“That silence you just heard was me speaking my mind.” – coffee mug slogan
Did you ever watch the TV sitcom Friends?
Remember Phoebe, the self-described blonde ditz who sang, “Smelly cat, smelly cat?”
In one episode, Phoebe was complaining to Joey about something her brother did.
After listening for awhile, Joey interrupts her and says, “Phoebe, have you told your brother how you feel?”
She looks at him and says, “Yes… well, not out loud!”
Is there someone at work who’s mistreating you, making you miserable or driving you crazy?
Do you lay awake at night, reliving what you WISHED you’d said, over and over in your head?
Have you been telling everyone BUT the person who’s bothering you how outraged or offended you feel?
Studies show that’s what many of us do because we’re conflict averse.
We avoid confrontations because we don’t like to fight and we don’t want to make things worse. We just want to “keep the peace.”
Unfortunately, it’s hard to keep the peace with someone who’s making war on you.
What’s worse is … silence sanctions.
If you’re not saying anything to the person who is behaving in inappropriate ways; they’re “getting away with it” or they’re assuming it must not bother you too much because you’re not calling them on it.
Jack Canfield says, “People treat us the way we teach them to treat us.”
When we “turn the other cheek,” we TEACH people it’s okay to keep mistreating us. We’re showing them we won’t hold them accountable and we won’t speak up for ourselves.
You have a voice. Use it.
It’s time to say “No. Enough. Stop.”
The good news is, there are diplomatic ways to do this so you won’t lose your job … even if the person bothering you is your boss.
Here’s a sample scenario.
Imagine someone at work likes to get a rise out of female employees by saying things like, “You women are SO emotional” or “You always get stressed out.”
This person is senior to you so you’ve felt it wasn’t “your place” to let him know his sweeping generalizations are not true or fair.
Please recognize; it IS your place to establish and enforce boundaries to let people know they can’t “talk all over you.”
As Ann Landers loved to say, “People can’t walk all over you unless you lie down.”
Here are four ways you can use Tongue Fu!® to diplomatically, yet firmly, speak up for yourself.
1. If possible, address this issue in private instead of in public.
Calling someone out in front of others causes them to lose-face.
They will resent you – even if what you’re saying is true. They may feel a compulsion to escalate in an effort to put you down so they’re back “on top.”
2. Do NOT deny, defend or disagree with their sweeping accusations.
Think about it. If you say, “We are NOT emotional!!” or “I am NOT getting stressed-out” … you are.
3. Instead, put the conversational ball in THEIR court by asking, “What do you mean by that?” or “What makes you think that?”
Then, put a sock in it.
Asking a question gives them an opportunity to explain themselves. They have to give a specific example of what makes them say this. If they can’t; they’ll often back off or back down.
If they have a legitimate reason or explanation for what they believe, even if you don’t agree with it, at least you now know what’s REALLY going on and you can discuss that instead of reacting to their attack.
4. Another option is to simply repeat what they said as a question, emphasizing the extreme word.
“Really? ALL women are emotional?” “Is is true I ALWAYS get stressed out?”
Repeating an outrageous over-statement is one way to make it clear you’re not going to suffer in silence and passively allow them to throw around disparaging comments.
Remember; don’t pull a Phoebe.
Holding people accountable IN YOUR HEAD helps no one.
Speak up, in the moment, when people say inappropriate things so you’re teaching them to treat you and others with the respect we all want, need and deserve.
Did you like this tip?
There are dozens more in Sam Horn’s book Tongue Fu!®, which is currently ranked #3 on the Korean bestseller list, has been published in 17 languages around the world, and has been taught to such organizations as the U.S. Embassy in London, the U.S. Navy, Boeing, ASAE and Honolulu Police.
Tongue Fu!® is now available in a Kindle version so you can access it right here, right now on your e-reader.