Five Things to Never Say to People

4 years ago

It never fails. You think you have your day together, you’ve worked yourself up to dealing with hygiene, dressing and maybe on a really good day, making toast. It takes so much just to get your shoes on the right feet. Or find your shoes. Or your feet.

And then it never fails, someone – and you know they’re well-meaning – but someone, someone, opens their mouth and without fail something comes out that upsets your carefully constructed, I-somehow-didn’t-microwave-the-cat balance. And you wish, you really wish, that you had some semi-condescending way to educate them that will help them understand what you really need.

So here it is. The top five things that you should just never say to people.

1. Hello. We know you think that this is relatively harmless, but that’s just because you’re an idiot. What you think of as an innocent salutation is in fact the opening salvo in a verbal back-and-forth that is only going to end when one of us, and it probably won’t be you, dives for a sharpened letter-opener.

2. How are you? It’s amazing how many people really think they’re entitled to get all up in your business, but there it is. You ask, we feel like we have to answer. And if the answer just happens to be, “Facing a court order for mandatory weekly drug-testing,” it’s really not OK to get all judgey and ask that we opt out of the soccer practice car-pool.

3. What did you do this weekend? Don’t. Just…don’t.

4. How is/are the [fill in the blank]? While you may think this is an inoffensive expression of your interest in our lives, the subtext is an expectation that we have meaningful relationships with a partner, children or pets. That presumptuousness hurts. It really hurts.

5.  Beautiful day, isn’t it? Unless you’ve walked a mile in our shoes, you really can’t know what blue skies, stunning fall colors, temperate climates or breezy sunsets might feel like to us, can you?

In a society that so often doesn’t know what to say without starting an avalanche that invariably ends in a bad case of athlete’s tongue, it’s hard to know where we would be without a list of do’s and don’t. Just remember: What you think of as outreach is almost certainly guaranteed to piss someone off. And you wouldn’t want a microwaved cat on your conscience, would you?

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