How to Control a Loose Tongue: 15 Steps (With Pictures)

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How to Control a Loose Tongue: 15 Steps (With Pictures)
How to Control a Loose Tongue: 15 Steps (With Pictures)

You may be in the habit of saying everything you can think of and make others angry or hurt their feelings without even intending to do so. Perhaps the problem is not your loose tongue but that of someone else you know and care about. Regardless of whether it is you or someone else who has to control what you say, you can help control a loose tongue by learning to think about what is said and the impact it has.


Part 1 of 4: Learn Verbal Control

Tame a Wild Tongue Step 1
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 1

Step 1. Calm down

In some cases, people tend to screw up when they get nervous. In fact, research shows that you are more likely to verbally screw up when you're already in an extremely stressful situation. So you can help control your loose tongue by calming yourself down.

  • If your nerves are causing you to say things that you later regret, you can take several deep breaths to help calm you down.
  • Visualize that the meeting goes well. Imagine how calm you will be and the control you will have over yourself and your tongue.
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 2
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 2

Step 2. Take a few seconds

Before speaking, pause for 10 seconds. This way, you will have time to consider whether what you are going to say is a good idea. If you still think it's a good idea after these 10 seconds have passed, you can proceed. Also, if you pause, the conversation can continue without your comment, making a rude comment possibly irrelevant by then.

  • In some cases, someone will be waiting for you to respond, so a 10-second pause could be awkward. Therefore, you should consider your words for at least 3 seconds before responding.
  • Use this time to think of something more appropriate that you could say instead.
  • Don't forget to also pause for 10 seconds before posting, commenting, or replying to something online. Be careful not to post something that you may regret later.
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 3
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 3

Step 3. Consider the consequences

Take a moment to consider how your words might affect the other person and the situation in general. Use your empathy and ask yourself the following questions: "How would I feel if someone said that to me?", "How is this comment likely to make the other person feel?" One way to learn to keep your words to yourself is by realizing the shame and damage they could cause.

  • Don't forget that words can hurt. People will remember the way you made them feel, even if they forgive you. They may not say anything at the moment, but your relationship with them could be damaged.
  • Do you really want to upset that person? And, if so, why? Hurting a person with your words, even if it made you angry, is not the best way to approach the situation, but it could actually escalate the problem.
  • Negativity begets more negativity. You won't gain anything by complaining or taking someone down.
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 4
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 4

Step 4. Think about it, but don't say it

At some point, everyone has had some negative or mean thought about someone or about some situation, which is natural, since one can think what you want. This only becomes a problem when you turn your thoughts into words that hurt others. Think what you want, but only say what is appropriate to help you control your tongue.

  • Stick to the advice "If you don't have anything nice to say, you'd better not say anything."
  • In case you can't think of anything positive to say, you can just smile politely, nod, and subtly change the subject.
  • For example, if a friend tells you that she had a makeover and you can't think of anything else than to tell her that the one who looks like a clown, don't do it. Instead, you should smile, nod, and say something like "What made you change your image?"

Part 2 of 4: Repair Damage After an Incident

Tame a Wild Tongue Step 5
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 5

Step 1. Acknowledge what you have said

You must admit that you said something impertinent, even if you only admit it to yourself. Avoid just downplaying it and moving on. The first step in repairing the damage caused by your loose tongue is admitting that you shouldn't have said what you said.

  • Consider what triggered those words and what you could have done differently.
  • For example, you might think, "Wow, his attitude really pissed me off. I got defensive and exploded. I could have calmed down before I answered him."
  • Avoid waiting for someone else to correct you. For the most part, people tend to know if their comment goes out of line before someone mentions it to them. You must take responsibility yourself for your words.
  • You could say "I didn't mean for what I just said to sound so harsh" to admit that you were wrong.
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 6
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 6

Step 2. Apologize immediately

In case you know or even think that you made an offensive, rude, or hurtful comment, you should sincerely apologize as soon as possible. If you do it then, it will mean more to those you have offended than if you do it later.

  • Acknowledge what you said and immediately say something like, "I'm sorry. That was out of line. I'm working to control my tongue, but what I told you is without excuse. I'll do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again."
  • It may be more appropriate to put the person aside and apologize privately, although this will depend on what you said and the context. If you do, you will also have the opportunity to explain a bit more what you said and why, as well as explain that you are working to control your tongue.
  • In case you have made the comment online to a specific person, you should delete it if possible and send them a private message in which you apologize for your words.
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 7
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 7

Step 3. Apologize in public if necessary

For situations where your words have affected more than one person or many people have found out what you said, you may need to make a public apology. In this way, you will not only repair the damage you have done to those people with your words but also receive a lesson in humility, which helps control your loose tongue.

  • For example, if you have made a rude comment to a group of people, you should address your apologies to the entire group rather than to each person.
  • For offensive comments online, it's appropriate to make a public apology, especially if you know that multiple people saw your comment.
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 8
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 8

Step 4. Move on after the incident

As the old saying goes, what's done is done. Take the time to sincerely apologize, think about what you said and why, how you might behave differently in the future, and then move on. Reflecting on the incident, apologizing, and then following through on what you've learned from the situation can help you control your tongue in similar circumstances in the future.

  • Set a goal to do better next time. You should plan to reset the 10-second pause before commenting until you feel like you've improved in evaluating your audience.
  • For a time, make an effort to be particularly careful what you say in the presence of the person in question or in similar situations.

Part 3 of 4: Consider the Effects

Tame a Wild Tongue Step 9
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 9

Step 1. Protect your job

Unleashing your tongue and profanity at work could result in earning you a formal reprimand or even getting fired. Before saying anything inappropriate that comes to mind, you should think about your professional future.

  • When providing feedback, don't forget to insert a criticism between two positive comments (eg, "You clearly tried a lot on this and it would be even better if we add a little more here. With this addition, we would demonstrate the excellent possibilities you mentioned. previously").
  • Be careful to pause for 10 seconds during meetings or other group discussions.
  • Avoid letting your guard down in the break room and letting the casual setting unleash your tongue. Don't gossip, talk bad about others, say obscenities, etc., since you are still at work.
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 10
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 10

Step 2. Maintain your reputation

According to certain studies, people who frequently use obscenities, insults and sarcasm when speaking are considered less intelligent, mature and capable of handling stressful situations. You need to consider what reputation you want to have and make sure you don't let your loose tongue get in the way. Speak in a way that shows your intelligence, maturity, and problem-solving skills.

Tame a Wild Tongue Step 11
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 11

Step 3. Consider your relationships

In some cases, the things you say when you unleash your tongue could upset your loved ones or make your partner question whether they want to stay in a relationship with you. You can help yourself control your tongue by considering the effects of your words and the fact that you could jeopardize your relationships.

  • For example, do your harsh words and tone make your partner feel like you don't respect or care?
  • Have your relatives told you that you say things that hurt their feelings?
  • In case you are not sure, you can ask your loved ones if your loose tongue affects them and in what way.

Part 4 of 4: Make Long-Term Changes

Tame a Wild Tongue Step 12
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 12

Step 1. Consider your motivations

You can help you control your tongue by determining when and why it will come off and by recognizing the situations in which it is likely to occur. Consider why saying something rude or mean is your first reaction and whether your tongue looses in certain situations or in the presence of certain people.

  • Is this a natural reaction for you? Is it simply that you are not good at communicating? Is it something you've always struggled with?
  • Does your tongue loosen if you are in the presence of one or more particular people? For example, do you have an annoying colleague who makes you want to scold him at all times?
  • What you want is attention? Have you realized that this is a way to get others to pay attention to you, for better or for worse?
  • Does it happen more often if you are nervous, stressed, or defensive? For example, do you screw up when you're in an awkward situation or in a bind?
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 13
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 13

Step 2. Limit your consumption of alcohol and other substances that reduce inhibitions

Sometimes we can say things that we regret due to disinhibition caused by alcohol. You must take into account if this constitutes a factor that loosen your tongue. If this is the case, you should limit your consumption or avoid it altogether when you find yourself in situations where your tongue worries you.

For example, if you know that alcohol lowers your inhibitions enough for you to say something that you later regret, it might be best to only have one drink at your company party or not drink at all. This will prevent you from having to worry about saying something that could offend your boss or get you fired

Tame a Wild Tongue Step 14
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 14

Step 3. Become a listener

In many cases, people who continually offend others spend a lot of time talking and little listening. To control your loose tongue, you can make a conscious decision to actually listen when someone is speaking and not think about what you can respond to.

  • If you listen to the other person, you may get some clue as to what might be sensitive topics that you should avoid.
  • Instead of answering, you could ask the person an open-ended question, such as "So what did you do?" or "How do you feel about it?"
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 15
Tame a Wild Tongue Step 15

Step 4. Avoid sensitive topics

If you are talking to someone who is not part of a tight circle, avoid talking about finances, race, romance, religion, politics, etc., as these topics are closely related to people's beliefs and values. Your loose tongue may make people angry and greatly offend them.

  • If other people are talking about these topics, just stay out of the conversation. If possible, you can change the subject to a more secure one.
  • If it is imperative that you make a comment, do not forget to pause for 10 seconds to think about what you are going to say and its possible impact.
  • Remember that if you say something jokingly or sarcastically, it could be interpreted as a discriminatory comment.

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