With aging comes more discretion or does it?

smiley-face-snarkI have a snarky side. Sometimes impromptu snide comments come out of my mouth. I don’t know how it happens but it does. (Good thing I don’t Tweet!)

Recently I had two incidents that gave me the occasion but I didn’t respond. I just didn’t say anything.

Am I losing my touch or am I becoming discrete? (That’s hard to believe!)

In one case, I just didn’t care. My snarky response would have been “whatever.” (You know how annoying it is when the kids say that!) This would have been in response to someone who was being snarky first.

In the second case, I had a boatload to say including some button-pressing comments that would serve no purpose. Contrary to my nature, I opted to wait.

Sometimes you don’t have all the facts. Sometimes you are in a crappy mood. Sometimes you need to just shut your mouth. (Most times it’s all three!)

In a short time a few things changed. Tables were turned and I could see a different side. This is not a case of right or wrong. No hard facts, just soft feelings. (Did you know it takes longer to mend feelings than to mend bones?)

I had the opportunity to revisit my initial reaction. There was disappointment but I’ve had a lot of disappointment in my life. Was there a deep-seated fear that I’m unwilling to admit or confront? Perhaps, but that is resolved through self-introspection, not snarky comebacks.

Public knee jerk reactions do the most harm and serve the least purpose. No one thinks the best leader yells the loudest. The best leader is the one who helps you see the way without telling you that you are stupid or wrong.

Most of the time people don’t intentionally disappoint, it just happens. Expectations are never talked about. We all guess at it and sometimes we guess wrong.

None of this is new but I am always amazed when I learn the same lesson yet again. However, this time I remembered to be quiet. (No, this does not mean I’m growing up!)

I believe you should confront people when you think something is wrong but first visit your own motives and expectations to see if they are reasonable.

We all see things through our own filter. Sometimes it needs to be cleaned like that pair of dirty sunglasses lying in the bottom of the drawer.

 

65 thoughts on “With aging comes more discretion or does it?

  1. Holding back ones initial reactions is difficult. I think many times we react or hold back depending on who is on the other side of the conversation.
    But you’re right, age and understanding internal perspective have a lot to do with our reactions and voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never been good at snark. I’m kind of a slow thinker (getting slower all the time), so I’m not good with the quick comeback. Plus, I’m pretty tolerant of other people, especially face to face. I have an earnest streak, though, and that can get me into trouble. I get all serious about the logic of some “big world-shaking matter,” and forget about the person who’s holding the “erroneous” views.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think of myself as a quick comeback person. I have a friend who is absolutely marvelous at that and I love that about him even when it’s directed at me. My snark comes out when the other person is bordering on the outrageous. These days there is a lot of that going on. I am lucky to have my husband who gets my rants about erroneous views. It’s not that he holds them, I just can’t believe anyone could think that way. 🙂 He usually puts up his hands and says “You’re talking to the choir!”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Much food for thought. If only we could pause before reacting to something to ask ourselves, ‘Is what I am about to say going to achieve anything except serve my own ego? Is it best left unsaid, or could it be phrased better? Can I get the point across in an impersonal manner, leaving out “I” and “you”?’

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m much better now about holding my tongue than when I was younger. I guess that’s true for a lot of people. It’s not because I’m necessarily wiser at this point, but I’ve learned that I’ll eat myself up about it later if I get into an altercation. So for my own sanity it’s usually better to not engage.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I used to regret my snark. Now I bite my tongue a lot more than I used to and I try not to take things personally.

    Result? I often discover the person didn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. So then I regret not being snarky.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It’s a fine line. Sometimes I hold back on the snark then release it later. Sometimes I feel better because I have more info and sometimes it’s not as potent as “in the moment” rebuttal snark. There is a science to snark.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I rarely have regretted those times that I’ve held back and not said the first thing that came into my head. I think the older I get, the more I’ve learned to shut up until I learn more about the situation. Unfortunately, the most difficult time to do this is when emotions are running high… which is exactly when restraint is needed the most.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Love the sunglasses comparison.
    I pretty much follow the don’t snark and possibly embarrass another in person in public….pounded into from childhood having been a rather outspoken young child (And in the era of boys don’t like smart girls)…and besides sometimes it’s difficult to come up with the perfect golden snark at just the right time, but later. HAHA
    Twitter? Too impulsive and too easy to get into trouble (that mending feelings being hard is true – although it seems so many don’t care about that anymore…all about selfies and number of followers and likes)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was more quiet as a child keeping my comments to myself. Perhaps because my mother had such a snarky side that she said them for me (and everyone else). As a young adult, these things started coming out of my mouth, mostly to be funny. As any comedian will tell you, sometimes it works and sometimes……

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Can we agree that sometimes snark IS called for? Now that being said, I understand. Sometimes we just want to bite back right away to level the playing field (again) or salvage our bruised/hurt/angry/embarrassed/insert-reaction ego. But maybe it’s better to sleep on it. You can *always* return to the problem (if it continues to seem like a problem) and say/write/telephone your piece. Just because you hold your tongue immediately doesn’t mean you have to now and forever. Good post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Snark is definitely an important part of interaction for me. Sometimes it’s funny snark and sometimes it’s intended to really say “Do you know what you just said/did?” Yes, returning if that’s the right answer, is always an option especially when you are returning with a calmer attitude.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I am not on Twitter either, something about the word Twit is a little off-putting to me. You’re right, of course, about taking that step back before you speak but sometimes don’t the words just come popping out when someone says something stupid? Of course there are those who say things just to get a reaction out of you so good for you for spoiling their fun! Happy Valentine’s Day Kate!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. So many times my mouth has over-ruled my brain. We do learn, eventually. Like I did just now, reading this line: “…it takes longer to mend feelings than to mend bones.” It would serve me well to remember this.

    Thanks Kate.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. First I think that you should be on Twitter because your kind of snark would be appreciated. But be that as it may be, I’ve found that keeping a blog has encouraged me to comment less to other people about what they’re saying or doing. This is because I want to hear their whole story/ pov in case they say something blogworthy for me to use. Years ago I always responded immediately but now I sit back and let people entertain me.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. “Sometimes you don’t have all the facts. Sometimes you are in a crappy mood. Sometimes you need to just shut your mouth. (Most times it’s all three!)”… I like this one… and as I get older, sometimes I just have to walk away. Talking it out is too exhausting. I read this to CH and he likes this post, he says it is hard to put something like this in words. What you have written fits his reactions to “stuff” in life. I have a snarky side too but it has been tamed in the last 20 years. Snarky comes back to bite us in the butt… 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • For me, older and more experience has tamed me (not changed me, just tame me enough that I don’t shoot anyone). Also my work in human resources. Saw it all. The truly sad stories and the phony sad stories. I have learned to not get attached to other people’s crap nor to try to solve their problems. They are rarely looking for solutions but for validation that they are the “good guy.” This post started in a different direction and then, wam! I was off to the races and down a rabbit hole. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Wow. I learned this type of thinking last year for the first time. And like you, have learned and relearned it a hundred and eight times since! I love that I know it, and that as much as I can disappoint myself when I fail at waiting my initial reaction out, I always have the understanding and commitment to do better next time around. That and this post, makes me know that it is a life long way.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Good thoughts, Kate and excellent sum up. Our view of reality is often skewed because we’re looking at life through a dirty lens and cloudy filter. When something happens, our experiences, concerns, and viewpoints form an opaque overlay, obscuring reality. We tell ourselves stories and fanciful fictions in a futile effort to create order from chaos and sense from nonsense. We see the world behind our eyes.

    And good for you for biting back your snark when snark is not what’s needed.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I’ve always been more of a quiet observer. Years ago, I worked with a guy who never shut up. He had an opinion on everything and believed he was always right. I remember feeling sorry for his wife and wondering how she lived with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not fond of those people (thank God I’m not one of them) because you can’t be an expert in all subjects. Many times they try to push their opinion on you. Worked with too many of those types. Don’t miss that. Don’t feel sorry for the wife. Many times the wife rules the roost at home leaving the guy to vent his “thoughts” everywhere else.

      Liked by 1 person

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