Learning to control oneself and not say the first thing that comes to mind is critical in operating a business, and in being an employee or employer. Self control like this, in the form of “biting one’s tongue” is important. This may have to do with interacting with clients or customers, but it may well involve dealing with ones’ spouse/business partner. Tongue biting can maintain harmony with clients and family. Being around someone who cannot control themselves, that is, someone who “shoots from the hip” is unpleasant. Whether the comment is directed at you or not, it does not create a good workplace environment and can leave the others who were not the target fearful that they will be next. Of course, employees who can’t control themselves create a different set of problems, and they will find themselves job hunting as a result of their failure to keep their thoughts to themselves.
As my mother always said, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything, at all.” This dictum is actually tough to follow, but when clients are involved, it is often impossible. All of my clients are attorneys who rarely see the world and the people in it in the same way I do, as a psychologist. Sometimes, we are on such different wavelengths that it is as if we are from different planets! On the occasions when the clients are obviously not interested in receiving my advice, which they have paid dearly to receive I might add, I have found it difficult to understand why they have hired me. I usually persist in telling them things they do not want to hear until I realize they truly have a vested interest in perceiving things in ways that are not going to help them, not to mention their client. Once I realize this, I adopt Mom’s advice and keep my thoughts to myself. On the rare occasions when this has happened, I have found it best to “disappear” into another room or wherever I can go to avoid further confrontation with a client. One of our clients even argued with me about what time it was; that was the moment I realized I had better stay far, far away from him for the rest of our time together! David is better at “biting your tongue” than me; I just have to get out of the way of someone who alienates me.