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Illustration: Jen Troyer

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Most of us know when we’ve been naughty, nice or nincompoops. In fact, if you’re like me, you might be too diligent in this area, scolding yourself for faults or behaviors that are probably harmless.

But what about those times when you’re in the conference room with coworkers or hanging out with friends? If everyone begins to bash your old pal Dana for being cheap, do you remind the table that she’s also the first one to offer to walk anyone’s dog during their vacations? If your supervisor heads the team off the cliff of common sense (e.g., “So from now on, we’ll focus on developing new, improved, wetter water!”) do you speak up or let the project implode? Are you okay with saying to your mommy friends on PTA, “The idea of taking the kindergarten class trip to the outlet mall is appealing, but...”

Just because you’re in a group doesn't mean you’re not you. Sitting quietly and refusing to participate in mass unkindness or ignorance is one option. Standing up and stopping it is another.
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