“Every word has consequences. Every silence, too.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
There’s a delicate balance which exists in the way we communicate.
Some people lack a social filter – often saying whatever comes to their mind with little consideration of how those words might affect other people.
Others are more comfortable staying silent – possessing a relevant and many times astute opinion, but refusing to share it with anyone around them.
The place to be is somewhere in the middle really.
Telling someone who spent much of the day preparing a meal from scratch that it wasn’t very good is not a constructive use of words (or a suggested reaction for newly married couples trying to impress their spouse).
Sitting by idly with no opinion or feedback when someone is seeking words of wisdom only makes them feel unimportant – that they’re infringing upon your precious time.
We rarely think about how these two opposing forms of communication each have equally negative impacts on the people we’re communicating with. We’re so focused on carrying out the “message” as we see fit, that we forget the consequences of those actions.
Lisa Kleypas writes, “Many times in life I’ve regretted the things I’ve said without thinking. But I’ve never regretted the things I said as much as the words I left unspoken.”
Communicating with others is always complicated, but here’s a few things I try to remember.
- When it means standing up for yourself, make you voice be heard.
- If you’ve got nothing constructive to add to the conversation, then say nothing.
- Be kind in your actions, but kinder with your words – it goes a long way.