People can be endlessly fascinating. They can also be endlessly irritating. The secret to getting along with others, no matter where they fall on the fascinating/irritating spectrum at any given point in time, is to know when to speak up and when to shut up.
Greater love hath no man than to…
- speak up when she has spinach between her teeth
- shut up when she asks if her butt looks too big
- speak up when he leaves his turn signal on
- shut up when he is driving so slowly bicycles are passing him
- speak up when his breath is bad enough to stop a charging rhino
- shut up when he farts
- speak up when she can’t remember her best friend’s name
- shut up when she repeats the story you’ve heard so many times you could recite it in your sleep
- speak up when he helps put away the groceries without being asked
- shut up when he puts the canned peas on the wrong shelf
- shut up when he gets the letters wrong in the ABC song
- speak up when he shares his toys with his little sister
- shut up when she asks what you REALLY think of her man
- speak up when you think he would hurt her
- shut up when you can’t stand the politician she thinks walks on water
- speak up when she spews hate about people just because they’re different
Each of us has distinct characteristics and quirks. Some we can change, and some we can’t; some we can help one another improve, and some it’s nobody else’s business to even try. Whether at work, a family gathering, on the internet or within a marriage, before giving advice we should probably ask ourselves:
Will this be truly helpful?
Am I trying to make the other person feel better? Be better?
Am I really just criticizing?
Greater love hath no man than to accept his fellows as they are.
And, damn, that ain’t easy.