Hold your tongue

Photo courtesy of Nicole Cho (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Nicole Cho (Creative Commons)

Don’t you want to tell people what you think? It’s tempting, isn’t it?

I find that often, I formulate a response to a question or a situation and then have to rethink it in terms of what I will accomplish by saying or writing it that way.

Usually, it involves explaining what someone did wrong, and why that led to something being done (or not done) a certain way. .

Yes, it is temporarily self-satisfying to correct or explain. Yes, it feels good to throw that blame the other way. But it rarely reaps any long-term benefits. All it does is make the other person feel bad, and the situation is not changed. I need to exercise restraint

In my work with I Run 4, (click here for more information). I manage all the requests from those wanting someone to run for them (or their child) and those wanting to run in honor of someone.

There are steps to follow in signing up, and if something is left out, I email the person asking them to complete it.  In bold print, I ask them to email me back so I know it has been done. I field hundreds of requests every day about this, and don’t have time to go back and check.

Sometimes people write back telling me they have done that step – but they clearly haven’t. Or they don’t email me back to let me know and then later, they will ask where they are on the list (and they aren’t on the list because they didn’t let me know). Or they tell me that they have been waiting “months” when in reality is it only a few weeks.

My first urge is to tell them “you didn’t follow instructions” or “you are wrong.”

But what does that accomplish? It just beats the other person up and gets neither of us further along.

All they need to know is that their situation is taken care of. I try to quietly take care of the step that was missed, add them to the list, or assure them their wait will be over soon.

I know I appreciate being treated that way when the tables are turned and I am the one with the request.

Sometimes the less said, the better.