Your Mind

The Art of Keeping Your Mouth Shut

By January 11, 2016 1

Picture this:

It’s Christmas Eve, your entire family is gathered around the table enjoying a wonderfully prepared, home cooked meal, when completely out the blue, your beloved grandmother decides to voice her very conservative opinion on abortion. You’re furious, but before you open your mouth a verbally blow Grandmom’s brains out you consider your options.

You can:

A) Start a friendly but heated debate that is more then likely going to make Grandmom go off about the “old days” for the rest of dinner and thoroughly piss off the rest of your family or, B) Swallow your pride and let the comment go for the sake of Christmas dinner.

If you’re anything like me, it may be very hard for you not to choose option A, but in order to save dinner and not cause tension between family, B is the best option. Believe it or not, sometimes the smartest thing is to not say anything at all.

Last month, Zoë argued the importance of “speaking your mind” and “saying what you need to say.” I’m sorry to say it, Zo — but I strongly, strongly disagree.

There’s a time and a place for everything, and the key to being successful (no, that was not a DJ Kalhad reference) is knowing when it is appropriate to voice an opinion, drop the F bomb, or crack a racy joke.

I’ve found that when I choose to react impulsively and say the first thing that comes to my mind, it always make the already tense situation, worse.

I think if we were all a little quicker to listen and slower to speak, we’d all be better off. Being a good speaker is always viewed as impressive, but don’t we all appreciate that one friend who is an awesome listener? And honestly, can you even be a good speaker without being equally as good at listening? In order to answer a question completely, you have to listen carefully to the question first.

If what you’re about to say is going to make you look stupid, ignorant, rude or all of the above, just don’t say. It’s simple, really.

Language is an awesome thing, but don’t use it to belittle yourself or someone else. Choose your words wisely and remember what we all learned in Pre-School; if you don’t have something nice, (or intelligent or appropriate) to say, don’t say it at all.



  • CrashMustang

    Realizing this is a older post, I still feel the need to co-sign.

    Many years ago, my wife’s family got together for Thanksgiving at my wife’s uncle’s house.

    I was baited into an argument that every facet of my being screamed to not get into. He started going on about how unloving and judgmental conservative Christians are. Naturally I felt the need to defend my fellows, who are ( if they truly believe in Christ ) loving, inclusive and the most giving of people.

    I was right, he was wrong. Even so, my wife’s relationship with him and her family suffered because I could not shut my mouth and enjoy a holiday with family.

    I learned a lot about how I should shut up by the aftermath of that one simple defense of myself and folks like me who endeavor to live as Christ and love all people.

    As a footnote, it wasn’t until years later that I learned there was more than meets the eye in that situation. My wife’s uncle was trying to discredit my wife and her mom and dad, so that my wife’s grandpa would give her uncle all the inheritance.

    Flash forward 20 years and my in-laws are living with us. Though it is more a blessing than a curse, I still wish I would have kept my mouth shut. I hate that I helped to cause division amongst my wife and her family. She did not deserve it.

    Stop and think folks, you may not have the full picture.