How can a person refrain from speaking lashon hara without becoming a social outcast?
It means, this person thinks in order to be a me’urav bein habri’yos, to be acceptable to people, he has to speak lashon hara. But it’s not true; on the contrary he’ll be more acceptable when people see that he guards his tongue against criticism. When people see that you don’t belittle anybody, people will like you for that.
You should know, that a man who shows good character, or a woman who shows good character, is well liked. If a woman sits on the telephone and is catty and talks against people, so all of the other parties may be polite to her, but they’re thinking, “What a nasty person she is.” Therefore, middos tovosalways pay off; good character pays off. So the question is entirely out of place. By refraining from lashon hara you become socially acceptable and popular, and people will love you.
Of course, if you’ll keep your mouth shut when you should say kind words, then of course you’re not me’urav bein habri’yos. When people are in distress, you should say a few kind words. You should encourage somebody, even if they didn’t ask you for it. People need encouragement and therefore kind words always are in place.
And so, silence is required sometimes when there’s a peril that you might be saying the wrong thing, but when the right thing is required, good words are certainly rewarded by Hakodosh Boruch Hu. Like it says: הנותן פרוטה לעני מתברך בשש ברכות, והמפייסו בדברים מתברך בי”א ברכות – When you give a coin to a poor person you receive six blessings from Hashem, but if you encourage him with words you receive eleven blessings.
And so, if keep your mouth closed and avoid lashon hara and criticism, people will love you – you won’t become an outcast. And if you open your mouth only for good things, you’re even better off.
TAPE # 600