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  • It's not often discussed. We like to put on a sunny facade

  • but behind closed doors many of us go in for one of the most tragicomic behaviors of relationships.

  • Sulking.

  • A sulk typically starts over a disappointment. Most often over an objectively

  • rather small matter. Lars didn't ask Mille how her day was.

  • Christine forgot to notice Lauret's new haircut.

  • Woori wasn't paying Chung Ho enough attention at the party.

  • but what follows isn't an argument.

  • It's an eerie silence. A domestic cold-war where enquiries as to

  • "what's wrong?" are met with by one resolute stony word

  • What is a sulk? It's made up with two things;

  • disappointment and a deep-seated refusal to explain what the disappointment is about.

  • Why don't we tell our lovers what's upsetting us.

  • After all, we explain so many things to so many people in the course of our lives.

  • we don't explain because of a peculiar assumption

  • about the nature of love.

  • Even people who are very good with words might not when they're with their lover

  • be in the mood to explain very much. Where does this commitment silence come from?

  • It begins when we first learn about love.

  • When we were tiny we couldn't and didn't need to

  • make our intentions known directly to those you loved us best.

  • They knew what we wanted to eat just like that.

  • They made sure we were comfortable. They took the trouble to guess what we wanted.

  • This gave us a template

  • but a deeply unhelpful one about what adult love

  • might be like. In the early days of a new relationship

  • there are some blissful moments when two people understand each other without

  • needing to say very much.

  • They magically agree on things, they sense a connection

  • unlike any other but this is ultimately very misleading.

  • In truth all of us are

  • as adults bafflingly complicated.To expect someone to understand us long-term

  • without us having to explain is equivalent to expecting someone to work out

  • how nuclear fission works simply by looking at the outside a power station.

  • For others not to understand this without explanation

  • is no sign they're evil, just that they're human.

  • Before retreating into a sulk we should always do our partners the honour

  • of a small seminar. Part of love means accepting the need to teach

  • others in kind and patient ways about who we are.

  • At the same time, when we unwittingly unleash a sulk

  • we should realize that the sulker is being strange in silent

  • not because they're mean but because at heart they're scared.

  • They may be big and competent in many areas

  • yet inside they must be feeling like a defenseless baby in the hands of someone

  • who seems not to know how to look after them.

  • The greatest gift we can give our lovers are

  • explanations as calm as we can make them

  • using lots of words about what we're truly like

  • in all a madness complexity and strangeness.

It's not often discussed. We like to put on a sunny facade

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B1 UK disappointment explain silence stony love resolute

How to Handle Sulkers

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    Christina Yang posted on 2016/07/19
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