Speak Up or Stand Up
A few months ago, I went to a late dinner with a group of college students as part of my volunteer work weekend. As we were sitting down at the restaurant, one of the female students leaned over and whispered, “Well that’s uncomfortable.”
I asked her to tell me more about her statement, and it turns out that a guy (not part of our group or part of the event) said some rude, inappropriate, and pretty loud comments to his buddy about the student.
At that moment, I had a decision to make. I asked our group to stand up, got our severs attention, and told her we needed to switch tables and move into another area of the restaurant – far away from our current table.
We moved. Situation resolved.
But, as the female student apologized to the group, I reminded her she did she right thing. She spoke up. Even though her voice was a whisper. She spoke up.
And, I did what I could. I stood up (literally this time). And it made a difference.
I still think about this situation regularly, and here is what to consider:
If something has happened to you. It’s not your fault. You have nothing to be sorry for. It’s not your fault.
I encourage you to speak up (even if it’s a whisper) and share your situation and your story. You are not alone, and you deserve to have the support you need.
Do what you can for others.
I’ve thought about this the most: it wasn’t an option for me to do nothing. And, I most certainly couldn’t ignore the situation. With the small piece of trust that the whisper provided, I knew I needed to use my voice to support her and resolve the situation.
I have a quote by John Wesley hanging in my office, and I look at it every day. It reads, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
It helps guide my thinking and my actions to make me more purposefully thoughtful and helpful to others.
Remember, friends are on your side and want to help you.
When the rest of the group found out why we were moving tables, they each said, “If I’d known, of course I would have helped you,” or “I’m glad we’re moving,” and “That guy was a jerk!” For them it was easy to reassure and support their friend. And once we moved, the student was back to her bubbly, energetic self. We had a great dinner and a great evening.
This situation unfortunately isn’t uncommon but thankfully, it wasn’t severe. But our reaction was important. I hope when you are presented with the opportunity, you can resolve your situation as well as my group did. And I hope someday, we are finally in a place where we never have to resolve situations like this again.