possession of an artifact claimed to make its owner invisible, and thus is led to believe that the artifact actually works.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Lois gets angry at Francis for getting himself emancipated and dropping out of military school, and does this to him. She is so intent on ignoring Francis that when he deflated her tires to get a word with her, she drives off on all flats.
    • Dewey stops talking to Reese as punishment for Reese bullying him. Dewey starts acknowledging Reese once they get drugged.
  • M*A*S*H: Winchester is angry with Hawkeye and B.J. and stops talking to them. The two try to goad him out of his silence, saying to him, "Your mother wears very expensive combat boots!" They very nearly get him to crack with "Your parents voted for Roosevelt. Four times!"
  • The Prisoner (1967): In "A Change of Mind", this is one of the tactics used against Number Six in an attempt to make him conform. He's declared "Unmutual", and the other residents refuse to speak to him.
  • In one episode of Roseanne, Dan does this to Becky after finding out that she and Mark took his motorcycle out for a joy ride without telling him.
  • The Sandman (2022): In "Sleep of the Just", sorcerer Roderick Burgess captures one of the Endless, beings said to be Above the Gods, and keeps him prisoner for decades while trying to persuade him to give Burgess power and riches. Throughout his imprisonment, the captive demonstrates his disapproval by never speaking a word, and barely even making enough eye contact to acknowledge that he can see and hear his captors.
  • Inverted in an episode of Scrubs. Jordan gets angry at Dr. Cox, but instead of giving him the silent treatment (because she knows he would actually enjoy that), she chooses to talk to him non-stop.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "To See the Invisible Man", Mitchell Chaplin is convicted of the crime of coldness towards others and is sentenced to a year of invisibility. He is forced to wear an implant on his forehead that alerts people that they are to ignore him and pretend not to see him no matter what. If they engage with him in any way, they are violating Citizen's Law 24824 which carries the penalty of at least one year of invisibility. Invisible people who speak to each other have another year added to their sentences.
  • Young Sheldon: "A Loaf of Bread and a Grand Old Flag", Sheldon's family does this to Sheldon because they were still mad at him when he announces that he gave the bread another chance and he likes it and trying to make himself sound mature.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In "I'm Sorry, Really Sorry" from The Pajanimals, Sweetpea Sue and Cowbella decide to give each other the silent treatment; Sweetpea Sue because Cowbella got paint on her daisy puff toy, and Cowbella because Sweetpea Sue won't accept her apology or forgive her.

  • In the book of 2nd Samuel from The Bible, Absalom gives his half-brother Amnon this, saying nothing good or bad to him, after the rape of his biological sister Tamar, expressing his great displeasure over the act and signaling that things are about to go bad for Amnon, as soon afterward Absalom has his servants kill Amnon in a Nasty Party that gets him exiled from Israel.

    Video Games 
  • During the first inFAMOUS game, Cole gives the silent treatment to Zeke. While Cole is dealing with a city-wide epidemic, Zeke calls Cole to apologize for trying to use the Ray Sphere to gain superpowers, even though doing that would have killed thousands of people. While it didn't work, Zeke pulled a Face–Heel Turn by siding with Kessler in an attempt to gain superpowers. On top of that, thanks in part to Zeke's decision, Trish ends up dead due to one of Kessler's traps. Even though Cole picks up the phone, he doesn't say a single word during the entire call.
  • In the 25th Anniversary Edition of Night Trap, if you fail to save Danny in a Deleted Scene, Lt. Simms briefly appears on the top-right corner of the CRT's screen and gives you the silent treatment as punishment by refusing to speak to you (he just has no words to describe your failure in causing the Death of a Child) before pulling a quick SCAT System Disconnect on you, resulting in a Game Over. (Probably Justified, as the filmmakers probably didn't film any scene where he chides you for failing to save Danny.)
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners: After being pranked by Rin one too many times, Ayuto declares that he's going to just completely ignore her existence. This proves a little too effective, as Rin gets so upset by this that she runs off — deeper into the underground ruins their tour group is exploring. Ayuto's joy at getting under her skin is short-lived, as Nei calls him out for making her run off alone in such a dangerous place.
  • Persona 3: Failing the hot springs minigame results in the girls giving the silent treatment for a few days.
  • Elika gives the Prince the silent treatment for most of the "Epilogue" add-on to Prince of Persia (2008) after he releases Ahriman all over again by bringing her back to life.
  • With the Generations expansion pack installed, teenage sims in The Sims 3 can snub each other, either by player command or automatically, which causes a negative moodlet for the snubbed teen.
  • XenoGears: Rico becomes infuriated with Bart after he nearly got everyone killed by shooting down the ship they were in, refusing to say anything towards him until Bart properly apologized.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: Kyoko gives Makoto silence for a while after he chose to withhold information on who The Mole is, but later understands that he had his reasons for not wanting to cast doubt.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Kaito falls into this after his attempts at defending a Sympathetic Murderer caused his frustration to lash out at Shuichi; and for most of Chapter 5, he is too ashamed of himself to say anything to Shuichi or even look him in the eye.
  • Downplayed in Daughter for Dessert. Amanda doesn't completely stop talking to the protagonist after Cecilia starts feeding her information about Lainie, but she does withdraw from him, skipping work and making flimsy excuses afterwards, and also sleeping in her own bed rather than his, while refusing to tell him what the issue is.
  • Tamara from Double Homework does this twice to the protagonist:
    • She barely talks to him at all at the start of the story. In his mind, she’s still traumatized about the avalanche just like he is, but Tamara also has her own agenda that he’s not aware of - yet.
    • If he ultimately breaks off his relationship with Johanna and Tamara, Tamara will not talk to him out of anger over wasting her whole summer with their relationship. She backpedals after a couple of weeks over her inability to enjoy a conversation with anyone but him.

    Web Original 
  • Caw Cophony: The entire segment for "Mambo No. 5" in the 1234 Subscriber Special is her standing in silence with a disapproving look while the song plays in the background.
  • By Resident Evil 2: Abridged, Jill's still sore at Barry for betraying her to their former captain, Wesker. A journal entry on her desk explains she hasn't spoken to him once, during the two months since the incident.
  • In the Season 5 finale of RWBY Salem does this to Professor Lionheart through her Seer Grimm after the latter decides to flee Haven upon realizing Salem's side has lost against the heroes and returns to his office to gather things. It's so unnerving that he goes from trying to explain to begging for his life to trying to use his weapon on the Grimm...which knocks it out of his hand before it brutally murders him as he tries to flee. Salem only breaks the silence to call him a coward.

    Western Animation 
  • The Angry Beavers: In "Utter Nonsense", Norbert and Dagget end up giving each other the silent treatment after "jinxing" each other, with each trying to get the other to talk and break the jinx so the other has an excuse to slap him.
  • Arthur:
    • Discussed in "Mom and Dad Have a Great Big Fight" when Mr. and Mrs. Read argue over literal spilt milk, then Mr. Read leaves to buy some more milk, but Arthur and D.W. mistake it as him leaving for the sake of leaving. This gives them the impression that the argument was worse than it really was and they have many daydreams, including the parents not speaking to each other and sending the kids to wish each other merry Christmas.
    • In "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh", Arthur compares Sue Ellen to a sheepdog because of her sweater, but this offends her. He tries to apologise but gets overly defensive, accusing her of overreacting. This causes Arthur's friends to be mad at him, accusing the apology of not being "real", and they refuse to speak to him.
    • Discussed in "Draw" when Francine's friends tell her not to make fun of Fern, and Francine replies, "Fern? That mouse? What's she gonna do, be quiet at me?".
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "Muted Muriel", Muriel gives her husband Eustace the silent treatment until he apologizes. Because he's such a stubborn Jerkass he refuses, and it goes on long enough that Courage goes to extremes trying to get Muriel to talk again, eventually leading to get Shirley the Medium to summon an Eldritch Abomination that can only be banished by the sound of Muriel's voice.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Summerween", after Mabel finds out that Dipper didn't care much about trick-or-treating, lied to her by pretending to be sick, and lost all the candy that almost got them all killed, she refuses to answer the quips he throws at her, and hardly even looks at him on the ride home.
  • Harley Quinn: Ivy makes plant headphones to block out Harley after she's mad at her.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In Episode 105, Kaeloo gives this to Mr. Cat, covering her "ears" and yelling that she can't hear him when he tries to speak to her, until she finds out that he isn't the bad guy of the episode.
    • In Episode 108, Kaeloo tries to give Mr. Cat the silent treatment. This time, it doesn't work because she doesn't actually want to stop talking to her best friend, and mere seconds after declaring that she will never speak to him again, she starts crying and then continues talking to him as if nothing happened.
    • In Episode 131, Kaeloo beats Mr. Cat up, and he spends the rest of the episode refusing to talk to her or even look at her because he's still mad at her.
  • In the 2005 film of The Magic Roundabout, Dougal gets one from the rest of the gang when they are setting up camp for a night, because of Dougal accidentally releasing Zeebad at the beginning of the film.
    Dougal: I must say, you're all doing a wonderful job. Keep up the good work! What's for dinner, anyway? I'm famished. (Brian and Dylan look at him for a second, then they turn away from him and continue to set up the tents) Oh, I see. The silent treatment, is it?
  • In Moral Orel, Arthur does this to Clay after the latter's prank causes the death of Angela. Unfortunately, this backfires horribly as it causes Clay to act out so he can receive some form of attention. As an adult, Clay came to associate abuse with worth.
  • PB&J Otter has an episode called "The Silent Treatment" in which Pinch Raccoon and Jelly Otter give it to each other after Pinch gives Jelly a makeover that she didn't want.
  • In an episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo are mad at each other for reasons unexplained, and the former refuses to speak to the latter. In fact, "Tell that puppy..." became the Episode Tagline courtesy of Shaggy's refusal to talk to Scooby.
  • In Rick and Morty, a female Gazorpian is sentenced by a judge to the silent treatment due to the crime of having "bad bangs", which, in their society, is treated as a harsh and brutal punishment.
  • In the Rugrats episode "The Baby Vanishes", the adults ignore Angelica to try to punish her for being a Spoiled Brat. This causes Angelica to think that the vanishing cream she rubbed on herself to turn invisible worked.
  • The Simpsons: In "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy", Homer gives his father the silent treatment when he calls him an accident.
    Marge: Homie, are you really going to ignore Grampa for the rest of your life?
    Homer: Of course not, Marge. Just for the rest of his life.
  • South Park: In "The Death of Eric Cartman", the kids are finally fed up with Cartman and decide to give him the silent treatment. As a result, he thinks he's dead and a ghost. Butters, who is unaware of the pact, talks to Cartman and Cartman convinces Butters that he can see dead people.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, Captain Freeman orders the crew to not even speak to Mariner if they can help it because of the damaging interview Mariner gave to a news reporter. Most of them are happy to comply and ice her out when she tries to explain what she meant by "telling the truth about the Cerritos, with only the other three Lower Deckers having any sympathy for her. Mariner's version of the truth? The Cerritos is a great ship and her mother is a great captain. It was everyone else who told the embarrassing stories, not realizing how it made the ship look, and they don't find this out until after Mariner is Reassigned to Antarctica and resigns her commission.
  • Steven Universe:
    • "Mirror Gem": This is implied to be the reason why the titular Magic Mirror initially appears to be broken when Pearl asks it to show the Galaxy Warp, as the Gem powering it was tired of answering questions. It eventually warms up to Steven, though.
    • During the Sardonyx arc, Garnet gives this to Pearl (well, at least up until the ending of "Keystone Motel").
    • A similar scenario happens with Steven and Connie for a few weeks during season 5's post-Homeworld arc, and it's bad enough that it takes a party hosted by their shared nemesis Kevin to get them to make up. Connie's silent treatment towards Steven was actually unintentional as she tells Steven that she wasn't actually trying to ignore him and after struggling with trying to figure out how to answer him thought it would be better if they talked about things in person. But by the time she rode Lion to Steven's house, she found that he was on vacation. For unknown reasons that are never touched on in the episode, she didn't attempt to visit him again or give him any indication that she was ready to talk afterwards, which made their reconciliation much more awkward when it happened. It's speculated that that she always intended to try again, but real-life events (school, family matters, etc) as well as her fears of what Steven would think of her for shutting him out for so long (especially after she got an Expository Hairstyle Change in the interim, which in normal circumstances would signify that the subject of such has moved on after a breakup, which is what Steven thought of her upon first seeing her at the party) got in the way. In any case, Connie apparently didn't have another chance to see Steven until learning about Kevin's party and deciding to attend in the hope of finally reuniting and talking things out with him. Steven apologizes to Connie for breaking their promise to always be a team, and they both make up. Lion also gives Steven the Silent Treatment since he was also angry at him for brushing off Connie's and everyone else's feelings on his surrender to Homeworld to avoid facing his own, and decides to stay with Connie for a few weeks (over five episodes) to teach him a hard lesson and give her comfort and companionship during that time, until Steven and Connie's reconciliation in "Kevin Party".
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: In "I Am Lou Gehrig", Yadina gives Dr. Zoom the silent treatment because she's mad at her. Dr. Zoom knows what Dr. Zoom did.

    Real Life 
  • Unfortunately done by certain cults (referred to as "shunning" or "disfellowshipping") when members end up leaving the group.
  • Sometimes done in an attempt to train dogs not to do things. The theory is that if you actively discipline a dog for doing something, they might like it because it's "attention", but if you do not talk to them, they'll perceive that as a punishment.
  • In 19th-century British upper-class culture, this was known as "The Cut." Different variations of it had their own names; e.g. the "cut direct" was looking straight at someone while refusing to acknowledge their presence, while the "cut indirect" was pointedly looking away from them.


Video Example(s):


Frosty treatment

Shawn drugs Gus to get him to come along to San Francisco. Gus expresses his anger by refusing to talk to his friend.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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Main / SilentTreatment

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