If you don’t have anything nice to say…shut your mouth.
This is really good advice and more people should take it. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve made mistakes, said something out of line or gossipy to the wrong person. It has, and always will come back to haunt you. It’s true, really, better to take the high road. I often remind myself of a quote I read in Ann Landers years ago. Her definition of maturity is the ability to take an insult or an offense and not retaliate. The immature response is to hurt back, and convincing yourself the person deserves it is an easy sell to a bruised ego. A hurting person usually hurts people. Boy am I full of adages this morning. Can anyone tell I’m trying hard not to strike back? Not to hurt the people who have hurt me? No, this time it’s not about anyone at work. But, even in print shops, advertising agencies, or corporate cultures, we have the ability to reach out and verbally smack somebody.
Groups of people who work together towards a common goal, often hear the adage; “it takes a village.” Whether or not you’re raising your children, running a PTA or trying to make a neighborhood POA run better, the power of the village is preferred. Even though you might not agree with everyone and you might not even like some of your villagers, the benefits of the group effort should out-weight petty differences.
Over the years I’ve encouraged my kids, within reason of their ages, to experience people with different points of view. This was one way I figured they might learn to consider a diplomatic way to disagree when they found themselves challenged by people with different needs and behaviors. To understand that others will have life experiences, bias, and yes, even…hatefulness towards one-another on occasion that will influence their behavior. To be truly diplomatic requires conducting yourself in a positive manner and to act as a liaison between people who can’t or won’t work together instead of encouraging hostility. Diplomacy is not about giving sway to stronger or more belligerent people, but establishing the best rapport possible and encouraging a give-and-take attitude to avoid retaliation.
Diplomacy is undervalued quite possibly because it may appear as a weakness or not having strong values. No, I’m not talking about changing your values or your goals, only the means by how you achieve them.