Monday, March 7, 2011

Say It Isn't So!

By The Pleasant Times Etiquette Lady, Miss Rose

Sometimes people fall into the habit of inserting themselves into narrow slots, classifying themselves to others as ones who "never" or "can't stand" this or that, in order to make an impression, make conversation, or make excuses. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about:

Miss Doe might say, "Oh, I hate housekeeping. I would rather sew." Now, if Miss Doe would analyze her true feelings, she may discover that what she said about herself was not entirely true. It may be true that she'd rather sew than be bogged down in the kitchen washing dishes, but let me tell you the truth about Miss Doe: she likes to eat off of clean dishes. Furthermore, Miss Doe doesn't really like starting a project when the kitchen is a wreck, and knows her mind works better when the house is clean and neat around her. Miss Doe also gets into quite a rapid pace when she is housekeeping, and enjoys it more than she claims. Miss Doe may regret that she has not a lot of time to devote to sewing, but should she really tell people that she hates housekeeping? It gives a bad impression to her listeners about her (visions of a dirty house arise in their minds). Perhaps instead, she could say she loves to sew, and wishes she had more free time to do so.

Home Making (click to buy from Allposters)

Perhaps it is from the desire to appear humble, and not conceited, that people generalize in this way. While that desire seems admirable, it is also kind of sad that people are so quick to put themselves in a box. Sometimes these types of things can become a habit, a speak-before-you-think phrase said to quickly fill in a lull in conversation. But what happens to the girl, who says she "hates to cook" just to make conversation, but then starts to believe it of herself?

Young Mother Sews Up a Turkey

Children often use statements like this. "I'll never be able to..." "I can't do this or that..." "I hate doing such and such...."  Attitudes like these leave no room for "try, try again," leave no room for improvement, or the discovery that one can learn to enjoy the very thing they talked about negatively.  While we try to curb this attitude and speech in children, do we pay attention to what we adults say ourselves?

And while someone may say things like this, and be absolutely truthful, maybe they want to think twice before leaving others with unnecessarily negative impressions.
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