Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Chosen Word

It’s fairly simple these days to trip yourself up with online comments. You could comment on how beautiful the blue sky is and someone will undoubtedly accuse you of being a climate change denying rain hater. It’s a wacky world out there online.

Unfortunately, it’s also pretty easy to stick your foot in your mouth out here in the real world. (Not literally – With my level of non-flexibility, I can’t physically get my foot anywhere near my mouth)

Most humans get uncomfortable with periods of silence in a conversation, so we have a tendency to try to fill the void with extra words. Most of the time, those words are not needed, and often, while being well-intentioned and even correct, they can have the opposite effect – torpedoing what you were trying to say.

They say brevity is the soul of wit. It might also be the key to your conversational success.

Now, it’s not to say that some additional words can’t be helpful to you, but you must choose them wisely. For example, with introductions:

Good: This is my boss.

Better: This is my amazing boss.

Wrong: This is my current boss.

While technically correct, it is unhelpful and possibly detrimental to your career.

Good: This is my wife.

Better: This is my beautiful wife.

Wrong: This is my current wife.

Also technically correct, but very unhelpful and possibly detrimental to your health.



Good: You are a strong runner.

Better: You are fast!

Wrong: You’re fast for your age.

Again, while technically correct, it sort of makes it the opposite of a compliment.

Good: Nice haircut.

Better: Ooh, nice haircut. You look fabulous.

Wrong: Nice haircut. Was it inexpensive?

Good: Nice dress.

Better: That dress looks great on you!

Wrong: Nice dress. I hope it was on sale.

Good: Nice car.

Better: Hey, cool car!

Wrong. Nice car. I used to have the same one before I got a job.



Good: Welcome!

Better: Welcome! So glad you made it safe and sound.

Wrong: Hello. How long are you staying?



Good: Hey there. I’m John.

Better: Hey there, I’m John. I’m getting a beer. Can I get you one, too?

Wrong: Would you like a beer? You look alone and sad.


Meeting your date:

Good: You look great.

Better: You look amazing.

Wrong: You look really nice this time.


The wedding:

Good: I do.

Better: I absolutely do!

Wrong: OK, let’s see how it works out.


And finally, marriage:

Good: I love you.

Better: I love you to the moon and back.

Wrong: I love you when you get your clothes all the way into the hamper.

Be safe out there and remember to choose your words wisely!

See you soon,



Copyright © 2024 Marc Schmatjen


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