Controversies are agitations of fear. Someone speaks about a topic and another misunderstands or misrepresents the intended meaning of what they hear. It can lead to hurt feelings or worse, depending on the reactions on either side.
The typical reaction is defense from the cause of the controversy. Whether it is by denouncing the accusations stemming from it or buying into the claims or using it to further an agenda.
But the best response is to first abstain from it. See where it’s going before you decide on a response. Adding fear of the implication to fear of the misstatement can lead to irreparable damage to character, worthwhile relationships, esteem (self or otherwise), and other assets necessary to your forward motion.
Initial absense of your input, though it may seem like an initial retreat can lend you a powerful tool. Observation. Often enough when we interact we miss little details. If you’re an observer rather than participating, you get to see everything from different perspectives. You may even see your own faults in what happened.
And that is one of the more critical reasons for abstaining in the first place.
Be empowered by your own fault in the controversy by stepping forward and admitting what you did, first to yourself and then the other party involved. Just the two sides. Then become an observer again before deciding on your next course of action.
What you may realize during the observation is that you can empower rather than feed the fears or emotion of others who have gotten themselves entangled in something that may have been entirely inadvertent.
If it all works out, you may even find strengths and allies you wouldn’t rightly have if you had rushed headlong into the controversy.