Personality of Coronavirus

I am surprised at how compliant everyone has been with wearing a mask. It is mandatory within stores and public buildings, but it is just as common to see people wearing masks outside exercising. In Texas, even with the heat in the 100’s, people are continuing to wear masks outdoors, sweating from fear of the Coronavirus.

I think it would be interesting to do a psychological study of people based on how much they are masking themselves. As concern for the Coronavirus has continued, I’ve noticed people covering up their faces more and more. In retail environments where there have been the most people, I have seen people so covered up you cannot even see their face! How can the police even identify a thief anymore? Women are seen wearing large sunglasses and masks so that only their foreheads are left uncovered. Men wear bandanas that cover up the entire bottom half of their face below their eyes. Whereas in most cases it is difficult to implement any kind of policy, somehow wearing a mask is not even questioned. There are very few people who argue with it. How many of these are wearing a mask for prevention reasons and how many are wearing it because of psychological needs for safety, security, love, and belonging?

I have seen people who have their entire face covered. Is this a sign of care and security that the person is trying to create for themselves? Does the amount of coverage of the face signify fulfilling a need of self-love and way of conquering pain in their life, like trying to swaddle themselves in a baby blanket? Or maybe it is coverage from the fear of contracting the virus built up from all the hype and coverage of media, rather than the virus itself.

Perhaps for some, it is a way to physically look better or a means to lose weight. Sweating under a mask burns off calories on an entirely different area of the body than is typical. Similarly, with weight loss, how is it that a person can breathe who is exercising with their mouth and nose covered? I had a gym membership and it was manageable to walk on a treadmill at a slow speed with a mask on. However, any faster cardio activity was nearly impossible as the mask restrained breathing and caused my face to become really hot. Do people who workout intensely masked think it will strengthen their lungs by restraining their air? For those who are self-conscious about the bottom half of their face, it provides a chance to keep it hidden, but for most of us, we need a full supply of air. Likewise, it is a mystery to me how cyclists are able to ride their bikes completely masked. Yet many of them are cycling miles around the lake at the same speed as normal. How many of the walkers and runners with dogs on a leash do not care that the Coronavirus can be contracted to their pet? Where are the pet masks? Wouldn’t it make more sense if both pet and owner wore a mask or didn’t?

Living in a self-expressive era, people are eager to express themselves and show their personality and style. For those who care to express themselves by mask, wearing a unique mask is a way to do this. The number of styles I have seen have ranged from glitter and bling, to exaggerated mouths on the mask, patriotic versions, cartoons, and plenty of different colors and patterns. Those who love to sew, were quick to see the Coronavirus as an opportunity to show their skills. Handmade masks were made and distributed to friends and family members. Many still wear the basic disposable, blue and white mask. Bandanas also have been a quick makeshift for a mask, easily made by folding a bandana into thirds and popping hair bands on each end.

Very few people are actually practicing social distancing with 6 feet of space, but wearing a mask is followed by nearly the entire population and has become a trend. Has self-expression and the trend for fashion tied in with keywords like “social distancing” created a fad to drive compliancy?

Health and self-expression are always going to be top-sellers when it comes to the general public. Having an ailment or a special condition, makes you a commodity. We see this with parents and their children. “My child has ADHD”, or whatever other symptom, suddenly makes the child “special” and the parents have a topic to talk about. Topics revolve around the problem with their child, rather than emphasizing what the child excels in. This is a way parents can converse with one another encountering less feeling of inadequacy. Empathy can be found with a health issue, whereas bragging on talent might create adversity with another parent. The same type of approach applies to adult-to-adult conversation. Adults would rather discuss their woes rather than talk about what is uplifting. How many older people talk about their pains, medications and doctors visits when it would be more pleasant to hear about their life experiences. It creates a concern for self, which results in compassion from the other person. With the Coronavirus everyone gets a special band-aid pasted on their face.

It is understandable that vulnerable populations such as the elderly might have a greater fear of catching the Coronavirus. One would think that children would be of a higher concern as well. In retail store environments, I have heard mothers question why their children must wear a mask or if an exception can be made. Events and kids meals might make exceptions for kids, but with smaller lungs and little bodies, it would seem obvious they would fall into the high concern bracket. Psychologically is it that the parent feels neglected of care and must nurture themselves by wearing a mask while giving the child the benefit of freedom? The parent positions him or herself as the one who needs care above the child, when it should be both.

With the rich and famous, masking opens up more opportunities to be in public and not be identified. For those aspiring to be rich and famous, they too can dress differently and go around town in mask for a different experience. It is a chance for the affluent to be fashionable and show their sense of fashion by affording specialized masks to coordinate with their outfits. An article was posted about the Queen of England who wears a mask that matches her daily wardrobe of brightly colored suits. I also saw a young woman in downtown Dallas who had a mask made of the exact material of her outfit.  

While some cultures such as Islam require head coverings, covering the face is new for most Western cultures. Will this develop a greater appreciation for our mouths? An uncovered mouth is needed for sound and volume. Many hard of hearing must be affected by not being able to hear people who have mouth coverings on. It may create a new vision for how we see people, noticing the person rather than the external qualities. The mouth is also used for reading facial expressions. A person can take a vacation from smiling and no one will even know. I’ve even seen people stick their tongue out at me from behind their mask. And as for revenue from foundation makeup and lipstick, I would imagine sales are down. Personally, I prefer to be mask-free as much as possible, but follow policies where wearing a mask is required.

Wearing a mask is the perfect prelude to a reformation of etiquette in our culture. After being in timeout with the Coronavirus, with shelter in place, we were able to have a greater appreciation for our freedom and ability to interact with one another. Covering the mouth and nose, can visually signify halting gossip and nosiness, which is also indicative of rudeness. When restrictions were lifted for public shopping, it was a renewed experience of respectfulness of distance and the exclusiveness of having space while shopping. People were obedient to this and cautious of infecting others by following social distancing procedures. Now that most places have opened up, there seems to be not much difference as everyday life returns to normal. When we take our masks off, we will see other people’s faces again. What it would be like to remove the band-aids over our mouths and noses yielding a healed and healthy society of people. Furthermore, what if being mask-free meant a world culture safe from the Coronavirus, and one with a greater respectfulness for each other in our interactions and speech.  

Note: It is noted that the Coronavirus is real and has caused many deaths worldwide. This article is written from another perspective hoping to present other points such as how well marketed the Coronavirus has been with precautions followed seamlessly by the majority of the population because of the scare. A lack of respectfulness in today’s culture is equally contagious and deadly, which is a natural segue to this current worldwide concern.


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Order To Go

It was thick with beads of sweat hanging off of it, but not too many. The thickness was of ravishing buffalo or cattle that could not escape. The red, wagon wheel and limp, transparent accessories were smashed together with oozing yellow, red, white, and orange all over—a mess of tangy, tongue, tantalizing sauciness—or with the perception of a visual artist, a delightful smattering of mixed colors like paint. A side of salty, soft sticks, still not touched were splattered with red, indicating their fate. 1500 or 2500 is about what it registers, and at the register shift the decimal—food for the palette for the mere price of $2.50.

What a great expense it is, to a person with more beads, not being able to escape the messy tongues and sauciness of the workers who splatter red upon one’s reputation, with thousands influenced, and at such a cheap price.


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The Signs of Communication

With communication today, two extremities of communication exist: self-expression and speaking with discretion. Self-expression, or speaking openly on any topic without much censorship or use of etiquette, is common by most of the population. The second, opposite extreme, is speaking with discretion and saying very little in order to preserve one’s reputation. This is more typical of professionals and anyone of class, although it may not necessarily always the case. How are either of these improving the way we communicate? How are both of these skewing the line of civilized communication?

Self-Expression
The first extreme of communication is self-expression which has become an acceptable way to communicate today for most Americans. Unlike other countries, the United States does not have laws against hate speech. What a person says has no societal limitations in most settings. With this increase in self-expression, and decrease in societal parameters for civilized speech, the majority of the population feels they can say whatever they want—and for the most part they do. There is little thought put into what is said. Rather than considering how what is communicated might hurt or offend another, the priority is placed on voicing opinions without discretion, using uncivilized expressions, and being heard.

In the past, social standards influenced improper communication. In Roman and Greek cultures, speaking was seen as an art which had to be mastered before a person was given the right to speak on a topic. It could take years to master becoming an orator. The aspiring speaker had to first learn the art by studying the writings of philosophers, mastering grammar, and learning how to speak. In more modern times, within the United States, social standards set the acceptability of civilized speech and good etiquette. Even a minor comment could eliminate a person from social circles. Differences of opinion could certainly make for a worthy topic of discussion. However, being cordial was expected at a minimum for more vivacious discussions which could lead to arguments. It was possible for people to be accepted, although they might have differing opinions, and still be valued and respected with human dignity.

Within the last 50 years, there has been a shift to self-expression. The ability to say whatever is on a person’s mind is acceptable whether in person or online. There are hardly any limits to what a person may speak about. Open communication is seen as a way to provide transparency and the “honest story” of any person or situation. While this has many benefits, it crosses a line when dignity is stepped upon and boundaries are crossed. Consideration is necessary before speaking with regards to whom a person is talking to, if the topic is appropriate, and the choice of respectful words which are said for a pleasant conversation. Talking about anything can be very damaging. In fact, much of what people talk about has veered away from “ideas” and “intellectual topics”. Instead, what is more common is digressive speech such as gossip or speaking of topics which are inappropriate, very personal or sensitive in nature, or comments which might advertise the negative rather than focus on the positive. There is no preservation of the human dignity of a person. What needs to be said, is what is said, regardless of how it may hurt or offend the other person.

On social networks, a simple post can flare up into a war of replies within seconds. This trolling is often classified inaccurately as a “discussion” and “freedom of speech”. It would be better described as intolerance for a different view which triggers others chiming in to counter the post with an escalating degree of negativity and close-mindedness. These can occur even on simple posts that may not have any intent to attract opinions, but which result in a soapbox of negative, heated, responses. While self-expression allows for openness and problem solving, it can also open the door for adversity. Communication on digressive topics, and intentionally creating unnecessary conflict are examples of unhealthy communication. Speaking about anything without consideration of another person is rude and uncivilized.

The Power of Silence
The other extreme for communication is to choose to say very little or to remain silent. By speaking cautiously a person is more likely to preserve their good reputation. It also provides safety, by finding no partiality to any party or issue. The person remains politically correct by withholding an opinion. In many spiritual teachings, silence is perceived as golden. By remaining silent, a person can reflect wisdom. Remaining silent, a person does not reveal what they know or do not know. Likewise, by not speaking, there is less of a chance of speaking in an unintelligent manner, speaking offensively, or divulging information which should not be revealed. Remaining silent is also a way to absorb heated conflict, inappropriate speech, and to buy in time to respond with a more thoughtful response.

There is a time and a place to speak. George Washington said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter”.  While we should speak out rather than remain silent on situations of injustice, on political views or ways that may affect our life, saying less, rather than more can be a way which contributes to civility. Voicing an opinion without consideration, can breed hate more than solve problems. This is where uncivilized speech occurs. In today’s culture, it is more likely that the freedom of speech is taken too far through the self-expression of uncivilized conversation. Self-expression can be the ignition of unnecessary conflict just to express an opinion. When freedom of speech is taken to this extreme, responding with silence can help swing the equilibrium of communication, bringing it back to more peaceful speech and civilized communication. Knowing when to speak and when not to speak is important.

Finding the Balance with Human Dignity and Respect
Some social and professional settings still have standards for communication, although uncivilized speech is more popular. Realizing that there is a place for self-expression while maintaining a standard for civilized communication is the challenge which we face today. Many do not recognize digressive communication. Being desensitized by the current standard, hardly anyone today questions inappropriate speech which is on the tongues of most and found in media and by leaders. If culture continues to accept digressive speech, it is a reflection on our country, acceptability for digression and lack of etiquette, and is an insult to the right to the Freedom of Speech which we have. The First Amendment was created for Americans to speak up for freedom and liberties for all. With an acceptability of hate speech and speaking on digressive topics, society is infected with negativity, hate, unacceptability, intolerance for differences, immaturity, a lack of professionalism, and lack of human dignity. It shows an inability to communicate and interact with others. For a country which prides itself on being a melting pot, this is not congruent. Although not everyone will get along, there needs to be a greater degree of respect for differences whether it is race, belief, lifestyle, ability, economic or any other characteristic. Valuing differences and human life needs a higher tolerance and acceptance. Inequality will always exist, but human dignity needs to be upheld. Since the primary problem of unacceptability stems from inappropriate speech, correcting communication that is off-balance can help set society upright to a culture with a civilized standard.


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Words & Phrases: How To Phrase It

How you speak matters, and so does knowing ‘when to chew it’. The Freedom of Speech does not mean it is acceptable to say just anything. Slander, defamation, and verbal abuse are abuse of the freedom of speech and are even a liability for a civil lawsuit. Knowing how to speak properly makes a difference in employment showing good communication skills. Thinking before you speak gives you a chance to form what you have to say in the most positive and polite manner. This infographic and podcast shares information on how to express what you have to say in a civilized way.

Download the Infographic: How-To Think Before You Speak: Words and Phrases

Are you left tongue tied because of rude speech? Are you wondering how to lick the rudeness? Join Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness as host Cheryl Vaca presents the podcast: Tongue Tied: How To Lick the Rudeness by Using Better Etiquette. Identifying offensive ways of speaking in everyday conversations is a way to improve communication with others. Raise the standard for civilized communication by striving to speak respectfully and with good tact. Be Cultured. Be Kind.

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How-To Phrase It: And You Can Quote Me PODCAST


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Tongue Tied: How To Lick the Rudeness by Using Better Etiquette PODCAST

PODCAST SCRIPT

Hi! This is Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness and today is June 24, 2020. Today’s podcast is Tongue Tied and today we’re going to talk about how to lick the rudeness by using better etiquette.

Speaking can really get us in trouble sometimes if we aren’t careful. Using good taste and using good tact is part of civilized communication. There are several types of negative habits that are used when speaking that make conversation unpleasant. There is a good book which we will be discussing later this weekend on June 27 in our online Facebook book club. The book is called 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, What You Say (and don’t say) Will Improve Your Relationships by author, Deborah Smith Pegues. I encourage everyone to join the discussion—so be sure to RSVP online on the Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness Facebook page. The book goes into 30 different negative ways of speaking that we easily can get caught up in. If you would like to have better conversations, you’ll want to take a look at this book as it identifies communication habits which can be offensive and negative. I hope you will join us!

Assess your Own Tongue
Tongue tied as to where to begin to have more pleasant conversations and wondering how to lick the rudeness? Well, the first step is sticking your tongue out for an assessment! Which ways do you communicate which need some work? If you aren’t sure, spend today or this week noticing how you talk to others. Are you complaining? Do you belittle others when you talk? Whether it is being discouraging by speaking with a downbeat tone, speaking as a know-it-all, lying and speaking mis-truths, using manipulation, or other ways of being rude…there are several ways people speak which are not pleasant to listen to or be around. By identifying these, you can resolve how to change how you speak and see how those you interact with enjoy the conversation more.

Identify the Way Others Speak
The second step for improving rudeness in communication is to identify the way others speak which may not be pleasant. Do you have a friend who uses profanity frequently? It can be harsh to listen to and make a person uncomfortable and in some cases even be verbally abusive. What about the person who loves to gossip? Listening to gossip can seem intriguing but it is a negative habit to pick-up and is damaging to the person it is about as well as your own reputation. What about those who lack tact when they speak and talk. They talk about taboo topics which are sexual in nature, lude, racist or discriminatory. These conversations are digressive and it would be more enjoyable if of another caliber—there are so many other more pleasant and respectful things to speak about than “gutter talk”. How do you address people who speak this way? Are situations like this leaving you tongue tied? The best way is to confront the person and let them know. Choose your words carefully, address the person and politely let them know what they are saying is offensive to you. If you don’t let them know, they may not know what they are doing is offensive. There are also times to remain silent. It is easy to get caught up in responding rudely to someone who is rude. The person you are addressing will get the message clearer if you speak simply and with respect rather than getting into a heated argument. If they still don’t stop, then limit your conversation with them to just formality and politeness. There are more enjoyable people to talk to, why spend time where your ears are being battered and where you can be brought down? Spend time listening to people who use their tongue to speak kindly and positively. The result will be a budding relationship in good taste.

There are a number of ways of rude communication in the way people speak about others. Remember the game telephone? You probably played it as a kid. It’s where someone tells someone something and then it is passed from one person to the next until it finally gets to the last person. The last person who reports what was transferred usually ends up with an entirely different message than what the first person said to begin with. It is so easy to twist the message of others to another meaning. Unless you are speaking to the source, you may not have the correct information. Be careful in what you share and be careful in what you hear. If it is personal business sometimes the best call is to not speak about it until you can find the few you can trust.

The gossiping tongue and meddling tongue are probably among the most challenging. Even in the most conservative settings like churches, it is not unusual to find gossipers who will ruin your name and the positive experience of being at church to worship; and it happens in plenty of other settings as well. Gossipers, those who spread information about others, and meddlers, those who want to protrude into the lives of others, are not sensitive to the other person’s life. They are insensitive and hurtful by being disrespectful with their conversations, comments, and prying questions. Even reverse gossip, the gossip of telling people they are trying to stop gossip or forewarning them of a situation, can still be gossip and is something to avoid. An example is when someone says “don’t say this…” but still mentions what the topic is about. Tie it up by standing up for the person who is being talked about. Tie up the conversation and let the person know you are not interested in hearing it and don’t hang around for more.

There are also plenty of people who have “an authoritative voice” which translates to an authoritative sounding tongue. These people, because of the way they communicate, sound like they are the expert and because of the tone of voice they use they can easily command others with what they tell them. They are natural salesmen and what they say does not need much explanation. No one questions their validity for some reason and really it has a lot to do with the fact they have an authoritative tone of voice. As expert con-artists, painting the picture to what they want you to believe, they have the ability to make it sound like you are their best friend who they are sharing important information with, even if you are a stranger. These people can be especially dangerous when it comes to gossip spreading. Anyone will buy their story and do whatever they tell them to spread it on to others, even if it is contorted from the actual truth, or is unnecessary to speak about to begin with.

Also avoid monkeying with monikers. Name-calling which is typical of little children, is not immune to the adult world. This type of juvenile communication exists among adults and is a form of bullying. While a name or phrase to describe someone may seem like a joke, it can be highly offensive. These monikers, or nicknames, can become popular and cause uncontrollable damage once it becomes attached as the new name for the person. It can become a form of public humiliation and shun. We hear these all the time for overweight people, ability, looks, beauty marks or perceived flaws, things that the common population may not agree with and find it a way to shun someone by mockery. It is a beautiful thing that we all were given a name at birth. Nicknames are fine, as long as the person finds it as acceptable. If not, it is offensive and harassment, is a form of targeted hate.

Pray for Your Tongue
The third way to tie up your tongue from speaking in ways which are unkind, is by praying for your tongue and speech. Hold yourself accountable by having a checklist of how you spoke throughout the day and see if you can do better next time. There are plenty of good quotes in the Bible and online which you can use for motivation. Think before you speak and remember to always speak gently, kindly and with charity. Over time you will become more well-spoken.

Follow Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness on Facebook and WordPress and @cultureofkind on Twitter. Be cultured. Be kind.

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Linguistic Linguine: The Multi-Conversationalists

It wasn’t until about 10 years ago when my ears finally clued into the fact that most of the population has the talent to be able to hold multiple conversations at the same time. I cannot do this, and I may never be able to do this. In fact, I am a very strong proponent of having only one conversation at a time and to converse directly with another.

There seems to be two conversational styles which exist and maybe even a third. The first style is being able to intertwine a second conversation within the current conversation. If a person is speaking to another person, they may have another secondary topic they are addressing as they speak. The problem is, you may be very tuned into listening to the primary topic that they are speaking about, and devoting your entire attention to it, that you miss out on the second conversation, or may get it later. This is not much fun for the talented multi-speaker as they may not receive the satisfaction they desire for a response. However, it may be received later by the the one-level-of-conversation-at-a-time listener later in the day or weeks later as they recall what was said.

The second method, of talented conversationalists, is to be able to throw their conversation across the room in a discrete manner. Now I have seen someone who has been able to do this to 4-5 people at the same time. It was my 8-year old niece, in fact, at a Thanksgiving dinner. There is not an age limit to this and I’m not sure how people learn to do this, but it is useful. A person can speak below the volume level of the noise in the room using a normal voice level, or of a just slightly quieter tone, and speak to someone across the room. Ears up, most hear, and can speak back.

The third method is making references to situations or things which the listener must quickly interpret to understand what is trying to be communicated. While puzzles are fun, a person must be very quick to figure out what is meant. If not on the same wavelength, it could be hours later before they know what you were referring to. Some like to give other people “something to munch on” for later. If you are a conversationalist who does this and needs immediate gratification for your cleverness, this may not be the best method for those who need extra time to figure out what you are talking about.

While my ears have started to learn to be able hear better, I would stress that there are people like me out there who are not able to converse this way. If someone is not able to talk or listen in this way, it is always best to speak at the level of communication that can be understood. If a person continues to communicate in a way that cannot be understood, then it defeats the purpose of communication.

It’s how you phrase it.

—Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness


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SAY…WHAT!?! About Speech

Image

If you think Freedom of Speech means the freedom to say anything, think again. Defamation and other speech can be civil offenses. On the 4th of July we celebrate our country’s independence and the freedoms we have as Americans. The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech but how are many turning this into the liberty of hate speech? Learn more about defamation, slander, and effective communication. The content below shares valuable information on communication and the different between good speech and traps that we fall in with our tongue. View the infographic and read or listen to the podcast here!

Download the Infographic: How-To Communication with Etiquette SAY…WHAT!?!

What you says matters and speaking well of others is where winners are at. Join Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness for the podcast: How To Phrase It and You Can Quote Me. This podcast talks about how what you say matters especially when Freedom of Speech is taken too far. Learn ways to improve your relationships and how you speak by listening to the podcasts this month and joining this month’s online book discussions. Reach for a higher standard when it comes to communication. Be Cultured. Be Kind.

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How To Phrase It and You Can Quote Me

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How-To Phrase It and You Can Quote Me


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Swearing Not My Type

Mouth of a sailor. Tide for the mouth. What is your tongue wearing? What are your ears subjected to from others?

People use swear words to “be cool or tough” or indignantly say them out of frustration. It can easily become habit. Why is it that people choose to use crass language and profanity to communicate? It might make a person seem more dangerous if they speak roughly using these unnecessary words. This type of communication may also be used as a form of artillery to attack another person. To bombard another person with unpleasant speech can be a method to alleviate feelings of hate or frustration which are built up. Some involuntary start spewing profanity during heated arguments to try to gain advantage in conflict or out of desperation to express anger.

Speech is a gift. Words used correctly can ring pleasantly in the ears of another to warm their soul. Words which are used correctly in speech can be a way to show respect to another person.

If you are a swearing addict, here are some creative ways to lick bad habits and strive for a new found tongue:

  1. Come up with words to replace the words you typically use.
  2. Instead of using the whole span of your profane vocabulary, choose only use one word for a certain amount of time before eliminating even that word.
  3. Reward yourself when you choose to speak without swearing.
  4. Bite your tongue and do not speak.
  5. Be conscious of sexual topics and other digressive topics in conversation and choose to talk about other things instead.

You will find your relationships improve drastically. People prefer to be around others who speak respectfully. It will also improve your professionalism at work. Additionally you can avoid habits which are easy to form from using profanity and speaking on inappropriate topics.

Choose to be the civilized type. Raise the standard by speaking politely, even amidst conflict. Use good language and make a choice to steer away from using profanity. Respectful speech wins friends and co-workers more than the damage which swearing can cause.

—Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness


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How-To Phrase It: And You Can Quote Me PODCAST

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PODCAST SCRIPT

Hi, this is Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness and today is June 6, 2020. Today’s podcast is: How-To Phrase It: And You Can Quote Me.

As you all know, it’s good to stay current with the latest news, or the “buzz”. And when it comes to knowing what is going on, you want to be the first to know. The top stories from the top sources—or if it is juicy enough, from any source. That’s right. The latest gossip, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. It’s what keeps many going, even at the expense of another person’s life and reputation.

How do you distinguish what is gossip and what isn’t? The trick is knowing the difference between what is proper to talk about and what isn’t. If it is someone’s personal business or a sensitive matter relating to another person, there really is no excuse or positive reason to share it with another. Still unclear of what is acceptable and what isn’t? Here’s an example. Julie is talking to Mary about Joannie’s wedding coming up. She mentioned she is so happy they are getting married. That statement is not gossip as long as it is not a secret that they are getting married. It is a generic statement stating happiness for the couple. If she starts talking about details of Mary’s life, what she is doing, or scorning about why they shouldn’t get married, then that crosses the lines of gossip. Gossip can be on anything. It usually revolves around taboo topics such as sexual topics with regards to another person, financial matters, relationship issues, or medical information. Don’t assume that it is ok to talk about these things with another. It can be very hurtful, especially if it forms the mind of another person or becomes public knowledge. There are several types of gossip. Here are some definitions.

Gossip is the spreading of a truth or unconfirmed fact about someone

If a story is already circulating then it is a rumor. A rumor is a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.

Slander is spreading untrue information about someone to damage their reputation.

If is published in print or online and is a false statement about someone then it is called libel.

And Propaganda is information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

All of these can cause defamation. Defamation of character is damaging the reputation or name of someone which can happen through any of these civil offenses which could be taken to court in a lawsuit. Talking about someone is not a light matter. Taken to an extreme sharing information about another person can severely damage a person’s life even to the point of suicide or murder. And you can quote me on that.

One way to determine whether what someone is sharing is gossip or not, is to check a few key things. Is the person sharing it with the good-will of the person it is about? Is the information necessary? Is the person you are talking to the source? Are they reliable? Why are they sharing the information? Is it for their popularity at the expense of another? How will you benefit from hearing what they are talking about?

If what they are sharing does not meet these or you feel uncomfortable, cut the conversation off and if it continues walk away. Telling the person that the information would not be appreciated by the person it is about,  is one way to indicate that what they are sharing is inappropriate.

How do you prepare yourself for propaganda? It may not be as frequent as gossip, but it is gossip and defamation at a larger level when it targets a specific person. The person’s name doesn’t even need to be named to do damage. Propaganda is a biased opinion which is spread to promote a point of view. In worse cases it can be taken to every retail store, business, public and private venues, and organizations. Many retail stores are easily swayed to use their businesses as a means to support opinions that have absolutely nothing to do with the business. Yet, although this may seem highly illegal, the only way to find justice is by a civil lawsuit, and in many cases it would prove to be a futile effort. For an average person, this type of “gossip” spreading through propaganda can cause discrimination, shut down opportunities for work, cause homelessness, targeted hate, organized crime, hopelessness and more. One would think in huge cases like this, someone would stand up, but as with any gossip or selling of information, it can snowball like an avalanche and gain steam to become the popular voice regardless of the details or meaning behind it. There is something wrong with society when this goes against one individual without means for defense and such damage is done. Business owners and managers of any business should really take a look at what they allow in their business. Significant fines should be placed on them, besides the fact that customers should refuse to shop at stores that do this. The personal social platform should not be at the retail stores. The stores are there to sell the products they have and maintain their brand image. Several stores claim by promoting propaganda from the community it supports their business as they become a hub for the latest update—at the expense of the life of an innocent party. This is a real issue in the DFW area and probably not just in DFW but throughout our country. It is taking Freedom of Speech the wronggg way, and for all those who have participated either on the business end or as customer eagerly wanting the latest morsel of juicy news as they shop, the quote needs to go elsewhere.

Quote me on it, there’s a lot of clean up to be done with the standard in DFW. Besides the news and who’s talking, phrases need to be set aside and highlighted. What phrases do you use when you communicate? We easily can slip into derogatory remarks, discriminatory name calling, or other phrases which can be said and hurt others. Cleaning up the expressions you use can really make a difference in the people who are around you. Why cut people up? Use words of praise frequently and politically correct ways to speak. Discriminatory name calling can often be thought of as racial, but it can be sexual, belief related, intellectual, about social status, or a number of other things. People love to make fun of people for some reason, mostly for popularity and to build their ego, or as a way to control or empower another person. This verbal injury blow is a form of abuse, especially when it is repeated. It is easy for it to catch on with others and suddenly another person is isolated out as a target to be made fun of. You are in control of what you say and you have the power to make a positive impact with your words or to negatively impact someone.

Soap and scrub the dirty words and phrases which are of bathroom humor, sexual humor, racial in nature or other lower standards. Speaking well increases your social standing with those who want to be around you, as well as professionally.

Not everyone sees the damage they cause as much as they seek being cool and their seek own popularity. Instead of speaking and listening to the latest hearsay, why not get to know the target and find the good qualities to speak about instead. It’s better to win friends who may be different than you by taking time to understand them rather than slamming them down with gossip, insults or name calling. Reach for the higher standard by finding acceptability and compromise rather than mocking others to tear them down.

And if you hear any of this, don’t let the cat get your tongue! Speak up and politely correct when you hear comments such as these. Here are some suggestions of ways to stop gossip:

  • Change the subject
  • Say something positive about someone who is the target of the gossip
  • Confront the gossip by pointing it out
  • Point out missing information
  • …and you can also turn gossip into prayers

Just saying—saying it better by speaking well about people is where winners are at. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. But how you phrase it and what you say matters.

And you can quote me.

Interested in improving your relationships in how you speak? You won’t want to miss the podcast Tongue Tied on June 24 which will discuss the importance of speaking well. We also have 2 excellent books selected for our book club this month which give tips on improving your conversations and speaking well. Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness’ book club this month on June 27. The first book discussion will be held at 2pm on Facebook live as we try out the new video Meeting Group for our chat and discuss The Lost Art of Good Conversation A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life By: Sakyong Mipham. Following this at 3pm, we’ll discuss this month’s second book  30 Days to Taming Your Tongue. What you SAY (and DON’T SAY) Will improve your relationships by Deborah Smith Pegues. Be sure to RSVP to join the discussion!

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What Is Considered Rude Speech?

Cutting remarks, profanity, ordering instead of asking, speaking too loudly, being inconsiderate, interrupting, talking over another person not letting them speak, nonverbal communication, not being polite, dumbing down a conversation or speaking above the level of the other person, belittling, calling someone names sexual or nonsexual, mockery—these are all examples of rude speech.

It is easy to be misunderstood when communicating. The English language is fairly complicated filled with words which have multiple meanings, idioms, and slang. If you are not a native speaker, it can be that much more challenging to understand what is being communicated. It is more than just understanding what is being said—the context and meaning of what is being said must be understood and anything implied besides! It is so easy to be rude “in a nice way” and slip in added cuts cleverly to conversations to be caught by the ears in all the unpleasantness which is intended. Misunderstanding can also easily happen, especially if communication is not clear. A person might seem rude without even intending to be, if the message is received the wrong way. Questioning rude speech places the spotlight on the speaker to ask why they might have said something rude. Even if they are not honest, making a call that you were offended is part of self-respect and self-dignity which we have a responsibility to speak up for. When it is communicated there has been an insult made, it brings to the forefront that there is a problem, and sometimes this in itself is enough to discourage further rude speech. The speaker has successfully received the attention they were seeking and may decide to stop or at least think twice next time.

Online communication can equally lead to misunderstandings. What is typed may not exactly convey what is intended. Use of emojis and stickers are a good way to add expression to the message. Abbreviations used in text messages and emails also can lead to misunderstandings which can be taken as rudeness. Always clarify what is not understood. It may not mean what you initially thought.

When a person is rude to you, it is very easy to be caught in the moment to respond back equally with a rude comment in defense. Pausing before responding to carefully choose your words is the best way to be respectful and prevent an uncivil argument. Silently counting, adding a pregnant pause before responding can indicate something inappropriate was said. Sometimes the best method to address rudeness is to wait and come back later. It may be something you can ignore or it may not be as significant as it seemed in the moment. Thoughtless words can be said without intending to hurt someone. Question the individual. Start by giving the person the benefit of the doubt, then ask why the rude speech was made, state what was offensive and make a suggestion of what you would like to hear instead or another suggestion to correct it.

Reach for a higher standard of communication. Don’t fight rude speech with rude speech. Try addressing the issue, try humor, try space, try to raise the culture of their communication by leading by example.

—Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness


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