When to Bite Your Tongue

Before you say something you regret and cause damage to your relationships, check out Modern Manners Guy's 3 tips for knowing when to bite your tongue.

Richie Frieman,
February 3, 2014
Episode #282

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about the proper time to walk away from an argument, allowing you to save face and dignity.  Many Modern Manners Guy Facebook readers seemed to have similar experiences as the examples I described in that article.

However, another issue came up along the same lines. And that is biting your tongue before saying something that causes irrevocable damage to your relationship..

Of the two reactions to an argument – walking away and biting your tongue – both require willpower and restraint, The difference is that biting your tongue is less confrontational and can likely prevent the altercation altogether. 

So before you regret saying something, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for how to bite your tongue:

Tip #1: Is It Your Fight?

As I mentioned in my article about walking away from an argument, there are situations in which things got overheated rather fast.  When you walk away, you physically remove yourself from the altercation and take the high road. When you bite your tongue, it's more of a mental situation, rather than physical.  You are not revealing all your thoughts, you’re stopping and managing your temper.

Sometimes when you have to bite your tongue, you are on the outside looking in and want to say something but aren’t too sure if you should. For example, the other day at a restaurant, I overheard a young couple on the verge of a break-up. I wasn’t eavesdropping, mind you, they just happened to be speaking – er, shouting – loud enough for everyone at the restaurant across the street to hear. Part of me wanted to get up and say something, but the other part stopped to ask myself: Whose fight is it really? Theirs – as the key players - or mine, as the annoyed patron?  And that’s the first hint in knowing when to properly bite your tongue, rather than get involved.

Think of it this way, even if you feel you have something to say, is it your place? What will happen as a result of you speaking up? As a manners guru, I wanted to tell the "lovebirds" that they were being rude, and urge them to take their loud conversation somewhere else. As an adult, I wanted to tell them to just break up and be done with it. However, as I thought about it, I came to the realization that this was not may battle. I was an outsider looking/hearing in and it was up to them to work this out. So I bit my tongue and took another bite of my burger.


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