Saturday, October 31, 2009

Top 10 thoughtless/stupid things people say.

We have all put our foot in our mouths from time to time. Either that or we are so painfully shy that we have no possible way of making that faux pas (side note, this is not pronounced FOO-paws or FOX-paws it's foh-PAH). It's a matter of course that we will embarrass ourselves by what we say, but some people do it more predictably than others. 12 year olds are exceedingly good at it. Some of mine are so memorable, that I can't even bear to list them here and I have to believe that all parties involved are either dead or so far away that I am just a distant memory because the alternative is too horrible.

10. Are you pregnant? - I used to believe that this was under the exclusive purview of men. Women of course had a spiderman like baby-sense that allowed them to know if someone was 'in a family way'. I later found out that this was not the case at all and that women are actually more apt to make this rather embarrassing slip of the tongue than men. There is no recovering from this embarrassment. The best you can say is 'I didn't mean anything by it' But all concerned know the damage is done. Instead of inquiring about future happy news, you are calling that woman a fat cow.

9. Did you get that on sale? - This little number depends really on what you are referring to. If you are looking at a wedding dress, you might want to hold that one back. If you are looking at paver stones for the back yard, go right ahead. Just remember, depending on the perceived value of the item and the thriftiness of the friend, you may just be accusing your buddy of being a cheap so and so, or you are looking like the cheap thus and such. Anyway, it might be a good one to avoid.

8. Sheesh! who died? - Innocent enough and probably well placed in a silent bar. This turn of phrase can be true once in a lifetime and once is enough to leave you embarrassed for a good portion of your life. If people are uncharacteristically quiet in a place they are normally noisy, it might be a good idea to see what is what before you go shooting your mouth off. I've personally been on the shooting end of this one and while I did feel stupid, I was also incredulous at the thought of somehow being blamed for insensitivity for something I didn't know about. For the record, the person in question did not die, they fainted. Big deal someone swoons and i'm a brute. Tell em to take a sick day.

7. You're Lucky!... - This phrase is only said to people that have just run afoul of a personally hard event, but once in a while some bonehead will actually tell you this when something very grave has happened to you. Lets take the former; You get to work 15 minutes late because you have decided that you really didn't need to pay attention to that stop sign and purposefully mistake it as a yield sign and suffered the consequences. The officer has shown you the traffic yellow card and you slouch into work late and mad. You tell a co-worker about your misfortune and this hapless girl or guy says 'You're lucky he didn't get you for ___________ too" Fill blank in with any number of traffic infractions that our debonair member of local law enforcement decided to omit and there you have it. You feel no better and your well meaning colleagues are in fact thoughtless. I've heard this said about death to the bereaved as well. 'Well you're lucky it wasn't a drawn out death' Well aren't we all living a drawn out death? I for one would like to see my own demise drawn out as long as possible. Nobody has ever told anyone they are lucky unless the circumstances of the event clearly show otherwise. You have never heard 'Hey! I won the lottery!', 'Well you're lucky, you could have won 2 million dollars less'

6. Do you want your dessert? - Ah to be 13 again. When the desire for sweets is really not outweighed by anything. OF COURSE nobody want's their dessert. Everyone ELSE is on a diet! Usually this is a problem that will be self solving with the application of a peer group of friends. If you have the right friends, it's a good idea to bow to peer pressure once in a while. Personally I count this along with asking anyone for a piece of candy. You've got your box of milk duds, and your friend says 'can I have some?' You can only get turned down right? Well, lets step this up a few notches. Can I borrow two thousand dollars? I really need it. So now I am put in the uncomfortable position of rejecting you for a request that should NEVER HAVE BEEN ASKED.

5. That's nothing... - Someone tells a lovely anecdote about something that happens in their lives. We as humans are story tellers. Some are better at it than others no doubt, but when someone takes your story and says 'That's nothing, if you want _____, blah blah blah' Simultaneously grinding on the other persons story with their heels and propelling expectations of the coming story to new heights. Usually this happens in the teens as well, but some people never grow out of it.

4. Just for kicks... - There are several similar phrases for this, but it always means the same thing. It is usually said by someone in a position of authority that knows that what they are about to ask for is not popular with the people. So they say 'Just for kicks, lets clean out all of the dumpsters in the parking lot so they don't stink any more' I got news for you, nobody does that for kicks.

3. How much did you pay for that? - This mostly innocuous phrase is fine on small scale items, but on larger items some people just don't wanna talk about it. I personally think it's more a point of information. The problem is, people don't want to tell you not because they don't want you to know, but because they really don't want to know that they spent too much. This is basically an opener to a conversation that will go nowhere. If they offer how much it was worth then they either don't care if they payed too much or they KNOW the deal is the best in town (read: insider deal).

2. How much did they pay you? - People get really dicey about money. especially how much they make. They probably figure that if you ask this, then you will know how much ransom to ask for their dog. Funny thing is, in some places. like the government. Employees pay scale is known to everyone else that works there. This is an interesting phenomenon because it stops favoritism to an extent and it really stomps on anyone asking that question because it just became public information. While I don't think that sharing income information is necessarily bad, I think for the most part people like to play those cards close to the vest.

1. You're really talented - This is an interesting compliment. If you take it for what it is usually intended, you are flattered and say thank you. But lets look at this innocuous comment. a Talent is considered the 'Natural endowment of a person'. They are basically saying you are really lucky and that if THEY had that talent, they could do whatever it is as well. Never mind that you actually practiced and worked at your skill for hours on end for weeks and months and years. Because you are 'Talented'. This actually has it's greatest example in theater. The actors are usually called the 'Talent' everyone else is the crew. This subtle implication is that everyone ELSE actually works and the 'TALENT' was just handed a break for doing nothing more than looking good and lying in front of a camera. I now never say that someone is talented. Instead I say they are excellent. It hits much closer to the point I'm driving at. I realize that nobody intends this phrase in the only way that it really can be taken, but that doesn't stop it being kind of insensitive.

There we are, I'm hoping this bit of cathartic steam letting will stop the voices in my head from replaying 'Marks top 10 most stupid/embarrassing things he said' in the shower. Of course I didn't list most of them here.


Shannon said...

So now the question we all ask ourselves many of these things have we said to you?

Macotar said...

Actually most of these are just turns of different ways that I myself have been insensitive. That being said, when I was asked if I was pregnant, I thought it added insult to injury.