Wait…What did you just say?
Whatever it was, it was bad. You know it was bad because the room has gone quiet and nobody will make eye contact. You have said the verbal equivalent of a soccer punch to the forehead.
You have said the wrong thing AGAIN. But why?
Let’s get right to it. There could be a whole host of reasons why you keep putting your foot so firmly in your mouth, but here are a few that are pretty common:
- You talk too much
- You over think and over compensate (because you are nervous or anxious)
- You are not really listening
- You are trying too hard (people pleasing)
I bet at least one of the above (for the worst offenders, all of the above) will look familiar to you. In short, you have let something flow out of your mouth without checking all the variables first. Well sorry folks, there are always going to be times when this happens, nobody is perfect and it’s all subjective – some people will take offense, others will see it as perfectly fine. With that in mind….
Censoring yourself is a fools game!
That said, there are a few things you can do if you want to limit the damage done when your words have offended.
What to do when you say the wrong thing:
Ask them if it was the wrong thing to say
You may be worrying too much. What you said wasn’t ideal but it might not be as bad as you think. Be casual about it and ask them if you said the wrong thing. If they say yes, apologise. If they say no, follow with: ‘Ah good! I always say the wrong thing so just checking’. All bases covered!
You could just apologise. Just a quick ‘Ooops, sorry about that’ will suffice. If they are not satisfied with that then there is really nothing else to be done about it. Just remember not to say it again!
Laugh it off
A little bit of humor can really soften a mood. But only laugh at yourself, not at them.
Read the room, but it might be best to just let it go. If you sense that the person is holding a grudge after some time, make a note to approach them later and apologise formally.
Meditate on it and send positive vibes their way
Sometimes there is just nothing you can do. You said the wrong thing and they won’t speak to you again (it was REALLY bad). Well hey, send them some light and love and go on your way…real friends forgive.