Maxim Monday - 88 - Tell When You Know

Λεγε ειδως

Approximate (phonetic) transliterationLege eidos
Typical translationTell When You Know

To me, "tell when you know" means to not spread news that may possibly not be true. This means not to spread rumors that you don't know to be absolutely true and research before you speak.

Don't Spread Unfounded Rumors

Edward Scissorhands Housewives
Edward Scissorhands Housewives

This Maxim doesn't say not to gossip, but not to spread rumors that you don't actually know for a fact to be true. (Although Maxim 82 is "restrain the tongue," which includes gossip.)

If you hear a rumor from friends or around the office, it is worth talking to the people involved before commenting about it. If you hear something about a friend, talk to that friend. Don't tell everyone else first. It might not be true, and you would only be making it more difficult for that friend to dispel the rumor.

In Edward Scissorhands, the housewives did nothing but spread rumors around the town. A simple thought or theory that was said during a conversation became a twisted fact in a manner of hours. Rather than verify anything with the family that Edward was living with, the rumors continued to grow, and the town filled itself with hatred. Eventually, Edward was chased out of town by the very people he was helping all because of rumors and gossip. In the end, the housewives only hurt themselves.

Research Before You Speak

Jump To Conclusions Mat
Jump To Conclusions Mat

This is for your own benefit more than for others. Jumping to conclusions is never a good idea.

Personally, I don't think I jump to conclusions very often, but I seem like I do at work. It's difficult for me not to. As a firmware engineer, I need to do a lot of debugging. The people above me in the company want to know how something broke. I say what I'm currently looking into, and later I sometimes find the problem to be something else. At the next status meeting (there are more than four per week), I'll say what really happened, and it's always followed by, "I thought you said..."

I always look like an idiot because of it. I want to just tell when I know.