No News is Good News

Picture this: you’re waiting for important test results, the outcome of a job interview, or even just news from a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. That suspense can be agonizing! This is where that seemingly comforting phrase comes in: “No news is good news.” But is it always true? Let’s unpack this one.

There definitely are times when silence is a positive sign. Let’s say you’re dreading contacting a business about a potential billing error. Getting no further calls or statements? Fantastic! This is where “no news is good news” holds water – sometimes an absence of information signals you can relax.

When does this proverb turn into wishful thinking? Well, imagine having gone on a first date. Not hearing back within a few days probably tells you all you need to know. Yet, we cling to the idea that “no news is good news” hoping for some glimmer of interest that just isn’t there. In those cases, silence isn’t comforting, it’s avoidance– the opposite of good news.

Here’s another problem: it can lead to complacency. Imagine relying on “no news is good news” while navigating a medical issue. Lack of symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean everything is fine – sometimes problems lurk, only becoming obvious when it’s too late. Or what about the work project stalled by an unanswered email? You assume things are running smoothly until the deadline whooshes by.

Now, to history buffs – how old is this one? Turns out, pretty darn old! While exact origins are shrouded in time, King James I of England was known to say it as far back as the 1600s. This shows us just how long humans have wrestled with interpreting silence, desperately seeking a silver lining where, sometimes, none exists.

The core takeaway? Context is everything. Yes, “no news is good news” occasionally applies. However, when the stakes are high– with health, relationships, or important issues– relying on silence instead of taking active steps to gain certainty can backfire. Sometimes, seeking clarity becomes the most proactive, responsible measure.


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<a href="" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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