In my book Before You Hit Send, I quote a woman who said, "You know that little thing in the back of your brain that tells you not to say something before you say it? Well, I don't have that little thing." I suppose all of us wonder occasionally if we lack that little thing in the back of our brains. We know that we are to think before we speak, but we end up saying something that we should not say.Read More
Some questions from one spouse to another are nearly impossible to answer without causing heartache. For example, what is a husband to say when his wife asks, "Does this red dress make me look fat?" A good-hearted husband longs to be truthful without being hurtful, but that isn't an easy rope to walk on. Most men feel totally trapped by this question, because they have learned, perhaps the hard way, that saying nothing or saying "I don't know" actually means "you look fat."Read More
None of us can stand it when people are unfriendly and mean-spirited toward us. We know kindness is fundamental to building trust whether in the family, the neighborhood, the legislature, or the workplace. We avoid unsympathetic, inconsiderate, and nasty neighbors, and we take our business elsewhere when a store owner treats us in an uncaring and callous way.
But when we are pushed to the edge and feel kindness is getting us nowhere, do we turn unpleasant, disagreeable, and uncivil?Read More
My friend Sam Ericsson, who graduated from Harvard Law School and founded Advocates International, was instrumental in helping various nations draft new constitutions, especially those countries that formed after the Soviet Union gave them their independence. Sam told me that his chief point of advocacy with the leaders of these countries seeking his legal counsel was to create laws based on the Golden Rule. Sam conveyed that there is no better way to establish just laws than by doing to others what you would want done to you in the same situation. Sam shared with me that such laws are not difficult to figure out when the Golden Rule is acted on honestly with good will. If a person or a nation wants to know what is right, they can discover it by applying the Golden Rule.Read More
During the 2016 NBA Finals, a player’s wife, understandably hurting and upset for her husband who had just been ejected from a game, fired out a tweet from her seat in the arena accusing the NBA of being rigged and out to get her husband for the sake of ratings. An hour and a half later, she deleted the tweet and apologized, but the damage had already been done. With 450,000 followers on Twitter, she had already seen her unfortunate tweet retweeted thousands of times, and the backlash had begun.Read More
A filter is any device that removes unwanted material. For example, an oil filter for a car lets the good oil pass through while blocking the crud and removing impurities. The muck and guck are detrimental to the engine and undermine the effectiveness of the motor. Some of us need a filter on our speech when we communicate. When we lack a filter we undermine our effectiveness in communicating with people, whether those are family and friends, coworkers and neighbors, or acquaintances and strangers.
What is this filter? It consists of asking three questions before communicating in person, over the phone, or in writing.Read More