Some silences are companionable; others, less so.
Do you ever signal the fact of your being offended by lifting your nose towards the heavens, pursing your lips, and adopting the mock saintly expression of one cruelly mistreated, misunderstood (or both)? My sweetheart and I do. At first we used to ignore this haughty little signal, with predictable consequences, but a few years ago, we worked out a plan.
Firstly, we gave the attitude a name – air sneck (‘sneck’ is a Northern English dialect word for ‘nose’ and ‘air’ is short for ‘in the air’).
Secondly, we recognised that lifting the nose is a plea for acknowledgement and an invitation for the offending party to make swift amends by taking it back or consoling.
Finally, we agreed how to manage miffedness. As soon as one of us spots that the other’s nose is lifted, (an incidence of ‘air sneck’), that person is duty bound to take their index finger and gently lower the other’s nose to its normal angle. The sneck lifter is duty bound to allow his or her nose to be lowered, and thus to be soothed.
The raising of the sneck can be so slight as to be almost imperceptible other than to an observant student of human nature. The lowering of the sneck indicates the issue is resolved. This little ritual can take place in perfect silence, although icebreaking chuckles often spontaneously arise.
It works for us. You’ll need to establish your own guidelines if you want to give it a try. Ours permit a ludicrous, higher-than-normal sneck lifting if required to catch the other’s attention. And the whole concept depends on the likelihood that (1) the miffed party has no major grievance and (2) that both parties are happier being happy than being unhappy.
I think that pretty much covers it. Now the only question is: how on earth are we going to get Piglet’s sneck down?