Choosing when not to speak
"Never miss a good chance to shut up."
- Will Rogers
It's important for us to speak up when we feel like something needs to be said. If we feel someone is being out of line or someone's safety is at risk, we should feel an obligation to say something. However, if we feel compelled to gossip or convey our unsolicited opinion, we may be doing ourselves more harm than good. It typically comes down to what our intentions may be. If we don't have the right intentions, it may be best for us to keep quiet. If we are not sure whether or not to say anything, it's important to consider our intentions.
We all have said things to people we may have regretted or wish we could take back. Perhaps statements were made in the heat of the moment or without knowing all the facts. It happens. We are human. Sometimes these interactions require an apology or a cooling off period, depending on what was said. Sometimes arguments or words exchanged can ruin relationships beyond repair. Not everyone is wiling to accept apologies or let bygones be bygones. This is why it's important for us to choose our words wisely or not say anything at all.
There are times when we may have the best of intentions and still end up offending the other person with what we said. We can't control how people will respond to how we treat them. We can only do our best to treat them with dignity and respect. If we are determined to use our words to cause harm or disrespect toward others, we must be prepared to suffer the consequences. A good question to ask ourselves when wanting to speak our minds is, "What good can come of this?" If there is no good to be found, what's the point? If we think it will make us feel better, how long will that feeling last?
There is that old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." It's a great rule to follow if you are serious about creating and maintaining healthy personal and professional relationships. This should also include our interactions on social media. There is a difference between speaking our minds and just being plain mean or disrespectful. When we choose to be more mindful and not so reactive when we speak (or type), we can further avoid finding ourselves in the unfortunate situation of feeling the need to apologize or take our words back. We can also choose to say nothing at all. Sometimes, silence really is golden.
Psychology Today: 8 Situations When You Should Keep Your Mouth Shut
Scientific American: People Literally Don’t Know When to Shut Up—or Keep Talking—Science Confirms