“Silence is sometimes the best answer” ― Dalai Lama

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re putting your foot in your mouth? We’ve all been in circumstances where we’ve uttered something we didn’t mean to say at one point or another. Perhaps we made a clumsy remark or made a joke that ruined a beautiful moment. The truth is that there are instances when staying silent is preferable to causing unneeded controversy.

There are times when it really is preferable to listen rather than speak. Staying out of the conversation allows you to gain a deeper understanding of people who are participating. Staying silent is often preferable, and in these cases in particular, it’s often best to keep your mouth shut.

When You Are Caught Up in a Gossip Fueled Discourse

It’s as simple as this: people enjoy gossiping. It may appear engaging and enjoyable, but avoid the temptation of gossiping about others. Gossip mainly revolves around love, relationships, sex, and other topics that people don’t usually discuss in public.

Furthermore, gossip nearly always results in misery and humiliation for the individual who is the subject of it. People spread rumors without considering how it may affect the person who is the subject of the gossip. Being drawn into it makes you as responsible for the harm it causes as the people who start the discourse.

Avoid making any comments the next time someone mentions one of your friends or someone you know. Simply listen, and you will learn a lot about not only the person they are talking about, but the people themselves.

If they ask for your opinion on the person they’re criticizing, the best thing you can reply is “I believe they’re doing the best they can.” Although it may be uncomfortable at first, you will undoubtedly feel much better in the long run, as you won’t be contributing to conversations that really can be very harmful.

If You Have No Idea What You’re Talking About

Whether it’s with friends or at work, we’ll all find ourselves in a conversation where we have no idea about what’s being discussed. Although admitting that you don’t know anything about the subject may damage your ego, it’s preferable to saying anything inappropriate or harmful to your self-image (i.e.: will make you look really dumb.)

If you don’t know much about the subject at hand, it may be an opportunity to learn. Or in the case of misinformation a chance to learn something about how that spreads. Either way, don’t pretend to know something you don’t, as doing so will almost always eventually backfire.

After Someone Makes an Obvious Mistake

It’s best to keep your thoughts about a situation to yourself when someone slips up or makes a glaring error. We are prone to making unpleasant or even inaccurate statements in the moments following such events, so refraining from commenting will help you avoid falling into this trap.

Don’t succumb to the impulse to tell that individual they’re incorrect every time you get a chance. It’s fine to defend yourself against any accusations if you were the one who made the error, but don’t try to make the person who was wrong feel foolish. It’s possible that you’ll come across as arrogant rather than helpful if you do, which is even worse.

When You Are the Expert

We all excel at something, but shouting it from the mountaintops isn’t the best way to go about doing things. Although you may feel compelled to let others know about your expertise, strive to just bring it up when it is absolutely necessary.

For example, instead of impressing your family and friends with your professional brilliance at a dinner with them, focus on being grateful for the time you have with them. At the office or over a business dinner with your boss, you will have the opportunity to discuss your professional competence, and it will be far more appropriate to do so.

When Asked about Your Love Life

“How’s your sex life?” or “How’s your love life?” are two of the most common questions we get about our relationships. Because these inquiries are frequently posed by our peers, responding with a plethora of information – and even boasting – may appear innocuous. With these types of questions, the best you can do is remain mysterious.

The first reason is that you almost certainly don’t want your partner to openly respond to comparable questions about you. But it’s also because talking too openly about these things makes you appear untrustworthy, especially in the eyes of a romantic partner. so, for anyone actively on the dating scene, remember, getting a reputation for ‘kissing and telling’ is not going to add to your appeal in anyone’s eyes.

You Really Have Nothing to Say

People will sometimes speak just because there is quiet. This results in aimless chit-chat. You have nothing to say if you’re only talking because it’s silent. If someone isn’t talking, don’t assume something is wrong; they may simply be out of ideas.

Who says you have to be thinking and speaking all of the time? Who says it’s not acceptable to have instances when you simply don’t know what to say? Who says you have to keep talking even if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say?

Learn to say more and talk less. When you utilize your words, do it with the intention of brightening someone’s day or teaching them something useful. Don’t just use words because you can. You should use them if you have something to say, and in learning to do this every word you do say will have more value to everyone.