Don’t always “say what you wanna say”


Even good advice can end badly, if it’s taken to the extreme.

Sara Bareilles’ recent single, Brave, encourages people to “be brave” and to “say what you wanna say.” Both statements offer good advice… for some people, in some situations. But sometimes it goes too far. For example:


So should you always say what you wanna say?

This is an intentionally exaggerated and funny example from Saturday Night Live, but it does help show why the answer to the question is nope.

Instead, you have to balance when to share your thought, and when to hold your thought. (Check out this post for more on this Balance Challenge.)

share thought-hold thought

There are situations when it will be helpful to say what you wanna say, or share your thought. If you have information that someone might be physically harmed, that is in most cases a time to lean toward sharing that thought.

But this advice—say what you wanna say—is not good advice in some contexts. For example:

  • If you have a strongly negative reaction to a classmate’s idea and just feel like letting it be known. That can be received as hurtful and unhelpful.
    • For folks who are already quite outspoken, it would be better to not share every thought that comes to mind – people may get tired of hearing from them and stop really listening.

In these cases it’s helpful to lean toward holding your thought.

Of course you can technically share that thought, in that you’re “allowed” to, it being a free country and all. But it will likely result in an outcome you and others around you won’t be happy with.

That’s what The Balance Challenge is all about: helping folks think through social decisions so that the end result of the choices you make work well for you and the people you’re with.

…and not like this:



Quick caveat: To be fair, the SNL skit is partially commentary on gender expectations and challenges stereotypes of women who speak up for themselves. But as these satirical examples prove, anyone can take anything too far

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