Do you speak up when someone around you says or does something that you disapprove of?
If you don’t, it’s likely causing more damage to your social results than you know.
You see, there’s a saying that goes “silence is support”.
And it means that if you don’t show your disagreement with what’s being said or done around you – it must mean that you agree with or support it.
And this comes into play in all kinds of situations.
Men who do not speak up when other men use derogatory terms or statements towards women are assumed by any woman present to agree with the chauvinist.
People who do not speak up when someone is being unfairly criticized are assumed to agree with the criticism.
Those who allow racist, sexist, or other discriminatory talk or actions to pass without speaking up against them.. well, I’m sure you get the point.
In my Authentic Assertiveness course, I dedicate several chapters to the art of speaking up, sharing our opinions, and stating disagreements.
And I do that because it is one of the most important things to master. If we don’t, other people’s bad behaviors will negatively affect our own social results.
So here’s what we have to do.
Whenever – and I mean whenever – someone in your presence does or says something that goes against your personal ethics, speak up and let them know.
You don’t have to turn every single one of these conversations into a discussion. But you do have to make sure that they, and anyone listening, recognize that what they’re saying or doing does not represent you.
When you do, not only will the people around you not associate you with that poor behavior. But the person displaying it will feel less supported and, in some cases, not take things any further.
When what is being said or done that you disagree with is not a serious violation in any way, you can feel free to disagree with a smile and leave it at that.
“Haha, well, you might feel that way, but I have to say that’s I don’t agree.”
But if what was said or done is on the more serious side. If it affects someone’s safety or self-worth. If it’s racist or discriminatory or violent in nature. Please speak up firmly. Let them know that you will not accept such behavior in your world. And if they don’t correct the behavior – leave them.
We can’t afford to be silent supporters of people and actions that make the world a worse place to live.
Let’s use these skills we’re developing not just for our own good – but to create a better world for everyone.