Use your words

Use your words.  Those are three words that a preschool teacher or the parent of a toddler repeats regularly. But like most lessons we teach our children, they continue to be applicable in the adult world where we don’t have a preschool teacher or parent to point us in the right direction every time we commit a social boo-boo (like being nice to one another).  Use your words for children is asking them to not throw a tantrum but use their verbal skills to express what it is they want/don’t want, like/dislike, etc.  Use your words for adults implies say what you mean and mean what you say.  Although it could mean the same as the toddler version, but I would like to think that most adults developed verbal skills along with their adult-body.  I’ve been wrong before. 

I bring this up because I was reflecting on sarcasm that is used by many to express appreciation, interest or intended to be a form of flirting.  You often hear people saying something mean and sarcastic in an effort to mask their feelings of awe, appreciation, or gratitude of another person.  For example, I gave somebody something I had made the other day and asked for their opinion.  The response I received was “I’m sure it sucks.” What?!  It’s not that I think that what I made is good but a thank you would suffice.  Why would one say that?  Is it a defense mechanism?  Covering up for personal insecurities?  I was taught that it’s nice to be nice to other people and that my words are the most socially prominent way of communicating my feelings.  When somebody brings you something they made or bought or a flower they picked for you, or whatever why wouldn’t you explicitly and overtly express your appreciation of it? (Even if you don’t appreciate it mama taught me to say thank you, always.)  This mean-sarcasm nonsense is foolish and juvenile.  I do not condone this behavior.  I think it’s lovely to be charming and sweet, it makes people feel good.  And if people don’t know how to respond to it, well shame on them, they ought to learn.  One doesn’t have to get “awkward” (another notion I dislike, but I’ll save that for another rant).  You say thank you.  Or you say what you mean!  “I appreciate the flowers you brought me,” “I really enjoyed spending time with you,” “I would like to get to know you more,” “I appreciate your insight,” “I would prefer not to stay out all night, thank you, let’s have lunch instead.”  Say what you  mean and mean what you say.  Use your words.  

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