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“A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” – Mahatma Gandhi
In society today, some individuals will tell white-lies or tell others what they think the other person wants to hear so they can avoid conflict and maintain friendships. Often, those who lack the courage to speak the truth will use euphemisms, or “half-truths,” to avoid offending a peer or colleague. Telling the truth, however, is the most honest form of communication. Unfortunately, in our society some people do not respond favorably to the truth and instead, respond in a manner that creates conflict. Telling the honest trust takes courage, particularly in situations when one believes that honesty will result in persecution, alienation, or harsh judgement.
Examples:: when you are in a group of peers and they start talking poorly about a person that you think is a good person – is it easy to stand up again the crowd for that person or is it easy to stay silent. Silence is one way of saying “no” – if you don’t come out against the opposition and remain silent, you are in a manner of speaking, agreeing with those who are speaking poorly of someone.
Another example – among a group of people who support abortion for a friend who is pregnant – how easy is it to take a stand in opposition or is it easier to avoid conflict and hold back your truths?
Final example, when a friend-girl tell you how much they love their new outfit or hairdo and yet you think it is the most ugly thing ever, do you agree with them or do you speak up and say”actually, no – that is really not flattering at all”?
I believe in all situations it is very contextual. How much do you want to remain friends with this person? If you want to be friends a lot, then you might be likely to go along with them, but if you do not care about maintaining the friendship, then you might be more likely to speak up. The situational topic also makes a difference. If someone were speaking really bad about a close teammate, then you might disagree with them to save the reputation of the teammate and the team. But, if they were speaking poorly about someone you really didn’t know very well, you might not speak up because it is not worth the effort to get involved in the drama. See where I am going with this? The context of the situation – who the person is, the things they are saying or doing, and the timing and how important the issue is to you cause people to speak up, speak out, or keep their thoughts silent.
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