Have you done business with Curmudgeon and Associates? You recognize the company don’t you? Curmudgeon and his partners are old pros, a powerful lot. When they talk, people listen. If you do not recognize their name, I am sure you have seen their product: they specialize in complaining.
Just what is a “curmudgeon?” According to Webster it is a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person. Curmudgeon has his associates everywhere. The company has gone global. Their mission: To create discontent and foster a complaining spirit among otherwise satisfied and happy people. Their motto: We can make you frown! Their goal: To put a curmudgeon in every business, school and home in the country. If they can disrupt your team, corrupt your camaraderie, or hamper your happiness they have done their job.
Curmudgeon’s associates are crafty. They are thoroughly trained in cut downs, comebacks, sly remarks, gossip, and especially negativism. So what do you do when a curmudgeon has infiltrated your ranks? Read on!
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. (Proverbs 9:7-9 ESV)
When arguing with fools, don’t answer their foolish arguments, or you will become as foolish as they are. When arguing with fools, be sure to answer their foolish arguments, or they will become wise in their own estimation. (Proverbs 26:4,5 NLT)
God says there is a time to stand toe-to-toe, speak up, and set the record straight with Curmudgeon and Associates. There is also a time to remain silent and practice “benign neglect.”
Benign neglect is simply choosing not to speak. When a curmudgeon gripes about the sorry state of the world, ignore it. When a complainer wants to argue a point just to kick up a little dust, choose to change the subject or end the conversation. When someone gets berated for being a hypocrite, don’t try to argue the other side; simply listen, wait for the conversational winds to die down and then set sail for another direction. Sometimes the best words are no words.
FOCAL POINT: The symbol for silence is an index finger to the lips. Try that tactic when dealing with a curmudgeon. Practice benign neglect. Fires die when we don’t fan the flame. Shhhhh! Today, refuse to talk back.
Copyright © 2010 Tommy Kiedis