Friday, August 19, 2005

If You Can't Say Something Nice

How many of you grew up with some adult admonishing you, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"? I daresay quite a few of us did, but very few of us seem to take that adage to heart.
Now I'm not talking about the critique you actually asked for from a close friend or family member or even some professional. I'm talking about how many times we choose to say something negative when we're better off just keeping our mouths shut.
This brings me to another point---what is actually negative? Many people would say that they aren't negative when they are really perceived as being so. If someone shows you his/her new car and your comment is, "My God, I'll bet your gas mileage is going to be awful!" That is not a statement of fact: That is a negative statement. And it's just as bad if you say, "Wow, what can of gas mileage are you going to get with this?" (When you know that it isn't going to be very good).
Shut up. Tell him/her the colour is beautiful; the interior is luxurious (if it is; you don't have to lie). I guess the root of what I'm getting at is this: if you would love to own this car yourself, but don't or can't and that makes you feel bad for yourself or makes you feel jealous---stop! This is the difference between a child and an adult.
The child says, "Hmmm, there's got to be something wrong with this car that I can find because I'm worried about feeling bad myself about not having one."
The adult admits to some pangs of jealousy, then thinks, but my friend/relative /colleague/acquaintance is happy; by telling them how wonderful this is I can make them even happier (almost everyone likes to be admired and by extension for his/her possessions to be admired). The adult says,"Wow, this is great. You are one lucky so-and-so. How about taking me for a ride?"
We make the world better every day by little things.

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