One of the types of facebook posts I hate the most are those which begin “12 things you should never say to a….”
You see them all the time. Things you should never say to a single mother. Things you should never say to a pregnant woman. Things you should never say to a woman with children. Things you should never say to your waiter. And so on.
I just saw one with “What you should never say to a grieving person.” I’m sure all of these are well intentioned, but what kind of a world would we be living in if everybody actually memorized these lists and took them to heart? It’s hard enough thinking of what TO say without mentally going through a checklist and by the time you are done, the person has walked away from you and every chance for conversation is gone.
For instance, guys trying to think of the perfect pickup line, ( ’12 things to never say to a girl you want to get with’) and they can’t come up with anything that doesn’t violate one of the codes will fail, and some jerk will walk up and say the first damn stupid thing that comes into his head, and there they go.
In the case of the grieving person, there are some obvious things you shouldn’t say. You don’t stand over the open casket and say “I never liked him much anyway,” for instance, or “He owed me 50 bucks.” But the main thing, in this case, isn’t what you say, it’s just being there.
That’s true of a lot of them. It isn’t what you say that counts. It’s whether you say something or say nothing. It’s tone of voice. It’s purity of intent, rather than correct choice of words.
So, try to love everybody and talk nicely to them, just make that an embedded part of your personality, and you can say whatever the fuck you want.