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