How to act and react when you know someone means well but says the "wrong" thing?
Last Updated: 06/18/2018 at 12:13pm
Amanda Wiginton, LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist
Now is the time to make a change! Professional, empathic, and compassionate therapist waiting to help you make healthy life changes.
Top Rated Answers
If you know they mean well you might consider trying something like, "Thank you for sharing that with me, as I know you mean well. However, it makes me feel (uncomfortable/ upset/ whatever you feel). Thank you for understanding."
I've experienced this and have handled it in a variety of ways... I've lost my temper at times, and bit my tongue other times. But, I really think the best way that I have ever handled it was simply letting the person know that I appreciate what they're trying to do, yet letting them know why what was said was inappropriate to me, or hurtful to me. I know it's not always going to go down like that, especially when emotions are running high. But, it's always good to know that we have options for how we react to things.
It depends on the context of the situation. If I was having a hard time and somebody said the 'wrong' something I didn't want to hear/blunt/narrow-minded about the situation at hand, I'd appreciate their good intentions, nod and smile. If there was no malice or hurt feelings intended and they just have a different way of thinking, there's little point in raising it as an issue.
Well, not everyone is the same. There's no one fits all answer. Only you are the best judge of you and can decide how to handle that. Perhaps you are the type to brush it off and move on, or perhaps you are the type to confront it as it happens. Do whats best for you.
People don't know what's going on in your heads, and you theirs. Sometimes people say things that may hurt you, but know it's not on purpose. Just ask them politely what they meant by what they said, or to elaborate. Once you understand what they were trying to get at, it may be easier for you to take in. However, if it still hurts you or offends you, tell them. They'll respect you for being honest instead of acting like what they said has actually helped.
It can be horrible when someone's heart is in the right place yet what they say is offensive or misjudged. Really it depends on the situation but remaining calm is key if it is an acquaintance or stranger sometimes it's best to smile politely but if it a friend or family member perhaps you can explain to them where they went wrong and how it made you feel. We can all make assumptions and day the wrong thing having someone calmly point it out offers us a chance to learn from our mistakes
Try and remember the times that you have made the same mistake when advising someone, and think about how for you it came from a good place so they are probably making that same mistake and it is innocent. Take it with a pinch of salt or try and find the positive in what they were trying to say :)
You could say, "I see your point (and if you agree with them and/or are grateful for their good intentions, thank them as well), but the way you said it upsets me." If they really mean well, they would understand.
It's not always easy to find the right thing to say. Be forgiving but point out why you think that words spoken were the "wrong" ones.
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