I'm not sure when it became okay to use passive aggressive and disengaged tactics to replace answers to the negative. Or perhaps I'm asking when did it become so widespread. Perhaps I'm just more aware than I was before.
To define what I'm referring to, it is this: When you e-mail someone a question about if they would like to see such and such movie (for example)...and they reply in a reasonable time-frame with their positive response...'yes'...this is as I would expect. But I also expect that people would be equally willing to inform you that they were NOT interesting in seeing such and such movie. However, that doesn't seem to be the case most of the time. It seems that it has become 'okay' to just not reply at all to mean the negative reply that they are not interested.
This begs a couple questions. One, why is the assumed 'no' answer because of no reply a valid response? Does the courtesy of being asked to do something count for so little that the person cannot make an honest reply, either positive OR negative? Are people so self-centered that they cannot be bothered by things they don't want to do?
I think that if the other person was gracious enough to ask you, then you shouldn't ignore them...even if you plan to turn their request down. That is common courtesy. If we want honest and non-passive replies from people, then we should not accept a lack of a response as a valid behavior.