it’s time to be civil (16)


7. Don’t speak ill. … What are we to do when someone speaks ill of others in our presence? Depending on the situation, we can: * Leave. * Remain silent (especially if the disparaging is short-lived and mild in nature. * Say something positive about the absent victim and/or change the subject. * Openly communicate to the attacker that we are ill at ease and unwilling to play the game: ‘You know, I am really not comfortable discussing this”; I would prefer not to speculate about the details of his personal life”; It doesn’t seem fair to make these allegations in her absence, does it?” …

“I urge you to try … When people get used to hearing you speaking only neutrally or kindly of others they will not be afraid to open up and get close to you because they know you will not betray them. Thus you will be rewarded with meaningful relationships that otherwise would never have come into being.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 67,68

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