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John Daly: Know When It Is the Time and Place

We are fortunate, indeed, to live in a country that enjoys the First Amendment. It gives each of us the right to talk about whatever we wish without repercussions.

The other day a friend of mine discussed some of the televised political debates and made the snide remark: “This was America at its best. How sad.”

I retorted with, “Yes, this is America at its best. How wonderful.”

Though I may not believe in all the things that were being said, the fact of the matter is that our soldiers have fought and died for the freedom to be able to say those things. We can talk about whatever we choose.

But, I ask you to consider, however, that there is a time and place for what can and can’t be said. There are times and places where certain things shouldn’t be stated. Unfortunately, many have forgotten or have chosen to ignore those times and places.

For instance, once on the political stage or after gaining fame, a person doesn’t have the right to be an awful person. Let’s face it, once a person puts himself or herself in the public eye, whether for politics or entertainment, they give up a lot of privacy rights.

Because they make their living by being in the public eye, the public wants to invade their personal space, private lives and hang on to their every word and gesture that can, in turn, be appreciated or criticized.

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are being both trashed and defended because of appearance, social media comments, performance at debates and all-round existence. They’ve been accused of being liars, dishonest and a fistful of other transgressions.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was revered one moment for his incredible athletic accomplishments and then immediately trashed because of one photograph where he was holding a bong.

Fortunately, most of us don’t have to hold up under that type of scrutiny. If we did, I doubt that we would fare well. We’ve all made mistakes or missteps. The thing about mistakes, though, is how you learn from them.

When you have knowingly said something to another person that you realize has caused a problem, apologize. But, take it a step further. Recognize that this might have been one of those wrong times or wrong places.

For example, bringing up the fact that bonuses need to get paid the day after your boss’ only child has passed was the wrong time. Or walking up to a grieving widow at a funeral and telling her not to be so sad or to cheer up isn’t the right place.

Then, there’s the person at the pool sitting next to a woman under an umbrella. The person turned to the woman who is covered with a long-sleeve T-shirt under the umbrella and says “What’s wrong with you? Get out from under the shade and enjoy the sun! Take a chance! You’re probably vitamin D deficient!” The woman under the umbrella looked the other person in the eye for a moment and then reported, “I am a melanoma survivor.”

Those are definitely “wrong-time, wrong-place” comments.

So, just because people of fame or notoriety act inappropriately, please don’t think that gives you license to do so.

And, don’t forget to apologize when you do make that mistake. Always own your mistakes. It makes you a far better person.

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the keys to life skills success. Click to learn more about The Key Class. John’s new book, 74 Key Life Skills for a Happy, Successful Life, is available on Amazon. Click here to receive a FREE eBook copy of The Key Class. Do you have a question about business or social etiquette? Ask John at [email protected]. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook and follow John on Twitter @johnjdalyjr. The opinions expressed are his own.

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