The culture of "slang" in the U.S. has coined a series of idioms that are used frequently because they explain in a few words situations that are sometimes complex to understand. Suffice it to quote hackneyed phrases such as “the corpse in the closet”, “the smoking gun” y “the elephant in the room”.

When we refer to the syndrome of the “spinach in the teeth” We analogize the situation of the diner who unknowingly has a piece of Popeye's favorite food between two of his visible incisors, and nobody says anything to him...

The situation is so explicit that some consultants use it to explain the damage flatterers do to their superiors when they do not warn them of their mistakes; or permissive parents who are “turn a blind eye” before the deficiencies of their children; Or the boss who doesn't warn his salesman about his nasty halitosis problem.

When such a situation occurs in the midst of a group of individuals, an observer of human behavior will be able to distinguish the different types of personalities according to their reactions. If the group is large, our analyst could well run into the prankster who makes fun of the victim; of the indifferent who does not act in any way; the cruel one who enjoys making the victim look ridiculous; and, finally, of the compassionate character discreetly announcing her unfortunate incident to the victim.

For those of us who work in the business world, it is vitally important to know how to apply the teachings derived from the syndrome of “spinach in the teeth”. Our learning, consequently, could be summarized in the following premises:

  • Try to surround yourself with people who always tell you the truth but at the right time.
  • Beware of overly "sincere" individuals - those who are not "nobody's showcase”- because they are usually good people in essence but with a low IQ and, therefore, with little tact.
  • Try to have people around you who do not take it badly when you are the one who warns them that they have traces of a dark-green plant species in their mouth that contrasts with their white teeth.

And it is that, at the “tea time”, for there to be harmony in our social group, the spirit of protecting our own from any contingency that may affect their desire to seek happiness and personal well-being must prevail above all. Group solidarity must imply that individuals are, recalling the phrase that Alexandre Dumas put on the lips of the Three Musketeers, “one for all and all for one…"

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