At an event last night, a friend said, "You're looking good, lady! What have you been doing? You look like you've lost 90 pounds!"
I smiled and said, "Thanks! Just walking, I guess."
Later I reflected on the feeling of that moment ~ I knew he meant it as a compliment, yet I found myself thinking: "What image of me does he hold in his head?"
I'm a big woman, but .... 90 pounds would make me rail thin, probably anorexic looking. Even though I could stand to lose some weight, it has never been that much!
Language is important. If he really thought about what he was saying before blurting it out, maybe he would have reconsidered his statement. Then again, maybe not.
What about me? What about you? Do we think before we say things? Pausing to consider the effect of our words? Sometimes I do and still continue on to say it; at those moments, I know I've exercised choice. I've decided that the information needed to be said, needed to be heard. More often than not, I pause even longer and let the moment pass.
Think about the moments in your life when you said something that you meant as a compliment or a positive comment and had it take negatively. Could you have worded it differently? Would you still say it? Would you change your words? What kind of "do over" do you need? More importantly, what image do you hold in your head ~ of yourself, of your friends? How is your image of this person affecting your language?