Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words. We shall, however, when occasion demands, enter into discourse sparingly, avoiding such common topics as gladiators, horse-races, athletes; and the perpetual talk about food and drink. Above all avoid speaking of persons, either in the way of praise or blame, or comparison. – Epictetus
When confronted with an uncomfortable pause in the conversation… let it be. When bored and reaching for something witty to say, just don’t. There is nothing wrong with just letting the quiet stand.
In social settings where participation is to be expected, do not, of course, maintain a monkish muteness. It is out of place and possibly a cry for attention. Instead, be sure to answer all questions succinctly and with a smile, and to make the appropriate responses to grease the wheels of communication. Never let others hear a disparaging remark escape your lips, unless you want them to wonder how you speak in their absence. When it is your turn to broach a topic, make sure it is focused on anything but you and your obsessions. Try, “So what are you working on, now?” or “What are your thoughts on…” or maybe, “I noticed you have a new …”
And when your words come, let it be because they are missed. Let your words have the weight of being sparingly shared; of being well considered. Let them be pulled, rather than pushed.
🍺 to another great week ahead!
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