T Nation

How to Keep One's Mouth Shut

When I was a little kid, my mother would make a bracelet out of paper and tape and put it on my wrist. It said “don’t talk in class,” over and over. It was the only way I would keep my mouth shut during the day and not get behavior points knocked off. Of course, the effect eventually wore off.

Since paper-and-tape bracelets are no longer an option as an adult, I need to come up with a new tactic. It isn’t that I talk too much at work, given the people I work with, but I often get into discussions/arguments that aren’t prudent. Unfortunately, I talk before I think, and combined with poor social intelligence… well, it occurs to me that I could have a short career if I keep this up.

So: any tips on how to stop oneself from engaging in conversations, when one seems programmed to automatically do so? A shock-collar might not be a bad idea…

[quote]nephorm wrote:
When I was a little kid, my mother would make a bracelet out of paper and tape and put it on my wrist. It said “don’t talk in class,” over and over. It was the only way I would keep my mouth shut during the day and not get behavior points knocked off. Of course, the effect eventually wore off.

Since paper-and-tape bracelets are no longer an option as an adult, I need to come up with a new tactic. It isn’t that I talk too much at work, given the people I work with, but I often get into discussions/arguments that aren’t prudent. Unfortunately, I talk before I think, and combined with poor social intelligence… well, it occurs to me that I could have a short career if I keep this up.

So: any tips on how to stop oneself from engaging in conversations, when one seems programmed to automatically do so? A shock-collar might not be a bad idea…[/quote]

I find too many people at work to either be ass kissers of “gold diggers of information”. The ass kissers don’t hold my interest in terms of conversation because I can’t stand fake people. I also don’t want everything about my personal life in the hands of the “gold diggers” as their only goal is to gain something to gossip about. Any people I consider “real” wouldn’t get caught up in an argument for no damn reason so, no, I don’t understand what you are having a problem with. Mind your own business at work. I make a point to avoid gossip or even accidentally saying something that could be used as “gossip”. I personally don’t understand why you feel the need to talk to those people so much unless it is business related.

Perhaps you need to learn to seperate your work life from your personal life. I debate shit with friends I grew up with. We can get into an argument and be joking around with each other in the same hour.

You realize that you are smarter than the people you work for and start your own thing?

Then, you could, kind of, say whatever you want?

Been there to an extent. Social intelligence is an acquired skill that comes with age and/or experience. Here are some rules I follow:

Most people have no infuence on world events. Their opinions are totally irrelevant.

People will believe what they believe, even if it’s something that shouldn’t be based on mere belief like what is the best workout. If their skinny personal trainer told them that the best way to train is to stand on one leg on a BOSU while doing curls with 5 lb. dumbbells, let 'em do it. And it doesn’t matter if you have hard, scientific evidence to the contrary. If it contradicts what they believe, the evidence was obviously falsified by some large, but unnamed, conspiracy. Much as I would like to be part of such a conspiracy, I don’t have the time. So I always wonder where people get the notion that there is a conspiracy.

Once you accept the fact that 50% of the population is below average intelligence, the world makes sense.

Life is too short to argue with morons.

Play Sudoku.

Reject everyone else’s reality and replace it with your own.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I make a point to avoid gossip or even accidentally saying something that could be used as “gossip”. I personally don’t understand why you feel the need to talk to those people so much unless it is business related.

Perhaps you need to learn to seperate your work life from your personal life. I debate shit with friends I grew up with. We can get into an argument and be joking around with each other in the same hour. [/quote]

It isn’t very much personal information… it’s all guys, here. Just politics, etc. It comes up. And that’s fine, for people who know how to interact. I make jokes that are slightly offensive… not very often, thank God, but every once in awhile.

At any rate, you are correct, I should not be talking to people so much.

[quote]orion wrote:
You realize that you are smarter than the people you work for and start your own thing?

Then, you could, kind of, say whatever you want?[/quote]

I appreciate that you think I’m capable of that, but I’ve racked my brains for a while trying to come up with something I could do myself to start my own business.

I respect people like Professor X who are obviously able to keep to themselves and be very professional. I am, unfortunately, far more obnoxious by temperament.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
Professor X wrote:
I make a point to avoid gossip or even accidentally saying something that could be used as “gossip”. I personally don’t understand why you feel the need to talk to those people so much unless it is business related.

Perhaps you need to learn to seperate your work life from your personal life. I debate shit with friends I grew up with. We can get into an argument and be joking around with each other in the same hour.

It isn’t very much personal information… it’s all guys, here. Just politics, etc. It comes up. And that’s fine, for people who know how to interact. I make jokes that are slightly offensive… not very often, thank God, but every once in awhile.

At any rate, you are correct, I should not be talking to people so much. [/quote]

I am still going to stress “WHY”. In my clinic, there are probably about 10 guys who are assistants and aids and 10 girls. The enlisted are closer to my age and thus who I am most likely to ask if they’ve seen X-men or noticed how big Mariah Carey’s titties have gotten on BET. In the few years I have been here, politics comes up…NOT ONCE. Religion, aside from random comments on a positive note from one woman who is very outwardly religious, comes up…NOT ONCE. Why, you ask? Because anyone with any sense already knows those are touchy subjects. They shouldn’t be brought up at work at all. Any close friends I have probably already share my belief in God or political leanings so I don’t even argue about that stuff with them.

Yes, you did bring this on yourself. Most people aren’t interesting or educated enough to even bother arguing with about anything. They will believe what they want to believe. That makes your mouth a motor running in vain.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
orion wrote:
You realize that you are smarter than the people you work for and start your own thing?

Then, you could, kind of, say whatever you want?

I appreciate that you think I’m capable of that, but I’ve racked my brains for a while trying to come up with something I could do myself to start my own business.

I respect people like Professor X who are obviously able to keep to themselves and be very professional. I am, unfortunately, far more obnoxious by temperament.[/quote]

Me too, me too…

Try not to be too clever starting your own enterprise, just build something that can support you financially, things look different and much more relaxed when you do not have to chase your next paycheck.

Building a (small) company is really not that hard.

Take a medium/slightly above average idea and beat your opposition…

300 million people speaking the same language, sharing the same culture, no more translators, sob…

Go for it or hug the rock until it crushes you…

You know you want it…

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Yes, you did bring this on yourself. Most people aren’t interesting or educated enough to even bother arguing with about anything. They will believe what they want to believe. That makes your mouth a motor running in vain.[/quote]

You are correct.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
Professor X wrote:
Yes, you did bring this on yourself. Most people aren’t interesting or educated enough to even bother arguing with about anything. They will believe what they want to believe. That makes your mouth a motor running in vain.

You are correct.[/quote]

That does not mean you can change it without compromising everything you stand for…

[quote]orion wrote:
Building a (small) company is really not that hard.

Take a medium/slightly above average idea and beat your opposition…
[/quote]

I’d need one of those, first. I work 60 hours a week, plus grad school, so I really worry about wasting the little bit of time I have left.

It just might. But someday, somehow… I want to retire.

[quote]orion wrote:
That does not mean you can change it without compromising everything you stand for…[/quote]

I’m an obnoxious, motormouth know-it-all. Me mastering my need to comment and join in conversations has absolutely nothing to do with anything I stand for, and everything to do with getting along with others and not being a pain in the ass for other people. I’m just hoping there is some way to accomplish this without simply relying on will, since I obviously have poor impulse control for this sort of thing.

[quote]orion wrote:

That does not mean you can change it without compromising everything you stand for…[/quote]

What does this even mean? I have very strong beliefs and opinions. People at work don’t need to be involved in any of them. That doesn’t mean I compromise a damn thing. I just keep my personal issues out of the work area when it comes to co-workers.

You could always keep a Metabolic Drive bar in your hand, just keep chewing.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
orion wrote:
Building a (small) company is really not that hard.

Take a medium/slightly above average idea and beat your opposition…

I’d need one of those, first. I work 60 hours a week, plus grad school, so I really worry about wasting the little bit of time I have left.

Go for it or hug the rock until it crushes you…

It just might. But someday, somehow… I want to retire.[/quote]

The I cannot afford to waste time idea is so strange…

What do you do and does it take you closer to where you want to be?

Whatever is concerning you now might be a complete waste of time, considering that you do not know exactly where you are good at and that you have only one life?

All right, finish you education, get a well paid job , meet an attractive, intelligent woman with an insatiable sexual appetite, and you will probably still want to push you boundaries…

Just accept that, and let go of the rock …

Retirement…

Mwuahahahha…

You are going to die, you know that, don?t you?

Retirement: If it is something you love you will not be looking forward to it…

People that are concerned with it hate their jobs…

This may be assuming too much, but here’s my take:

Given what I know of you by reading your posts, you’re pretty well read and a logical, thorough thinker. Most people (read: the people at work) are not. They will often say things that strike you as wrong. You feel like to need to correct them.

If that’s the case, I’d say: give it up. Most people don’t care what you think (especially at work), no matter how right you may be. Talking with them, in this case, only serves to show that you’re smarter than they are. They probably already know this, and you’ll come off as an ass.

It’s also possible that you enjoy having these kinds of discussions. They energize you, since you like to exercise your mind and hope to bounce your ideas off of other people, in the hopes that they’ll reciprocate.

If that’s the case, it’s probably better to find people who are actually interested in discussing the topic rather than spouting off the latest catchphrases from pundits (which these people are undoubtedly doing). A lot of the time, people say things not because they’re interested in talking about them, but because they feel they need to fill the air.

There are probably other causes and solutions, but I used to have the same problem as you, which caused me some grief when I first started work. I’ve since learned to (literally) bite my tongue, and it’s helped my professional relationships a lot.

And ProfX: I totally understand the “gold diggers of information” bit. I hate them, but feel obligated to be nice since they’re my colleagues, and I can’t exactly just ignore them. Agh.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
orion wrote:

That does not mean you can change it without compromising everything you stand for…

What does this even mean? I have very strong beliefs and opinions. People at work don’t need to be involved in any of them. That doesn’t mean I compromise a damn thing. I just keep my personal issues out of the work area when it comes to co-workers.[/quote]

If you can do it, great…

However, in a management position you very often have to swallow a lot of BS and there cometh a point were you just can?t take it anymore, on any issue…

If I was emotionally mature enough I would learn to deal with it, but insecure as I am, I have transferred my narcisstic defense mechanisms in this reality by running my own little company.

Now, if I fuck up, it costs my own money, BUT I am actually part of the decision making process…

I like that…

Maybe, as a doctor, you have a built-in decision- making privilege you are not aware off?

All others have to swallow a lot of BS each day, and for some of them it means that they have to escape that rat race?

I think Nephorm might be one of them?

I was one of them?

If you really don’t want to talk to people, then just walk around looking irritated.

Yes, it’s a George bit from Seinfeld, but it works.

Or: stop showering. Around day three, you’ll find your conversations have been reduced to nil.

[quote]orion wrote:
What do you do and does it take you closer to where you want to be?
[/quote]

I’m a programmer. It pays the bills, and yes, in that sense it is taking me closer to where I want to be.

I also have a mortgage to pay, bills, etc. Unless I have a clear-cut idea that I execute without quitting my job, and without too much start-up capital, then yes, I am pretty much stuck.

My job is reasonably well-paid. As for the rest… I’ve really got other things to be concerned with.

Painfully aware.

I don’t disagree. But no one is going to pay me to travel around the world doing fuck all and reading to my heart’s content. But hey, maybe I’ll continue on the path that I’m on, and the “rock” will just crumble.

[quote]blooey wrote:
Given what I know of you by reading your posts…[/quote]

Thanks, blooey, you are mostly correct about my tendencies. I will say that my posts here are considerably more tactful than I am capable of being in real life; not because I want or intend to be shocking, but because, as I said, I don’t think before I speak.

I will try literally biting my tongue the next time the urge to join in occurs.