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We all say things that we do not really mean. Societal pressure dictates that we don’t deviate from the status quo, and usually we don’t. It often happens in the workplace, but I’ve found myself in plenty of social situations where I couldn’t believe the statements that were coming out of my mouth.
Oftentimes I’ll go back to a conversation I’ve had with someone prior in the day, and for some reason I always come up with a far more suitable retort after the fact.
Maybe you’re trying to be neutral in a conversation about politics at your in-laws. Perhaps you’ve just been included on an e-mail with your boss about something important coming up on the work calendar- the point is we have all been there before. We all know that there is a huge difference between what you say and what you should have said.
What you say: Of course you can stay at my place this weekend, bro. Plenty of room here. Just shoot me a text when you’re on your way from the airport.
A long lost college friend is unexpectedly in town this weekend. They gave you less than 24 hours notice that they were flying into your current city, and seeing as your place is way cheaper than a hotel and they know you’re too weak to say no, they’re now going to be crashing on your couch for the next few nights.
Hope your roommates don’t mind! And make sure you have an itinerary set up for Saturday afternoon. It’s going to be expected that you can successfully entertain your guest and show him/her all of the trappings that your city has to offer. Kiss your weekend of lounging in bed with the shades drawn and Sade coming through your Sonos goodbye.
What you should have said: Sorry man. I actually can’t really hang out this weekend. My parents are going to be in town and you know how that goes. Maybe hit up [insert one of the million other people the two of you went to college with that lives in this city] and see if they’ve got room for you.
Listen. I know it’s a sin to lie. I know it sucks lying to friends, but there are some weekends when entertaining someone just isn’t in the cards. You need some R&R, and a sabbatical from people for the weekend after a grueling week in the cubes is exactly what you need. Next time you’re in a bind like this one just say you’re parents are in town. You’ll be lounging in bed with the heated blanket on with not a care in the world.
What you say: [In response to an e-mail about helping out on a project with some coworker you don’t like] Absolutely, I’d love to help out! Bridget (or whatever the fuck your awful coworker’s name is), how about we get together in a conference room this afternoon to discuss next steps! Thanks.
So it appears that your boss has just assigned you extra work. To make matters worse, it also appears that it’s going to be little group project. You remember those, don’t you? The ones where one person pulls all the weight and the other people in the group just kind of ride your coattails? You can bet your sweet ass that the only reason you’re getting assigned this project is because Bridget can’t hack it alone. Fucking Bridget, man.
What you should have said: Hey, [insert boss’s name here], I didn’t include Bridget on this e-mail because I don’t want to offend her, but her and I don’t really work all that well together. I’m also under the gun with a few other assignments at the moment and while I would be happy to help Bridget out after I complete these, I’d really appreciate if you’d allow me to finish what I’ve got in front of me before doling out additional work that Bridget should be able to finish herself. Cheers!
Okay, so I understand that most of us will never send an e-mail like this to a higher up that has just assigned us to a project with another coworker. This level of insubordination should be reserved for only when you’ve got another job lined up. But that’s why it’s under “What you should have said.” It’s not illegal to dream.
What you say: I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a fork then go hang out with your friends at the fucking Paris Club. I won’t be able to get groceries on Sunday if you make me go there, and all of your girlfriends’ boyfriends look like extras in an episode of Entourage. I’m sorry but I just refuse to go there.
Your girlfriend or winter fling is trying to drag you out to a club that neither you, her, or anyone else in the confirmed group for this evening can really afford. You’re not really friends with anyone going, either. Fourteen dollar cocktails and douchebags will be everywhere. You said the above in the heat of the moment, and even though you protested you know you’re going to end up in line at this godforsaken club. You have to. After all, you did make her go to that shitty sports bar last weekend to watch the divisional round of Saturday night NFL games.
What you should have said: Of course I’ll go, babe! Your friends are awesome!
Ah, young love. We all have to make sacrifices in a relationship, and a small part of being in a healthy one is doing shit that you don’t want to do. This includes, but is not limited to: going to clubs with her most detestable friends, apple picking, pumpkin picking, Christmas tree picking, and let’s not forget the occasional flower picking when the weather is just begging her to get a few IG pics off in mid-June..
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