Have you ever thought, “I should have said that”? We all know the defeat of not having a pithy punchline to set a boundary, silence a bully or crush a critic.
Anyone who has ever walked away from an exchange mumbling the things they ‘should have said’ knows the crushing defeat that comes with not reaching deep into one’s vocabulary and putting together that one punchline phrase that would clarify a boundary, silence a bully or crush an inner critic.
The next time you find yourself in a sticky situation with a desire to rain on someone’s parade (even internally), ensure that you are ready with a clever comeback.
These five phrases never fail in those trickier situations that too often leave us at a loss for words – never walk away muttering to yourself again.
“That’s not going to work for me”
We’re all told that compromising is a good thing, and it is. UNLESS it’s your health or value system, a gentle-yet-firm, “That’s not going to work for me” supported by a brief explanation and an alternative solution will usually do the trick. Those who respect you will respect your honesty and boundary-setting. Those who don’t? Why worry about them?
“It’s OK for me to feel this way”
There’s nothing bad about feeling bad, and while it’s not always verbalised, the truth is that strong people wallow, worry, cry and get stressed too.
The good news is that there is often a breakthrough in those breakdown moments, and stress often leads to brainstorming new ideas on how to deal with life as we know it. It’s when we hide under the covers and chase our tail for a prolonged period of time that it’s concerning.
“Do not speak to me like that”
Newsflash: Bullies don’t just hang out by the jungle gym. They’re everywhere: online, in the supermarket parking lot, and sitting in powerful positions in the corner office. Worse, they’re bringing stress that far exceeds handing over your lunch money.
Bottom Line: Brutal bosses, passive-aggressive colleagues, jealous frenemies and nagging neighbours who can’t say something nicely should not be allowed to say anything at all until they can do so like a human being.
“This is not about me”
Don’t spend too much time trying to make sense of nonsense that is none of your business – instead, realise that, while accountability is an essential component in all healthy relationships (including the one with yourself), sometimes you don’t need to take half of the blame – or any of it, for that matter.
“I am happy for you!”
Listen closely: Happiness begets happiness. Sure, it’s a bit of a zinger when your best friend meets the love of her life while you’re still swiping right, or your colleague drops twenty pounds while you’re struggling to get motivated. But understanding that someone else achieving their goals doesn’t mean there are fewer achievements available to you will make life a whole lot easier.