I have always highly valued the approval and acceptance of others. Yet, despite my best efforts, I say stupid things on occasion. Ok, a lot. Sometimes, however, someone calls me on something stupid that I’ve said. My immediate reaction, and I’ve found this to be true for many people, is to immediately say even stupider shit. I keep digging. That doesn’t generally work so well, either. It works particularly badly with strangers, and boy does it get ugly quick. I don’t need to point at recent news stories, do I? (Of course not. We’re all short-attention spanned adults here. Right!)
Over time, I’ve come up with some other responses that seem to work better. You’re welcome to adopt these as well, or to point them out to others. You can even point them out to me when I fail to use them. Also a common event. (FYI, these should be applicable whether you are/or are not actually saying something stupid. Functionally, there’s no real difference.) Don’t worry, it’s a short list.
Technique #1: #exitstageleft Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t try to understand. Just get the fuck away, and try to do better with some of the other 6 Billion people on the planet. Really underrated response. Cannot recommend enough. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the call-out, just let it convert you into a wiser/better person in private.
Technique #2: #checkyourteeth Not literally. What I mean is, check if maybe there’s something else that’s going on (or NOT going on) besides the thing that’s being pointed out as a stupid thing for you to be doing. Focus on handling that.
Technique #3: #takeatimeout Simply say ‘That’s something I’m going to have to think about. Excuse me while I consider that.” (then refer to T#1&2)
Ok, so here’s a few things to NOT do. These are even more important.
NO#1: #imSOsorry Don’t knee jerk apologize. You can’t possibly mean it that quickly, and even if you do, it will still sound sarcastic. Take it in, and if you really are sorry, then convey that later to the person who spoke up, or someone who didn’t but might have if they weren’t your friend, spouse or employee.
NO#2: #lightenupbuddy Don’t tell the offended person not to be offended. It’s like wishing for more wishes. It just isn’t allowed.
NO#3: #peoplescourt Don’t poll the room and seek their validation and protection. If they agree, they can console you later. Value the courage of the offended party enough (even if you don’t value their judgment) to not subject them to instant ‘shut-up’ peer pressure.
There you go. I told you it was a short list. What can I say, I value my brevity. Have I said something stupid to you lately? Let me know in the comments so I can demonstrate my mastery of KaraNou (空脳), the Art of the Empty Brain.