Monday, November 8, 2010

Question of the Week: Speak Up or Shut Up?

Day 184: Speak No EvilImage by amanky via Flickr
Over the past several days I have been writing about dealing with difficult people in my posts Trying to See a Little Bit of Good in Everyone and My Advice: Take Your Lumps.

Have I mentioned that many of my posts are inspired by my daily life?

Right now, I am dealing with a business owner who is convinced they are RIGHT. This person has gone extremes to justify their position. I don't know if this craziness is just sheer arrogance, an overinflated sense of entitlement or just incredibly poor customer service on their part, but clearly they don't care what I have to say.

I feel like I need to defend myself, but all I really want to do is completely and totally ignore them.

Here is the problem: speaking to them and their representative is just getting me no where. Since this is a business matter, I can't really ignore it or just shut up. After all, there are consequences if I don't try to take care of this. So after some brainstorming, I've decided that I need to talk to an attorney.

Another thought: I really want to speak up online and submit my honest reviews of this business to review sites and notify the referral agency of my problems with this business. Problem is this person is going to know these reviews/complaints are from me. Will this make my situation worse? Hence my dilemma: should I speak up or shut up?

All this aggravation and time wasted reminds me of my post My Advice: Pick Your Battles. Unfortunately, reviewing this post just points out that this isn't one of those situations where I can't just walk away.

All this angst in my life has got me wondering how all you decided when to speak up and when to shut up when dealing with difficult people or difficult situations.

For example, you have a friend who has chronic illnesses just like you do. She tells you about this new treatment she is going to try. As she explains it to you, your eyes start rolling and you hear the voice inside your head say 'She is making a big mistake.' Do you speak up or shut up?

Or what about the new doctor who gives you a lecture at your very first visit about all the things you should be doing but you're not. You feel your blood start to boil and steam starts coming out of your ears. Your lips start to open. Do you speak up or shut up?

I'm betting that if you live with chronic illness like I do, especially with the ones that some people doubt or discount, you face this dilemma way more than you'd like.

You know what to do. Join the conversation by leaving a comment here or heading over the the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page and joining the discussion. At the very least, let me know I am not the only one who struggles with this issue.

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Kathleen Hogg said...

I have a chronic condition - aside from Chronic Neuropathic Pain - that is the "can't keep mouth shut syndrome". I have learned to manage it with some coping mechanisms - sort of how I deal with my Chronic Pain.

Here are my thoughts.
1. Is it REALLY going to make a difference - ex: if I complain will it save someone from suffering - then yes I speak up.
2. Will your opinions not make a difference? Ex: friend doing a new therapy - hey it might work for them? Even if it doesn't really work, it might help them mentally in the emotional fight of invisible illness.
3. Will it damage my own situation - with out any result. Telling a medical professional to cram his opinion up the you know where - when all it will do is put an alarm bell on my file, the Dr. won't care anyway and it might piss him/her off when another pain patient comes in - then keep mouth shut.

I will let you know if I those work - I would probably have to put them in practice to find the answer - but the Theory is there!

Jessica said...

As someone who always tends to speak up...I am making a conscious effort to shut up more! I have learned, as you mentioned in your post, that it is better to pick your battles. That said, if what this business has not was unethical or damaging to someone or something in some way...I am all for speaking up! Good luck!

Jessica said...

Oooops...I meant to write..."has done"...

phylor said...

I tend to write out, not speak out. But that's just me. Sometimes I write out a letter/email I never intend to send just to get "stuff" out into the open. From there, I might compose an email or letter to be sent.
If it's something that needs to be said, I write up/practice a dialogue first, just so I can keep my cool, say what I think needs to be said, and remember all the points I want to make.
Saying either you have or will be consulting a lawyer always seems to help. Since there is a lawyer in the family, I feel fine saying that.
Writing the Better Business Bureau is another route. They do investigate when folks complain, and it might get something done.
I would wait to write reviews of the business until the situation is over. I agree that folks should be warned, but you might want to see how far you can get first.
Depending on the situation, you can also consult with your state or federal political representative.
One way to make the situtation public, and let folks know, is to go to the press with the story. Some TV stations (maybe radio too) have "go-to" people who try and resolve issues between clients and businesses, then show the story as a segment of the local news. I've also seen stories of folks who have been mistreated, etc. by businesses/corporpations tell their story on the news.
Just some ideas off the top of my head.
I almost always write a letter of complaint to a company or business if I am really disappointed, upset, or angry. Sometimes I get my money back, a replacement product or nothing.
Good luck with your situation!

phylor said...

PS: the press can include the local newspaper or online community.

Judith Westerfield said...

I tend to stay away from any kind of strife and will enlist another party (like the lawyer you mentioned or MY HUSBAND!) to do the "heavy lifting" if it's an issue that HAS to be addressed. It is too debilitating to me to get angry - I get exhausted, my fibro flares. It's not worth my health.
If it is not a threat to myself, my family, my survival I say a silent prayer asking God to help these people find wisdom and compassion. I know that sounds pollyanna but it helps ME center myself on what's ultimately important to me.

Selena said...

Great points ladies. Thanks for sharing and helping me feel supported.