The Art of Knowing When to Shut Up

My Mom taught me that it is an art to knowing when to talk, and when to shut up. When I was younger I didn’t understand the importance of knowing the difference. In my adult life, I understand completely.

My significant other has artistic qualities so my half-painted three-toned bedroom grates on his last nerve. Not being able to stand it anymore he suggested we paint it. I tried to explain that, due to the size of the room, painting it is a challenge because there isn’t a place to put the furniture that is in the room. In the room there are:

  • Two standard size beds pushed together.
  • Three desks, one of them an extra large corner desk.
  • A full size dresser (10 drawer) with a full size mirror.
  • A matching chest.
  • A matching make-up table.
  • A sofa
  • Entertainment center
  • Various “things” around the edges of the room (like three monitors)

I can still ride a bike in the room. It’s not cluttered, just “filled”. Logically, one would think you could just push everything into the middle of the room but it is too much furniture, so it becomes a nightmare. I tried to explain this to him and I remembered the art of shutting up.

I dutifully went to Home Depot with him, picked up some paint (which I’m almost positive I have a similar color already but oh well), came back to the house, and watched his joy at finally being able to tackle my multi-colored room. One last time I tried to tell him about the furniture and he told me he had it all under control. Thinking I will become the master of shutting up, I asked if there was anything I could do? He said no, with such a satisfied smile on his face. I kissed him goodbye and went downstairs to cook.

And wait.

It didn’t take long. He came downstairs and I smiled. Eventually he said he understood what I meant. The pieces of furniture in that room are so large they can’t be put in another room. If you try to paint while keeping the furniture in the room it’s a pain of having to paint small sections, let it dry, and move big heavy pieces of furniture (for example, have to take the 10 drawers out of the dresser before moving because it’s a nice solid (big) dresser). Which he is going to do, but it is going to take much longer than he expected (and that is why the room is multi-colored to begin with). Then he realized he’s going to have to go back to Home Depot because there is a 2nd mural underneath four layers of wallpaper that need to be scraped (I had nothing to do with the mural or the wallpaper being on the walls but I bumped into that problem on another side of the room about 4 years earlier LOL).

My point is that he had to come to this realization on his own. I could have continued to try to explain it, to the point of perhaps arguing (because I knew I was right) but sometimes, it’s easier to let a person come into the knowledge at their own pace. In this case it was only an hour or so. For some things it can be months or years but realistically, some things cannot be rushed.

When I tell people about their blogs sometimes they can see where I am I coming from, sometimes they can’t. If I can’t properly navigate around their site that’s a problem, one that can be easily fixed. It’s up to them to step out of the “I love my blog” zone and see how a reader would be going through their site. If their multi-colored site is blinding to the eye, again…it’s great they like it but how would a reader feel about it? I’m not saying one should sacrifice what they like or enjoy on their blog BUT don’t complain about not having traffic. For every action there is a consequence. If someone brings up constructive criticism about your blog/project, look at it realistically. And for the person giving the criticism realize the person has to make their own decisions in their own time.

And it makes the process easier knowing the art of shutting up.