Living in a small town, it’s hard not to see someone you know when you go out. I had the best catch-up conversation yesterday with my friend Kathy in the toothpaste aisle at the Super Center. For 30 minutes we covered everything from birthing babies to breast cancer.

When I was coming out of the bookstore I waved to another friend and asked how he was doing. The closer I got to him I realized it wasn’t who I thought it was. In fact, I’d never seen this person before in my life. I had two choices; admit I had made a mistake or fake it. I faked it.

“It’s so good to see you,” I said enthusiastically. Be sure to tell your wife I said hi.” I gambled assuming he was married. Evidently he was.

“Oh, I will,” he said. Good to see you too. Have a great afternoon.” He looked at me squinting like it would rattle his memory. I grinned as I walked away thinking about him trying to figure out who I was and how I knew his wife. Before speaking I suppose I should wait until I know for sure if the person is someone I know. My mouth just gets ahead of me sometimes.

Like it or not I think that’s a problem so many of us deal with. Our mouths talk faster than our brains can think. Studies show we can process 200-300 words per minute. Women can have gusts up to 400. I have one Italian friend who talks so fast and is so dramatic with her hands, I don’t stand too close. The risk of getting an eye poked out is too great.

Consider your words and their impact. Maybe if we’d slow down just a bit and weigh what we’re about to say, a lot of hurt feelings, confusion, or misunderstandings could be avoided.

I will say though, acting like you know someone you don’t is much more fun than admitting you’re wrong.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” -Abraham Lincoln

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One response to “

  • chas-g

    Great post! I have to tell you, though that if I were that man I would have been plagued by guilt for the rest of the day for not remembering who you were. I don't know why I let it bother me so much but, when I run into someone who obviously knows me and whom I can't remember to save my life it makes me feel guilty. I often wonder if I'm really that self centered that I can't commit a person's name and how I know them to memory. Just an observation.

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