How to Not Have Holiday Foot-In-Mouth
Has this ever happened to you? You say something and immediately wish you could take it back. Happens to me all the time! I often suffer from foot-in-mouth disease triggered by social anxiety. What’s a person to do who struggled from this? Follow these Top 10 rules because let’s face it, December is all about company parties, social get-togethers, family occasions – or what I call “repeated holiday land mines.” You will be forced into the dreaded small talk everywhere you go. So in reverse order, here is the top 10 list on:
When To Keep Your Mouth Shout
- Before a speech – This is brilliant. If you must do this, after clearing your throat or tapping the side of your champagne flute, start with an uncomfortable pause. This makes people stop talking to see if you’re about to have a panic attack or stroke. Once you begin speaking, they’re so relieved 911 won’t be necessary, they’ll give you their complete attention.
- When you are clearly boring people – This is a riddle wrapped in a conundrum. Do people need to fall asleep to demonstrate boredom or will yawning do? But let’s face it, some of us are blessed with the gift of gab, the ability to entertain with our words, our unique storytelling prowess causing you to hang onto our every word. Okay, clearly I’m boring you.
- When you want someone else to grow – Sneaky, sneaky. I mean, just because you don’t think your friend should have that sixth drink, but she’s so much fun right now and isn’t driving, so what’s the harm. By remaining quiet, you’re actually helping that friend grow, and maybe next time she’ll do a better job of handling her alcohol. I love it when I can help others.
- When your comment is about you more than the other person – This is about one-upping. It’s rude. Let’s say you’re having a conversation with someone at a party you hardly know who is sharing how super excited she is to be taking the family to San Antonio to see a boat parade of lights on the Riverwalk. Your family will be vacationing at a Colorado ski resort with a spa and camp for the kids. It’s best to keep your mouth shut so you’re not an ass.
- When you’re bragging, as opposed to sharing – Take the situation above and reverse it. Again, don’t be that ass.
- When you need someone else to get the credit – This makes no sense. If perhaps you need someone else to take the blame, sure that makes more sense. However, for argument sake, let’s say you’re at a party where you carried in your sister-in-law’s meatballs and someone thanks you for bringing them. Remain quiet so your sister-in-law can speak up and take credit for the meatballs – and if she doesn’t, oh well, people will think you brought them. It’s a white-apron crime. Nobody gets hurt.
- When you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about – After going to many parties with open bars, I have yet to come across this person, but let’s put it a different way. When you have nothing further to contribute. You see, silence is awkward, and sometimes we just want to fill the void. Resist this temptation. That’s what smart phones are for.
- When the other side has a misunderstanding – If at a holiday gathering and the couple you are speaking with can’t agree on whether their kids caught the flu last year or two years ago, it’s not your job to figure it out for them. Stand there with zero expression on your face to best indicate you don’t give a shit because it isn’t relative to whatever boring point they’re trying to make.
- When you’ve asked a question – Here’s a duh! moment if ever there was one. Give the person time to answer the question and don’t ask questions you already know the answers to. For example, if someone asks you if you’ve seen the season finale of American Horror Story Roanoke, and you say no not yet, it’s waiting on your DVR, but they don’t wait for that answer and instead tell you they found the ending to be lack-luster and nowhere near as good at the second to last episode – that is so rude.
- When the other side starts arguing – Let’s say you’re at an office party and the couple starts arguing that the husband never told the wife how the sales department met for cocktails on Halloween and that’s the real reason he was late to take the kids trick-or-treating. Don’t say another word so not to do further damage. Slowly, take two steps backwards and pretend to see someone across the room and excuse yourself.
I hope these tips have helped you. Have yourself a Merry Christmas and if all else fails, blame it on the alcohol!