Keep your mouth shut if it could start a fight.
Does someone snare you into an unwinnable verbal duel? It affords the person some type of gratification of acting out argumentative tendencies.
Get into the ring… It’s virtually guaranteed that a TKO will go down
I.E stooping to their level is already an embarrassment.
Mark Twain said, “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level. Then beat you with experience.” Someone already tempted you into replying?
Cut your losses. Call it quits.
They’re begging you on to keep participating in foolishness. These strategies are best ignored. Especially if they’re merely being argumentative to feel superior.
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Earnest Hemingway
Work on your own awareness of workplace conflicts with some recommended reading from Amazon.
Keep your mouth shut if it would make you seem defensive or closed-minded.
Someone is offering you constructive criticism. It’s essential to put your ego aside. Carefully evaluate the legitimacy of the feedback. It’s better to remain quiet. Listen attentively. Only then give a response (if at all).
If you agree with their unfavorable appraisal or not, it’s in your best interest to open-mindedly consider it. You might be reluctant to hear it. What they say might be potentially beneficial.
Resist the immediate impulse to defend yourself. You will miss out on a valuable opportunity to learn something important about yourself.
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. – Epictetus
Keep your mouth shut if it would only further intensify someone’s anger.
It’s useless to respond to someone who is too fired up to listen. Any response will be premature. A response is likely to be experienced as an interruption. You don’t want to seem as though you’re not really listening. If there’s to be any hope of ultimately resolving the situation, it’s essential to devote your attention to hear the person out. Allow them to fully air their grievances. Only then, they might be open to hearing your viewpoint.
A closed mouth catches no flies. – Miguel de Cervantes
Keep your mouth shut if it would only intensify your own anger.
Following your impulse to attack a person who just upset you is only likely to exacerbate things. Emotions are best kept at moderate levels. When they start to become really pronounced, your better judgment can be severely compromised. You can react in ways you’ll later regret. Better to hold your tongue. Do whatever you can to remove yourself from that situation. Remember, “never make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings.”
One’s eyes are what one is, one’s mouth is what one becomes. – John Galsworthy
Keep your mouth shut if it would likely offend someone.
You want to avoid offending someone without having any realistic possibility either of resolving the situation or improving the relationship. If you genuinely care about the other individual, then there is no good reason to put them on the defense. You especially don’t want to cause this with a coworker or loved one. If you believe that this would fall under “feedback” then I would have you ask yourself, “what am I looking to communicate about this person performance? How can I construct this feedback based on their tasks/skills, not emotions or personality?”
The reality is that everyone is different.
Some people are kind, loyal, and supportive. They can also quick to take offense. Some are highly reactive to criticism. Other people’s rigidity makes it virtually impossible for them to appreciate a differing viewpoint. If an individual says or does something that bothers you, it’s generally best to overlook it. Find a way to resolve your immediate frustrations with them rather than confronting them directly.
“It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain
Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.
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Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.
His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.
Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.
Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).