As a follow-up to the previous post on things that shouldn’t be said, there are also things that should be said.I was a newlywed of less than a year when I had some great advice passed on to me from someone who quoted it as being passed to them from a wise sage many years before. And it likely was passed to him through generations as well.”Son, there are times when there is only one correct thing to say in response to your wife. Make sure you say it.“Anecdotally this was probably in the context of the “does this dress make me look fat?” genre of questions, but there are also so many times that social grace and propriety dictates a proper response. Perhaps the greatest proper response is “Thank you” whenever granted a measure of grace or platitude. “I’m sorry” is proper when someone shares a pain or grief (business or personal). “The boss is a rat fink” is not proper, ever, even if true.Which raises a fine line for realists like myself who take great pride in sharing the truth, even when it hurts. The truth is NOT always the best thing to say, which is a completely different thing from saying that it’s OK to lie. Regardless of the context — business, personal, acquaintence, stranger — the way to build a connection and cultivate an environment that will receive whatever message we have to give is to say the proper thing and treat people as people.I’m reading the book Whale Done now, and it outlines the importance of trust in a relationship before any action will be taken. Speaking correctly is a step in that relationship building process.
If there’s a right thing to say, say it.