The Value of Keeping Your Mouth Shut

I’m a pretty laid-back guy but there are a few things that I’m an absolute stickler for. For example, I absolutely hate incorrect grammar and one of my biggest pet peeves is when iTunes can’t find the album artwork for one of the albums in my music collection. Little things like that drive me crazy. I also like knowing minute details about things. I love being able to name not only the actors in a movie but also knowing who directed it and who composed the score. Basically, I know lots of little, random things that most people don’t notice/care about.

Because I know all this random stuff, I’m often in a position to drop knowledge bombs on people. I’m that guy that will jump into a conversation for the sole purpose of correcting who/whom usage. I’m the guy that will spend 5 minutes correcting you when you make some slight error in Harry Potter mythos (btw It’s leviOsa, not leviosA). In short, I like to be right. But that’s not the best move all the time.

Sometimes, you have to make the choice between being right and being someone people want to be around. No one likes the person who corrects them every 4 seconds. No one likes the person who takes any opportunity to show off how much smarter they are than everyone else. I’ve learned that there is value in simply keeping one’s mouth shut. If someone says something that technically isn’t 100% correct, that’s not necessarily a reason for you to ride in on your high horse and correct them. If a topic comes up that you happen to know a lot about, you don’t necessarily have to dazzle everyone with your superior knowledge. If you posture yourself as being right all the time, by default, you’re saying that everyone else is wrong all the time. And that’s not a quality anyone wants in a friend.

The people in your life should be more important than you feeling like you’re the smartest person in the room. Now don’t get me wrong. There are times when you do need to speak up and correct people (i.e. theological issues, Georgia Tech fans, people using “Dr. Who and instead of Doctor Who.) But before you speak up, ask yourself two things. 1. Am I wanting to correct them just to show off how smart I am? 2. Is this really that important? If the answers to those questions aren’t no and yes, respectively, then not saying anything might be the way to go. Sometimes, the best move is keeping your mouth shut.

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