Life is uncertain, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay silent in those situations where your opinion matters. However, there are certain situations in which life puts you in where staying silent is considered to be a clever person.
In this article, I will be talking about the situations in which a person should keep their mouth shut.
You should indeed say what you mean and mean what you say, but it doesn’t mean it’s never preferable to say nothing at all. While it may be tough to refrain from speaking up or expressing yourself, it may be the best alternative. It’s important to know when to talk and when to keep your mouth shut.
Your words or thoughts may offend someone.
With no realistic prospect of resolving the issue or improving the relationship. You genuinely care about the person, or the relationship may be extremely important to you (pragmatically or otherwise). So, there’s no reason to risk alienating them by being more honest or critical of their behavior than they’re emotionally capable of. Some people are loyal and helpful, but they also take offense easily and are unduly sensitive to criticism.
Others’ rigidity makes it practically impossible for them to understand a different viewpoint. So, it would be a waste of time to say something that would irritate them and draw attention to your differences. If these people say or do something that upsets you, it’s typically best to ignore it and find a way to deal with your problems internally rather than confronting them immediately.
You would be called a betrayal of feelings.
If you want to act politely, considerately, and caringly, you don’t want to make a gratuitous remark about another person’s “bad hair day.” It’s only fair to disregard their hair and focus on what’s more attractive about their self-presentation, even if they actively want it. You’ll have even more leeway to reply honestly if they turn out to have a favorable self-image, but it’s prudent to consider how speaking freely might affect them at first.
The same rule applies if someone says anything stupid, misinformed, self-contradictory, etc. Is it possible that saying whatever comes to mind without first considering the negative consequences of your response could end up hurting the person—and your relationship?
It’s best not to say anything if you don’t have anything nice to say.” However, refusing to speak up to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings is not the same as suppressing your feelings. It’s about not reacting in an unneeded, imprudent, or unpleasant way to someone who has made you feel uneasy at the time.
You’d come across as defensive, closed-minded, or even cantankerous if you did it.
It’s critical to put your ego aside and examine the veracity of someone’s point of view when they offer constructive feedback. It’s far better to be silent, listen carefully, and then answer in such instances (if at all). Whether or not you agree with their negative opinion, in the end, objective evaluation is still in your best interests. Even if you don’t want to hear what they have to say, what they have to say could be advantageous in the long run. If you can’t resist the temptation to protect yourself, you can miss out on a fantastic opportunity to learn something important about yourself.
Your opinions might exacerbate someone’s rage.
Responding to someone who is far too upset to listen rationally to whatever you have to say is worthless. Any response will almost definitely be premature, escalating the situation because it will be regarded as an interruption as if you aren’t paying attention or taking the person seriously. If there’s any chance of resolving the situation, it’s vital to devote all your focus to hearing someone out and giving them every opportunity to fully voice their issues. Then and only then will they be open to your competing viewpoint or interpretation.
It’s also crucial to avoid any defensive, knee-jerk reactions, as they would almost probably aggravate the person’s hatred. When you notice someone is overreacting, the best thing you can do is be present and conscious, look them in the eyes (non-evasively), and pay attention to everything they say. You’ll have a better chance of them calming down after hearing from you if you do it this way. Then, and only then, does it make sense to express your opposite position (gently)?
Furthermore, amid such a confrontation, you may need to relax. The person is likely making allegations that are not only unreasonable and harsh but also excessive. Such self-soothing can help you read between their impassioned lines and obtain a better grasp of how anything you did or said may have wounded them deep down. Not that you wanted to offend the person, but what you did might have (unconsciously) reminded them of a bad experience in the past. If you react rashly to them without understanding the dynamics behind their vocal intensity, on the other hand, you may only make things worse.
It would simply make you more enraged.
It’s only going to make matters worse if you act on your instinct to attack someone who has just irritated you. Anger, worry, and melancholy are all emotions that should be controlled. When they become extremely powerful, your better judgment may be severely affected, and you may act in ways you subsequently regret. It’s preferable to keep your lips shut and do whatever you need to do to relax—deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and so on—than to act on a want to retaliate against the person who offended you.
It’s difficult to respond wisely in situations where you’re feeling so distressed that you’re on the verge of “losing it.” Keep an eye on your internal state: do you notice your face flushing? Is your heart beating faster? Do you have shaky or shaking hands? Is your tummy fluttering like a butterfly’s wings? Or maybe you’re experiencing a tremendous, all-over energy boost? All these symptoms indicate that your emotions are ready to take control of your logical abilities. Take a deep breath and try to reason with yourself about what’s going on within your thoughts.
It would elevate—or give weight to—dehumanization someone’s of you.
It’s pointless to respond to someone whose sole purpose is to make you feel lousy. Responding with venom to someone who vocally assaults what you said or wrote out of hatred or animosity may give their words authority they don’t deserve. “I won’t dignify that with an answer” is a good statement to use here.
The majority of third parties would understand that you opted not to respond to someone else’s defamation not because it was correct but because what they said hardly warranted a response. For example, Internet snipers can only hurt you if you permit them. In these situations, though, it is through ignoring their verbal attacks that you gain authority.
In most instances, you are not compelled to respond to harsh, non-constructive criticism. Trying to defend yourself or sneer back at someone who is purposefully attacking your character is fruitless. Silence is the most effective way to address the situation because it makes you less exposed to further attacks.
It may lead you to interact with someone who is attempting to entrap you.
It’s usually because it allows them to act out their confrontational, argumentative inclinations in an unusual way when they draw you into an unwinnable verbal battle. You can nearly always predict a TKO if you enter the ring—that is, falling to their level is already a loss.
Mark Twain cautioned, “Never debate with fools. They’ll bring you down to their level, then use their experience to beat you.” It’s preferable to cut your losses and call it a day if someone has previously encouraged you into responding to them and insists on a second round, knowing that they’re merely attempting to get you to play in a futile—or foolish—game. Bullying like this should be ignored, especially if it’s only mudslinging to maintain their false sense of authority or superiority over others.
It has the potential to encourage behavior that needs to be changed.
To end on an opposite note, throwing a tantrum is a way for young toddlers to get attention (however bad) or manipulate a situation to get what they want. With a few exceptions, it’s usually better to ignore rather than react to such out-of-control behavior (in preschoolers or adults), especially because an active response may unintentionally amplify the impulse.
Children must learn to deal with life’s inevitable challenges. If you defer to them because of their out-of-control conduct, you’re effectively “teaching” them to act that way to maximize their chances of receiving what they want. That isn’t in your best interests — or theirs.
When you need to correct someone, use the following formula:
Particularly if the individual in question is a new acquaintance or a superior.
When someone says, “Bob cost the firm a million dollars,” and you are Bob, there are times when you must correct them.
Let’s say someone says, “As everyone knows, we only use 10% of our brains,” which is one of those untrue “facts” that people frequently share (we use our entire brain). If you correct them, you may embarrass them and gain nothing in the process. They might not believe you, and you’ll end yourself in a fruitless argument, pulling out your phone and looking up references to back up your claim until they shut down. Sure, you’ll have demonstrated your superior understanding, but many people will scorn you.
When you’ve established a big aim for yourself:
You may feel that telling others about your goals will help you attain them, but research shows that this is not the case. NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer discovered that those who kept their objectives to themselves were more likely to achieve them than those who made them public in four different studies. Another reason to keep your big ideas hidden is the risk of being labeled a flake if you don’t follow through.
When you wish to gossip about something:
Don’t say something hurtful behind someone’s back if you don’t have to. It’s not a good idea. There is rarely a good reason to do so. It gives you the impression of being petty, childish, and harsh. And there’s a chance the person you’re slandering will find out. When someone does something truly heinous, you’ll need to talk about it to figure out what to do. This is, however, a rare event.
When a deal isn’t quite finished:
Consider the adage about not counting your chickens until they hatch. If you’re striking a deal, don’t announce it until everyone has signed the dotted line and everything is in order. You’ll feel ridiculous if things don’t work out.
When you’re inebriated:
It’s difficult to keep your mouth shut when you’re drunk. Drinking, on the other hand, lowers inhibitions, making you far more likely to say something stupid. After a few, see if you can keep your mouth shut. You can also turn yourself off before you get to the point of horrible honesty. There’s a two-drink limit if it’s a workplace party.
When another person is being a jerk:
Allow someone else to be stupid, rude, belligerent, or otherwise stupid. Don’t scream at them, get upset with them, insult them, or humiliate them. For starters, people could simply be having a bad day or unsure of how to act in any situation they find themselves in. You’ll be able to dissolve a problem faster if you’re kind than if you’re rude. If the individual is a jerk, they have enough difficulties in dealing with without your support, and they will eventually pay the price.
At the start of a speech.
This may seem unusual, but it is helpful, particularly when dealing with a challenging crowd. When you first come onto the stage or stand in front of an audience, be quiet for a few seconds. It will almost certainly cause the audience to stop talking amongst themselves. They’ll be bewildered, and all their attention will be drawn to you. More than any intriguing opening speech that may or may not is heard, you’ve already sparked their curiosity. As a result, you’ll develop a lot of sympathies. They won’t think you’re attempting to deceive them. A percentage of the audience will sympathize with you because they feel you are nervous. They will be rooting for you throughout the speech. Those who are snickering will have their sneers washed away as soon as you give an amazing speech. Even though it appears to be a little manipulative, it works.
Credit is given to someone else.
The economic climate may be tough. People who wish to grow in their careers will occasionally take other people’s work. It’s likely that your boss takes advantage of the efforts of the staff and reaps the benefits. A coworker may have overheard you pondering or reading your notes. They then proceeded to pitch the concept as their own. When speaking up in these instances, you must use extreme caution.
Before speaking out, be sure your employer has been fair and hasn’t mentioned the team. They may accuse you of being a bad person. Instead, wait for an opportunity to demonstrate your worth. It’ll be your word against theirs if it’s a coworker. Speaking out and acting envious will further tarnish your reputation. So, don’t say anything until you have concrete proof.
When you inquire about a topic.
Some people like asking questions to which they do not expect to receive a response. They’re simply asking you a question to get you to tell them what you think the answer should be. Don’t be one of the people! You may be already doing it without recognizing it. This is especially true if you already know the answer but have a few reservations about it. So, you ask your boss and a coworker to double-check what you’ve stated. If they don’t, you start questioning their logic and trying to get them to agree with you. Never ask a question until you’re ready to hear anything back. Pay great attention to what is said and provide an honest and impartial assessment. Don’t suffocate their discussion with your prejudices.
It isn’t your battle.
It’s just as vital to choose your foes as it is to choose your friends. You should get along with as many people as possible since having a solid network is very vital. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to be a hypocrite, saying one thing to one person and another to another. It’s all about saying the right thing at the right moment to the right person, and in many cases, saying nothing at all.
When there’s a fight, think about which side you’ll be on. You want to be helpful and friendly to your coworkers, but you also must think about the future. If you understand a buddy has made a mistake, you should not always rush to their defense. It may appear harsh, but that is how things work in the real world. Without endangering your reputation, you can subsequently assist them in cleaning up the mess and expressing as much support as possible.
When you’re bragging about something.
Nobody wants to listen to someone brag about their accomplishments while standing around. Your pals will be happy for you if anything good happens. They’ll be happy to listen to you talk about it. After all, no one nowadays can claim to be well-known. What they and others can’t stand is hearing about it all the time. It will hurt you in the long term since it will cause some people to dislike you and your accomplishments. Others can use it against you as a formidable weapon. When people are no longer sympathetic to you, it’s quite easy to turn them against you. You want others to think you’re successful, but you don’t want your name to be associated with labels like conceited.
You have no idea what you’re talking about.
It’s quite fair to admit that you don’t know everything there is to know about everything. No matter how well-read you are, there will always be difficulties that you are unaware of. Pretending to know something just to avoid being judged is a risky business. It’s all too simple to become entangled in a lie. Worse, you may be given positions and responsibilities that you are ill-equipped to handle. To finish them, you’ll have to put in a lot of effort, which will cause a lot of stress in your life. You are not required to be open about your lack of knowledge. While standing there, simply nod in agreement. If you believe you’ll find the topic interesting, go ahead and learn more about it later.
When technology isn’t working, for example.
Have you ever had to sit through a lecture or speech where the speaker insists on continuing even though the microphone or lights aren’t working? Don’t be the one who pulls it off. Bring the speech to a close. Reschedule it or find another way to get the word out to everyone later.
When you’re losing your audience’s attention.
The microphone does not always function properly. Your words may not always be enough to get the job done. You can know when you’re losing an audience (provided you pay attention). If you can’t get them back, the best option is usually to find a quick method to end the situation.
When the other party gets it wrong.
Someone sold an automobile but forgot to return the license plates, oblivious to the fact that this would result in a large fine. Thankfully, the DMV worker misinterpreted the date on the bill of sale, invalidating the fine. The moral of the story is that you don’t have to constantly correct other people’s misunderstandings.
When silence is a viable option.
It’s sometimes more effective to say nothing at all. Others may say things they wouldn’t say otherwise or present you with the information they wouldn’t say if they weren’t forced to fill the silence. In any event, it’s possible that being silent is the best option.
When quiet is used as a strategy.
Quiet can be employed tactically at times without going into too much depth. Let’s imagine you’re in the middle of a conversation and the other side abruptly shifts its viewpoint in your favor without your knowledge. Make their lives difficult. Allow them to talk first and cave to the pressure.
When others must speak.
Others may simply have more important things to say, or they may desire the reassuring feeling of being heard. Be a true leader by remaining silent in these situations so that others can speak up when they need to.
It’s better when someone else says it.
Many people can communicate more effectively than you. Sometimes it’s best to just let people speak what they’re thinking.
When you’re essentially telling someone, “I told you so.”
Has there ever been a time when hearing these four words made you feel better? All you’re doing, in this case, is adding Monday-morning quarterbacking to an already difficult situation. It’s preferable if you remain silent. If you were correct, the other person was almost certainly aware of it.
When you need someone to solve a problem.
How to use the Socratic method of teaching, which comprises asking questions rather than providing answers. Instead of having you regurgitate the solution, you and the people you’re communicating with can gain more if they find it themselves.
These are the situations in which you need to stay silent. The silence in these cases is welcome and will be helpful. So, if you find yourself in one of these situations, just remember that silence is key.
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