In Buddhism, there is a thing called 'Right Speech.' It's not 'right' as in correct, but 'right' as in skilful. And it's not a commandment but a suggested course of action. Since one of my greatest talents is my ability to put my foot in my mouth, I find it a useful skill to practice.
So here are some guidelines:
Refrain from lyingRefrain from slanderingRefrain from gross, cruel, vulgar or rude speechAnd refrain from speaking just to pass time - idle speech.
There are masses of teachings about this, but they all pretty much boil down to this:
Is it kind?Is it necessary?Is it true?Will it improve on the silence?
I love the last one. It forces us to change perspective from speaker to listener.
Yet, it's a good thing they are guidelines. I still listen to gossip at times, I still speak impatiently, I still use hyperbole when I want to get a point across, I certainly say swear words. I will never be perfect, so I focus on awareness instead.
When I catch myself speaking in a way that goes against these guidelines, I can work with it. I can see my motivations, mental habits, the emotions I'm trying to avoid. It's useful, and since I'm curious by nature, fun, to unearth new insights. And I can laugh at myself when I put my foot in my mouth again.