Tuesday, October 13, 2015

To Refrain From Speaking of Myself Unless Asked

"Speak as little as possible about yourself."
William Wilberforce

Our culture is steeped in social media venues which constantly encourage us to speak about ourselves.  We can barely imagine a society where it would be considered impolite to volunteer information about our current "personal status."  In a world where seemingly everyone is self-broadcasting, most have forgotten what was once a firm rule in polite society:  Do not speak of yourself unless asked.

A vital part of a mindset distinctly focused on others instead of self, this attribute distinguishes a lady from other women.  When consistently practiced, this gracious self-restraint will always be endearing and charming in a self-absorbed world. 

Principle:  A lady does not volunteer information about herself, but only speaks of herself when asked.


Art:  Young Women Talking, Renoir, 1878

10 comments:

  1. When I am diligent in practicing this, I find that I speak very little in conversations because it's rare for a person to ask...they are too busy speaking themselves!

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    1. How true, Jill! It takes TWO well-mannered people to make a balanced conversation. Living life as a lady is at times lonesome.

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  2. Sadly, that is very often the case. People don't generally ask as it is assumed that we all share the need to constantly spill the contents of our handbags. Despite this sad state, I still wholeheartedly agree with the post. I believe others should earn the right to know your most personal details, as the mark of true friendship. In turn, I do not enjoy having the personal details of others foisted upon me unbidden. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one.

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    1. Very insightful, sem. One of the great ironies of life is that those with the most worthwhile to say often speak the least!

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  3. Dear Nancy:
    Hello! I just found your blog today and I just love it. I will be visiting your blog on a regular basis and sharing your posts with my best friend who doesn't have a computer. Thank you for your time and diligence in sharing your insights with us.
    Warm regards,
    Mrs. B

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  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to express your kind thoughts, Mrs. B! They are a tremendous encouragement to me.

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  5. Hello, Nancy! Thank you for your work.

    As for me, this is not what I struggle the most.
    I don't know how to answer questions I feel uncomfortable with. Also, there are times when in company of friends we sit without the topic to discuss. It seems boring to me, that is why I kind of "rescue" the situation and start talking when I'd like to remain silent...

    Do you have any posts regarding my problems?

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  6. Hello, AHHa! Thank you for sharing this question. I will do my best to address this very soon in an upcoming post!

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    1. This is an issue I'd like addressed as well.

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  7. A Lady's Code,

    If I may add…

    When a lady friend and I happen upon meeting a new acquaintance, we view how much she gives. Meaning carefully observing on how she speaks. If she is giving she gives pause, and asks questions. However, if careless, she careens on a path of self destruction on too much information, and my friend and I cannot regard her seriously, but as only an acquaintance which will never be moved into a circle of “friendship” no matter how many times in which we may meet. This antidote has never failed when it comes to acquiring new "friendships".

    Ms. Nancy you are very correct in messaging us as it can be a lonely life, but because of your blog it is good to know we are not alone.

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