My father always taught me, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Since every generation should improve on the one before, I now have improved this by saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, find something nice to say.” People for some reason love to point out the obvious and what they point out doesn’t always tend to be the positive. There are many examples but here’s just one that comes to mind. One couple tells another that they are expecting a new baby. Some of the typical things you might hear in response would be any of the following:
1. “Another one?” (Congratulations, you can add.)
2. “Did you plan this?” (If they didn’t, do you think they need a reminder?)
3. “How are you guys going to afford this?” ( Financial stress is the #1 reason for divorces, good job.)
4. "I hope it’s a boy, so you guys can finally stop.” (What if they don’t care or if they do, and it’s not?)
Do people really believe that the expecting couple hasn’t already taken all of these things and more into consideration? Maybe even spent sleepless nights worrying about it? Do they think that this is somehow helping them? Is this what they would want to hear?
Another example might be the addition of a new puppy. People will make their comments:
1. “Better you than me”. (That's nice.)
2. “You’re going to keep it outside, right?” (What if they're not?)
3. “Doesn’t that breed shed a lot?” (What if it does?)
People don’t want to second guess their decisions once they are already made. People want support and enthusiasm from the people they care about, that’s why they tell us. So the next time someone comes up to you and tells you about their new puppy or about the new baby, try finding something nice to say. “A puppy sounds like a lot of fun and that breed will suit you perfectly. “ Or, “Babies are great, I love the way an infant stares at you when you rock them in your arms.” I know these types of comments will make you feel better as a person but most importantly, it will bring some comfort to those who receive them.