How do you learn to bite your tongue

Discussion in 'Everything Else' started by Glen, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Glen

    Glen Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    As I am getting older I realise often there's little point in arguing with people.

    On Forums and social media I've learnt to write something, leave it come back and not post it (several posts on here were several drafts later as I am trying not to be argumentative - might surprise some!)

    However in person I am finding it so hard. I work with a lot of people younger than myself and the constant sense of entitlement and negativity makes me bite far more than I would want to.

    How do you refrain from getting into debates when someone is clearly spouting nonsense :D
    Billy59 likes this.
  2. Sean M

    Sean M Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I’m 32, and I find the bolded part to be more true of people my parents’ age (55-65).

    In any case, in person, if it’s a relationship I care about, I might ask: what information led you to that conclusion? Or if it’s edgy/political I’ll just ask “Do you really believe that?”. I might even call out a behavior or attitude, trying not to have it come across as a personal attack (“That was a bigoted statement” versus “you are a racist”).

    If it’s someone I don’t care about, I let it slide unless it is affecting someone listening/subject to it that I care about.
  3. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

  4. Brian Smart

    Brian Smart Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Usually I stick my tongue out and then bite down. Sometimes I stick my tongue the side and bite down!!!

    It is harder than it sounds! I've done it again with my brother. One thing I believe, in this age of immediate information, people grasp ONE aspect of something and that becomes their knowledge. Most times, it's an attempt to FEEL 'something' (smarter, braver, stronger, etc).

    What I've found, both fun and interesting, while also being a slight jackass, is to ask questions? Kindly of course and even if you KNOW they are wrong or mistaken, ask questions with intention of teaching rather than humiliating.

    "So, I saw (aka - glanced/scanned) this article on blah blah blah and it said....) "Oh really?" or "That's interesting!" "So, where did they come up with that? What was their base information?" Once they start talking, then ask "Uh huh, but did they explain (whatever)?" "Can you tell me more about....."

    A lot of the questions are leading, yet if done sensitively, the person may actually walk away with more knowledge and more accurate knowledge. I always view these as 'teaching moments'.
    Phil12 and Kiacek like this.
  5. ali

    ali Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    We live in strange times.
    Ask more questions and challenge views to seek clarity.
    It's needed now more than ever.
    Post truth, alternative facts and science denialism etc.
    Checks and balances.
    Don't bite your tongue. Ask. And keep asking.
  6. J Petersen

    J Petersen SFG1/SFB Certified Instructor

    Instead of "biting our tongue," perhaps think of it more as a matter of learning how to choose our battles. As a guideline, since I acknowledge from the start that I probably won't convince the other party, I weigh how many other people are tuning into the discussion, and how dangerous things could be if no one found the courage to offer a polite (but firm) counterargument.

    Case in point, as a military retiree lacking much else better to do at the moment, I've been putting the benefits to use and attending university. My professors learn very quickly that I absolutely will not sit there quietly and let their spiel go unchallenged when I sense they're soft-peddling hazardous materials or flat-out indoctrination to young minds who simply don't know any better.
    kiwipete, Hasbro, Billy59 and 4 others like this.
  7. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts

    I avoid political conversation unless someone is drawing me out with genuine interest. Otherwise the only topic I will not sit quiet for is bigoted, racist, or ethnic BS, however it is disguised or couched.

    Critique of nonsense, indoctrinated viewpoints, however one wants to describe them could be leveled at some of what I believe, and my own thinking is slowly evolving over time, on some issues completing a 180° shift from when I was younger. Question everything beginning with one's self.

    Nearly every viewpoint has some validity, but with enough debate prep, cherry picking and eloquence almost any stance can be shredded.
    LukeV, Glen and ali like this.
  8. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    As others have suggested above, there is a time to speak up and a time to remain quiet. So your question should be looked at as two different situations.

    What both have in common is that they require maturity and strength.

    Don't speak up when there is no point in speaking up, when the other side won't be convinced. Speaking up at times like these is weak - biting your tongue requires maturity and strength.

    Do speak up when the situation truly requires it, even when the consequences for you might be bad. This, too, requires maturity and strength.

    This is what everyone ought to do, not only on social media, but in person. Follow the carpenter's advice: measure twice, cut one. You can think about it, or compose draft posts, many times, but when you've opened your mouth or hit "Post," you've "cut once."

    Or look up "Serenity Prayer" - the same idea.

    Just my opinion; your mileage may vary.

  9. Glen

    Glen Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I think your points are spot on @Steve Freides

    The conundrum is how you learn to not instantly react, the written form allows an outlet without the message ever being delivered. Much harder when face to face
  10. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Yes, but it is still doable. Simple but not easy - at StrongFirst, we're OK with that. :)

    The simplest way to accomplish it in person is to not say anything even vaguely controversial the moment you feel it - think it over first.

    Glen likes this.
  11. fractal

    fractal More than 500 posts

    "The Seven Habits..." should be required reading in school!
    Anna C likes this.
  12. frederickk

    frederickk Double-Digit Post Count

    I have trained myself to turn indifferent to issues and stuff that would just stress the hell out of me if ever I try to engage in any discussion about it. The bad side is just, I need to balance it or else I'll just be a person that just don't care at all.
  13. WhatWouldHulkDo

    WhatWouldHulkDo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I actually enjoy arguing. I think ideas need to be challenged - one of the biggest problems with society today is that we allow ourselves to exist in echo chambers that reinforce what we want to believe in spite of any evidence to the contrary. Arguments are the mental stress we need to grow.

    But there are rules to having an actual argument - it cannot be personal, it cannot be based on what you "feel", you have to be willing to be wrong, and you cannot hold a grudge the next day - a person who disagrees with you is not an enemy. A lot of folks can't do most of those things - and again, I think that's because it's easier to just go find an echo chamber to sit in rather than have a real discussion.

    So, I have a tendency to go for the argument when presented with an opportunity. I believe I'm good at sticking to my rules. But, it has cost me "friends". I've been told I'm intimidating and condescending. I don't agree, but I can see how I could be perceived that way. And, thanks to some other personality flaws, I kind of don't care - I'm not sure I want to be around folks who see me that way any more than they want to be around me. My wife has to shut me down sometimes - she doesn't handle conflict well, and hates when I get started, even though she agrees that I'm actually very civil about it.

    Anyways, not sure this helps the OP at all... but I'd say, as long as you can follow the rules of engagement, don't bite your tongue.
  14. Tarzan

    Tarzan More than 500 posts

    I drove myself into a state of self censorship around 18 months ago or so after I made what I thought was a rather innocuous comment about a politically charged issue and the mob turned on me (not here). It really left me at a loss to comprehend what I'd said that was so offensive. It was an LBGTQWXYZ issue where a teenager not old enough to vote expected everyone to think the way she did, I just stated that she has every right to her beliefs but expecting others to have the same belief system is unreasonable. I was branded a homophobe, a xenophobe, a nazi and even a pedophile all from that one statement.

    I got to the point where I was filtering everything to the point where I wasn't being true to myself and I was just trying to appease everyone. Some of the crap I wrote on forums read like it had had been written by someone else. So on that stark realization I pulled away from social media for well over a year just so I wouldn't offend anyone.

    In that time two close personal friends committed suicide, they showed early signs of stress on social media but I sat back & watched them spiral into the abyss and said nothing. I'd give anything to go back and say something even if I offended them, at least I could have opened the lines of communication and maybe could have averted their path if I'd just been honest enough to call it as I see it.

    So now I try to stay out of agenda driven politics but if I see anyone I care about acting out of character I'll call them on it every time and then contact them personally. I'm sure I lose a lot of respect but if the reality check is enough to let them see things in a different light and re-evaluate then I can live with that.
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  15. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts


    I've been flamed and blasted on a number of sites, used to be somewhat active on a few political forums. Sometimes for contentious comments I felt were well justified, other times deliberately provoking someone to see if they could defend their position or simply because I knew they couldn't.

    One thing it did was get me used to fact-checking...everything, with multiple sources. Another thing I learned is that it often makes no difference if you're right or wrong, it is almost impossible to make people think past their initial stand. If you do succeed in creating doubt, the usual response is hostility or silence. Ahh, move on and delete the shortcut...

    I'm a lot more relaxed about it now, I'm not going to change anyone's opinion blasting off, but a thoughtful exchange can sometimes make other folks consider stuff from a different POV.
    LukeV and Tarzan like this.
  16. mprevost

    mprevost More than 500 posts

    “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.”

    Marcus Aurelius

    This is what I strive for. Sometimes I make it. Sometimes I don't.
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  17. Kiacek

    Kiacek More than 500 posts

    I'm a little late to the party, but...

    I usually assume that if someone is wrong, then it will cost them something to be wrong, so I don't sweat it.

    If it doesn't cost them something to be wrong, then I question whether I'm right.
    Glen and Bauer like this.
  18. healthfreak

    healthfreak First Timer

    If these people are just co-workers or underlings, ignore what they say. The more you get in the habit of doing this, the easier it becomes.
    Glen likes this.
  19. JW513

    JW513 Double-Digit Post Count

    I could easily blow up on people, I have a bad temper.. But I learned early in life, its not worth it. The time and energy I waste when I'm mad....

    Some people probably think I'm a pushover, but I bite my tongue and NEVER show my cards.... Someone was rude to my dad once and I did go after him but he went in his car and drove away.... I literally would havee killed him. He did shoddy work on my sisters fence, and tried fooling us when he called him on it... He must not of known we are contractors.
  20. Tjerr

    Tjerr Double-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Haven't read everything, but I like the mentality from the book Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Does wonders ;)

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