Months ago I came across a phrase that has really stuck with me. I have been thinking about it a lot and in very different scenarios.
So as simple as it is (as some of the best things are) I had to share it here.
“You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person”
The idea behind the phrase “You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person” is really powerful for two main reasons.
- It takes the pressure away. If you say something and the other person reacts negatively, THEY were not the right person, since they didn’t fully understand where you are coming from or are in a different place. That is completely fine, of course, but it has nothing to do with what you said.
- It acts as a red flag detector. If someone rejects you because of something you said, it probably means you don’t share the same values, and it’s best to find this out sooner rather than later.
Job interview You are applying for a job and you ask about work-life balance in the interview. They might give a generic response, and start to doubt your work ethic. They might not extend you an offer. But, if you think about it, you would not want to be hired by a company that will demand you to put in extra hours and will lead you to be burnt out.
Asking the question might seem like you’re shooting yourself in the foot, but if you’re worried they will get the wrong impression and you will be perceived as “lazy”, the truth is the worry should be “on them”, they should be excited to show you how they are currently implementing good work-life harmony strategies to ensure employers aren’t overwhelmed.
Moving in You are considering moving in with someone and they act surprised when you tell them you want to discuss how you will manage the household and how you will split the chores. That is a sign that something is off, probably their views on how often and who should clean/tidy are very different to yours and you would not be compatible housemates if you can’t agree and work together on this point. The key thing to remember is that the issue rarely is in “saying the wrong thing”, but in the reaction and the response we get. As much as a negative reaction might lead to you not moving in together, it is better to figure this out before signing the lease.
Learning something new You have started a course and you will have to spend your Sundays working through that. Your friends are always pressuring you to go out, saying the course is useless anyway, and they refuse to make plans at a time that would be more convenient to you. This is a sign they have no flexibility and they don’t value learning and growing your knowledge as much as you do. In this case, the “right person” would support you in this new endeavor and encourage you, and would be happy to say yes to plans that fit all schedules.
The obvious caveat for this post is that communication is key, you must always be kind and respectful when talking to others. It’s always important to let the other person have a chance to explain themselves and give them the chance to work on something they want to improve if this is compatible with your needs.
This sentence can be helpful to deal with the fear of rejection since it reframes it as a sign that the match is not ideal, which is something you would want to find out as soon as possible.
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