Of all the books and tips about how to get along better with friends, family and clients, there’s one approach that I believe is the most effortless and under rated. I was reminded of it when our 17-year-old daughter Haley complained about Gail, her classmate, who apparently thrives on creating drama. Haley concluded, “I find I have to bite my tongue a lot around Gail.”

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“Good call,” I offered, “Remaining silent is often the smart move.”

Sooner or later in almost every relationship, people will say or do something that’s mildly annoying. While the natural response may be for us to take offense and lash out, the most powerful response is often to say and do absolutely nothing. By not responding in anger you build a reputation as someone who thinks before acting.

Conflict, in order to exist, requires pushback. I’m not suggesting that we let people get away with being abusive. But it’s a reminder for all of us to choose our battles. As the expression goes, never miss a good opportunity to shut up.

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