Call it a pet peeve, call it an irritant, but whatever you call it, there are things said that make me grit my teeth or grimace or want to gently, but firmly, thump the person speaking to me on the head.
Let’s make a deal. I won’t say the following to you if you won’t say them to me. Actually, let’s just not say them to anyone. Here are five things, in my opinion, you simply shouldn’t say.
1. ‘You don’t remember me, do you?’ Or ‘Do you remember me?’
The older I get the more irritating I find this question. Unless you can blurt out their name, which happens once every 200 times you’re asked, you’re the one that’s uncomfortable not knowing their name when it should be the one asking the rude question. I used to stammer and stutter and take all the blame for not remembering even though half the time I’d swear I’d never seen the person before in my life. Besides, at this age I can’t remember some of my good friends’ names. Now I just look the questioner right in the eye and say, “No, I don’t. Where did we meet?” I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I’ve lived here all my life and that’s a lot of people to remember.
2. ‘You look tired.’
People who say this are probably trying to express they’re concerned you’re not getting enough sleep. If you’re tired, you probably know you look tired, and being told you look tired will make you feel tired whether you are or not. This brings us to the next unwelcome statement.
3. ‘I am so tired.’
Everyone gets tired. If everyone who is tired said so, we’d start every conversation by saying “I’m tired” in unison. If you think about how tired you are, you’re more tired. If you talk about how tired you are, you’ll soon cross into exhaustion. Teenagers are always tired. They need more sleep than an adult but can’t bear to turn their phones off, which adds to their sleep deprivation. First thing texted in the morning: “I’m tired.” Regardless of your age, don’t say it, don’t think it, don’t text or tweet it.
4. ‘I’m bored.’
What? Bored? Can you even remember the last time you were bored? If you’re bored once a day you need to work on this. Read more books, get outside, write, paint, volunteer or do anything that is legal and brings you joy. Chances are when you’re bored, you’re boring. If you’re either, don’t say so, do something about it. My husband says he thinks the statement is self-centered. “It gives you the feeling they have an expectation of you to do something about their boredom,” he said.
5. ‘I’m so busy.’
When my friend Dawn said, “My schedule really isn’t too full,” I wanted to hug her. What a nice change that is from “I’m so busy I just can’t possibly get everything done.” People are busy. Period. Some use it as an excuse, some have the feeling they are busier than anyone they know and want to make sure you are aware of their hectic schedule.
My friend Sharon says when someone tells her they would love to take her up on an invitation but they’re “just so busy,” it makes her feel unimportant.
But take note, the people who are the busiest are the ones with lists. They do their stuff, get it done and don’t say much, if anything, about it. Others run around like their hair is on fire wasting a lot of time telling everyone how busy they are. If you’re so busy you feel overwhelmed most of the time, do something about it.
Write and tell me what statements you find irritating. While you’re at it, tell me what you like to hear from others. We’ll put a positive spin on this next time.
Reach Bonnie Bing at firstname.lastname@example.org.