Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Taming The Tongue

I have said in this space before, one of the top axioms I try to live by is: Be interested, not interesting. What I mean by this is keep my mouth shut and listen to others, rather than speaking and expecting others to listen to me.
Do you ever find yourself following another person’s comment (both verbal and social media) with, “That happened to me.” or “I like, I did, I have…” We are seeking to be interesting. We are saying: Listen to me about my life.

A good example of this happened when I was listening to a conversation. One person said, "They just found out my Mom has cancer." The other person immediately responded with, "My Mom died of cancer." (ouch!)

Too often we quickly follow another person's comment with a statement or story from our own lives.

Relating the other person's comment to us very rarely enhances their lives. All we are doing is telling the other person how their experience relates to us. We are essentially saying, "It's not about you, it's about me."

Good Believers, good leaders, good parents, good conversationalists, and good friends are interested more than they are interesting. Being interested makes it about others. Being interesting makes it about self.

And when we do speak, consider affirming, encouraging, supporting, and exhorting the other person. In other words, be interested in their lives. Don’t immediately turn the conversation to make it about you and your life.

Ask the other person to tell us why they enjoyed a restaurant they just mentioned (don't tell them about your favorite restaurant). When a person tells of their vacation, ask them to tell you more (rather than telling about your vacation). 

But if they are critical of something or someone, don't join in on the crjiticism and/or gossip. (Remember: gossip includes speaking about people we don't know personally: politicians, celebrities, people who cut us off in traffic, etc.)

Be a positive influence, not a spreader of negativity.

There is great wisdom in what the writer of Proverbs says in 10:17: Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.

May we listen more, speak less, and be much more interested than interestingLead Well!

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