Giving someone the silent treatment may not always be such a bad thing. It may actually be a good way to deal with someone who is acting like a jerk, a new study finds. …

The silent treatment is not always motivated by an intent to harm another person or punish their behavior, said study author Kristin Sommer, Ph.D, an associate professor of psychology at Baruch College, City University of New York. “It may be used as a way to offset feelings of fatigue or depletion associated with the expectation of an unpleasant interaction,” she explained. …

Researchers found that participants who ignored an unlikable person or talked with someone likable did better on the task than those who were forced to converse with a jerk or snub a nice guy. Rebuffing a likable person and exchanging pleasantries with someone obnoxious both took a toll. It left participants feeling depleted and their performance suffered as a result.