If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

Have you ever said something snarky to someone and then immediately regretted it?

A Snarky Comment

I was talking to someone recently and by mistake I repeated something I had told her the day before. Instead of just letting it go, she said,

You’re repeating yourself. You already told me that yesterday!”

Now, that wasn’t exactly nasty. She had stated the truth. But it was unnecessary, and I felt myself pull back for a moment to regain my footing.

Another example of saying something not-so-nice…

Here’s another good example — and this time it was me who said something snarky.

Recently, a friend of mine didn’t do something she said she’d do. Instead of asking her how I could help get the task done, I said,

You didn’t follow through.”

That, too, was true, but calling it out so starkly made her recoil just the way I had.

I saw it happen.

These bits of not-so-nice behavior undermine the trust that builds strong relationships.

The consequences of not being nice may be more significant than you think.

These kinds of responses are like little verbal slaps.  And if you have a pattern of verbally slapping people, they will gradually retreat from you.

Ropes of Trust

Think of relationships as ropes of trust.

They’re made strong by tiny threads of behavior that are wound together. While strong relationships, just like rope, can withstand minor breaks in trust, too many of them weaken the fiber of the relationship.

You don’t always have to think nice thoughts. No one does that all the time. But try to get in the habit of keeping any snide remarks to yourself.

As my very wise father used to say…
If you have nothing nice to say, it's best to not say anything at all.

Abrasive thoughts that are unspoken have a way of evaporating without a trace. But once you’ve said something nasty aloud, it persists — not just in your mind, but in the minds of your friends and loved ones.

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Let Your Nasty Thoughts Float Away

Holding back takes some practice. It particularly takes practice to let ideas go without feeling angry or irritated. Try watching your mind as it forms, holds and then releases an idea that is less than kind.

Have you ever wished you could take back something you said? What was the situation and how did it feel?

Share your story in the comments.

  • Sawyer Davis

    I love this post. I agree that to have trust in a relationship you must never try to bring the other person down, and the little things do count. Little things can turn into big things when they stack up.

    • Andrea Kihlstedt

      Thanks Sawyer, I’m so glad this post resonated with you. Little things do stack up and it’s sometimes hard to remember that even small comments can resonate negatively. I appreciate your comment!