Speak up or Stand Up: Your Voice Matters

Last night 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 sports 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) said some rude and inappropriate 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 did. Situation resolved. But as the female student apologized to the group, I reminded her she did he 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’ve been thinking about last night all day, and here is what to consider:

Speak up.

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 this hanging in my office and read it every day. It helps guide my thinking to me more purposefully thoughtful toward 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 isn’t uncommon and 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.

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