People say crazy things. Some are just odd; some are marginally offensive. Especially if there is no reason to assume ill will, a pause and a gracious response is always in order. Helps to avoid those ‘I wish I hand’t said that’ moments, since one of you is probably already having such a moment.Ran across a former coworker today. He made a comment about how (well) I was dressed, recalling me from our former job where shorts and T-shirts ruled the day. While I suppose it’s understandable that this person never saw me in anything other than casual attire and the trip down memory lane evoked such a comment, it’s sad to me that I’m remembered more for how I (didn’t) dress than what I did (side note: those lasting impressions do make an impact!). I was tempted to invoke my nature and fire back some comment about spending a few years as a public nudist but quickly (and wisely) came to the conclusion a gracioius smile and admission that a new job brings a new warddrobe was the best response. We’ll be able to talk again without hard feelings (I can’t possibly see how the comment was intended as anything other than conversation, unless I try really hard). The stakes were low here, but we all see (and experience) situations all the time where a sarcastic or angry response starts an arms race that no one can win. Seems that Solomon had this pegged in Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.“Speakers run into this with hecklers as well. It’s a fight that can’t be won from the podium. Don’t fight. Ooze graciousness instead.
It’s never wrong to smile and be polite.