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Say The Right Thing!


Find Out How To Avoid Foot-In-The-Mouth Situations

Situation: You Want To Warn A Friend About Her Garlic Breath Or Nasty Body Odor

What To Say: Choose a time when you're alone with her and say: "I have something to tell you that might be embarrassing but as your friend, I feel I have to let you know that you have noticeably bad breath/body odor. What I use for it is ______ . I'm sorry to have to share this but I would hope that you do the same for me."

Situation: You Disagree With Your Mother-In-Law But Do Not Want To Upset Her

What To Say: Respectfully say: "I respect your point of view but must say that I don't fully agree. Can we agree to disagree? I am committed to having a good relationship with you and don't feel it is 100 per cent necessary that we think exactly the same about everything. Do you agree?"

Situation: A Friend Tries To Borrow A Large Sum Of Money. You Want To Reject Him

What To Say: I'm sorry I can't help you. I have personal and professional obligations limiting my current cash flow. I cannot put those that depend on me financially in jeopardy. My lending money to you would be irresponsible given our circumstances. I hope you understand.

Situation: You've Just Heard Your Colleague's Husband (Or Family Member) Has Passed Away

What To Say: Organise an office donation and present it to your colleague. On behalf of yourself or your colleagues, you could say: "My/our deepest sympathies. I know that there are really no words to describe your loss. I'm here for you anytime if you need someone to talk to. If there is any extra work to be handled I'd/we'd be happy to help you out."

Situation: You're At A Posh Dinner And Have To Start A Polite Conversation With The Stranger Beside You

What To Say: Start with "Hi. I'm ______. What's yours? Very nice to meet you." Then discuss the function itself. For example, if it's a charity ball or an elaborate wedding dinner, you can chat about particulars of the event, the people you know, or interests you have in common.

Situation: You Trapped In An Awkward Situation Where You're Expected To Make Small Talk With An Ex-boyfriend With Whom You've Had A Bad Breakup

What To Say: Start by saying: "Haven't seen you in awhile, how have you been?" You can ask questions or make comments about his interests, family or close friends, like "How's your mother?" or "I noticed your team won the FA cup." If you'd rather not speak, let him strike up conversation first. Then keep the focus on him by asking general questions about his life.

Situation: An Acquaintance Remarks Snidely That You Have Put On Weight

What To Say: An acquaintance remarks snidely that you have put on weight. If you're fine with your weight, say: "Interesting you should mention my weight. My friends think I look really healthy. I feel great." If you have weight challenges, say with a smile: "Yes I have put on a little weight. Too much of the good life and celebration! (smile) Actually, I'm slowly retraining myself to eat to live rather than live to eat."

Situation: A Colleague, Whom You're Friends With, Tells You She Is Fired

What To Say: Respond honestly and ask questions about what happened to allow your colleague to vent, such as: "I'm shocked. What happened? Were you given a warning by HR beforehand?" After your colleague has got everything off her chest, encourage her: "Everything happens for a reason. I'm sure a better opportunity will come your way."

Situation: Someone Tries To Cut Queue

What To Say: If you are the only person waiting, politely say: "Excuse me. I was here first. I'm also waiting to be served." If there is a long queue, say "Excuse me. We are all waiting to be served. Kindly take your place at the back."

Situation: You're Seated Across Your Partner At A Function And Notice That He Has Vegetable Lodged In His Teeth

What To Say: Try non-verbal signs first. Put a finger or toothpick against your own teeth, mirroring the location of the lodged vegetable in your partner's tooth. Tap your tooth exactly where the food is and he should get the point. If that doesn't work, excuse yourself from the table as if you were visiting the restroom and SMS him or walk by his chair and tell him discreetly on your way out.

Situation: You Walk Into The Pantry, Right Into Colleagues Who Are Gossiping About You

What To Say: Make your presence felt and say: "Excuse me. I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. Have I done anything to offend any of you? If so, I'm open to discussion and apologise if I've inadvertently done something to upset you. I will gladly take responsibility for my actions.

Situation: Your Child Was Hurt In A Scuffle In School And You're Calling The Perpetuator's Mother To Discuss It

What To Say: Script on paper an idea of what you want to say in advance. This will keep the conversation on track if the other mother gets defensive or upset. Eg, "I'm calling to find out if your son told you about an incident he was involved in at school today? I know all types of things can happen between children but my daughter is quite hurt and I thought you might be able to fill me in on your son's side of the story."

 

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