‘It’s better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you’re stupid, than to open it and prove it. ‘
Wise words from my Daddy.
‘True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know’ – Confucius. Oh my dear Confucius, a man who had his shit together.
The point is clear. As a global citizen, wanderer or explorer you will come into contact with many people who have many experiences. With any interaction, from an ambassador to a souq seller, it pays to be aware of what you do not know.
Ask questions, be intrigued, learn from others and know when to keep your mouth shut. It’s not wise to correct a Malteser on their islands history, instruct a Londoner on transport routes or inflict a controversial religious view on people of a theocratic state.
People will generally know more than you about their country, profession/degree or surrounding. Even if they don’t, they do not want to hear about it from you.
When to express a strong opinion: preferably never.
Topics to avoid include but are not limited to:
- Money – any confusion on this topic may be resolved by our article: How Much Did That Cost? 5 Rules Regarding the Discussion of Money.
- Personal hygiene, this should not require an explanation.
- Drugs, because none of us are nineties models.
- Politics. A particular topic may be gently brought into conversation but it is never ok to directly ask anyone, your family included, about their personal political agenda. If introducing a topic, tread carefully, obviously avoid abortion.
- Age, unless asking parents about their children.
- Religion: watch wars start and relationships crumble. Best to stay quiet.
Common sense is not quite so common. Ditch being crass, like that MK watch, and choose to be chic.
When unsure or in strong disagreement I smile, nod knowingly and do my best not to offend…
Because I’m Just Not That Way.