What not to say

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn is what not to say.

I default to candid. If you ask, my first instinct is to answer as truthfully and completely as I can.

  • Some people appreciate this – you will always know where you stand with me.
  • Some people abhor this – they really do not want to know.
  • Some people try to exploit this – they probe and query trying to get me to leak confidential information or to say something unprofessional that can be used by them later. Heck I can even know they are the enemy (or at least not my friend) and my gut instinct is still to be honest and candid. I can just see it…why hello mr. rapist, yes indeed my husband won’t be home for hours.

Bottom line, my gut response is not appropriate at least two thirds of the time, most likely more. There are traits and habits than can become detriments over time. This is one for me and it was hammered home forcefully this week.

Case #1 – In a meeting earlier this week, I added too much value. I know not to do this but when push came to shove I could not keep my mouth shut. My mentor pulled me aside after this meeting to remind me of this rule. Listen. Thank. Implement (or in this case, go forward with what we already had planned letting this person think they fostered it).  Oops. Major oops.

Case #2 – Person in position of power had a chat with me recently about things to not say, to not even think. I can work on the not saying. The not thinking is unlikely. Things pop into my brain all of the time that are not appropriate. I can refrain from speaking them. I might even be able to dig up some appropriate politeness words at the right times. My brain however could well be playing a discordant sound track. How do you not even think stuff?

Must be why I love the refrain in the song by Staind “Outside.”

I’m on the outside

I’m looking in

I can see through you

See your true colors

Cause inside you’re ugly

You’re ugly like me

I can see through you

See to the real you

Please don’t ask what crosses my mind. Not always pretty. Please judge me by my actions.

Case #3 – Friend sent me this image today. Timely advice that I will try to follow in the coming days. Wish me luck!