How to Bite Your Tongue
Do you walk a fine line between asserting yourself and getting yourself fired every day? Have you been told you have no filter? I’m here to help. Here’s how to successfully bite your tongue.
1. Open your mouth to get ready to say something, but don’t.
Maybe your boss just gleefully shared how excited he is for his month-long vacation to Tahiti. Or maybe your best friend just moaned that she’s gained 10 pounds and can’t fit into her wedding dress. They look to you for validation. Your mouth opens, ready to word-vomit and eye-roll at the same time. Resist! Open for dramatic effect, then close.
2. Think carefully about the implications of your next few words.
I know this is hard to hear, but responding with your confession of how your meager pay only allows you to take a vacation to the local Days Inn with a pack of wine coolers might not be the best course of action. Nor would telling your best friend that she should just feel lucky someone is marrying her.
3. Gently press your teeth against your tongue.
Keep your lips closed so that you don’t accidentally hit on the person you’re talking to. Be careful to not bite too hard — you don’t want to go to the hospital.
4. Find something constructive yet noncommittal to say.
Instead of, “You jerk, why didn’t you approve my raise?!” try “Oh, Tahiti! I understand it’s the most populous island of French Polynesia. You’ll have a great time!” Instead of “Well, I gained 15 pounds after Kyle dumped me and you told me to ‘get over it,” try “You’ll look beautiful no matter what. Maybe hit up Planet Smoothie?”
Engage the muscles in your cheeks to pull up the corners of your mouth. Be sure to keep your eyes open and your teeth somewhat contained. Bonus points if you add a little crinkle at the corner of your eyes and give a little shrug of your shoulders or head tilt.
By following these simple tips, you should be able to navigate any awkward social situation without putting your foot in your mouth. And don’t forget to brush your tongue while you’re brushing your teeth. Oral hygiene is very important.
Rachel Wayne is a writer and artist based in Orlando, FL. She earned her master’s in visual anthropology from the University of Florida and runs the production company DreamQuilt. She is an avid aerial dancer and performance artist, and also dabbles in mixed-media. She writes nonfiction stories about herself and other awesome people, as well as essays on feminism, societal violence, mental health, politics, entrepreneurship, and whatever cultural topic strikes her fancy.