If you think twice before speaking once, you will speak twice the better for it. - William Penn
The idea of choosing your words carefully sounds easy enough, but how many times do you end up with your foot in your mouth? Everyone can probably recall a situation where someone offended them by saying something rude or out of line. These comments are not only embarrassing, but they can also damage relationships.... If you say the wrong thing in front of others, chances are that people will remember it. Wouldn't you prefer to be remembered for something more positive? Once you have said something out loud it cannot be taken back, and rarely can it be undone even with a tremendous amount of work." (from www.sparkpeople.com healthy reflections)
This advice is great to remember, especially for spur of the moment conversations- for example: a colleague has drops in unexpectedly and starts complaining about the boss or another colleague. The temptation may be to join in the complaining as a form of sympathy or support. Before you know it Complainer number 1 talks to another colleague and attributes the complaint to you or says that you support his/her complaints. All of a sudden this gets back to the boss and you're in the middle of it.
What do you want to put out into the world? Positive energy or negative? So what do you do when temptation comes knocking? When someone else brings it to you, how can you stop the flow?
Take a step back, mentally & physically out of the complainer's energy space.
Firmly ground yourself with a few deep breaths.
Tell yourself silently, "This is not about me."
Ask yourself,"Is this what I want to be remembered for?"
Remember: There are no do-overs. Once it leaves your lips, someone will remember.
Say to the complainer, "I hear your frustration. Have you spoken to __ about this? (direct them back to the source of their venting).
If you feel strong enough, say "I cannot be party to this negative energy, but I'd be happy to keep your highest and best in mind for a positive resolution."
So think twice, speak once.