Finding the right words

Have you ever managed to paint yourself into the proverbial corner because of your words? What did you do while waiting for them “to dry”?

Brand new listener

Many years ago in my high school days working as a peer counselor I have had the fortune to speak with many different people and couples regarding many things in confidence, things that should not be taken lightly or told to others without regard.

This was when I was first starting to get interested in the subjects of emotion, human behavior and psychology so I was eager to get into it and see what made people tick.  I figured by talking with people about their problems, their hopes, their concerns and aspirations I would get a good start to learning and I did, I also learned that some things need to be worded very carefully.

The young couple

There was one particular instance where I was counseling a young couple on their relationship problems which in high school is not exactly easy to do to begin with.

The difficulty was also multiplied by the fact that the young man had slight learning disabilities making it very hard for him to understand certain things and to often times become quite frustrated and angry when he felt he couldn’t understand or when people couldn’t understand him.  In order to get around this I decided to talk one on one with the young lady as well as my peer leaders and faculty to try to come up with a solution.

After nearly a week of speaking to others and deliberating I felt like we had reached a good conclusion and decided to bring the couple in together to try to get some resolution accomplished.

It’s not what you say it’s how you say it

I used to get angry looks a lot

This part will be quite short since I cannot/will not include personal details but I had not been so wrong to judge a person’s actions or the way they would react to my words so wrong up to that point before.  After about fifteen minutes of laying things down in front of the couple the young man’s face starts getting almost beat red, he was angry.  He had taken what I said as a personal attack and blamed the young lady for, in his mind, “talking behind my back” when all she was doing was trying to help.

High School drama but I learned something

As a result of our counseling sessions the young couple ended up breaking up a short time later, then were seen together the next month.  I mean it was high school after all but it did give me that important lesson of choosing the right words.

Understand some people have difficulty hearing criticism (I’m guilty myself at times) and I wish that would change, but until then the only thing we can do is watch how we present our words to others and present them in the best way possible.  Although I always try to speak my mind, you can do it in a brash, often offensive way or you can have tact and turn it into a healthy discussion/debate.

*Personal details were omitted in order to respect everyone’s privacy

Do you think about what to say before you say it?  Or do you let your words flow naturally? Let me know in the comments.


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