This phrase can take several forms and still have the same impact.
- No, I didn’t.
- That is not what I said.
- I didn’t say that.
- I wasn’t mad.
- You totally misunderstood.
- You don’t get it.
Here is an example: *
Friend: Yesterday, when you stuck your tongue out at that kid…
Me: (interrupting) I didn’t stick out my tongue out at him!
Friend: It looked like you stuck out your tongue.
Me: I didn’t stick out my tongue out at him!
Friend: Oh… Then, who were you sticking out your tongue at?
Me: I didn’t stick out my tongue!
At this point my friend has totally forgotten the original conversation, is probably exasperated, and the conversation is over.
At least I didn’t have to hear my friend’s criticism, but I also didn’t learn anything.
The facts of the matter are:
- I did make a face that displayed my anger about the kid spilling my coffee all over me while he was running to get a first-aid kit.
- I was one of the few people in the group that was not aware that his friend was in a life threatening situation.
- I looked like a total jerk for worrying about my clothes in a situation like that.
- I proved that I was a jerk by arguing about words when my friend was simply going to suggest I apologize.
Again, Stop Phrases end conversations! Sometimes you want to end the conversation, but you can learn a lot if you don’t.
If someone mistakenly thinks that you did, thought, or said something that you did not, stop and think. Is it possible that you did something that could be easily mis-perceived? Is it possible that they confused you with someone else? Is it possible that you did it without realizing it? Keep the conversation going. Ask questions. See if there is anything you can learn even if the facts aren’t right.
Even if you did not do exactly what your “attacker” says you did, something made them think that you did. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people to even think I did something wrong, if for no other reason than that they might do something unkind to me or my friends and family.
Try to learn from every situation, even if… especially if… the lesson or the teacher is painful.
This is the second in a series of posts about Stop Phrases.
Subscribe to this blog (it’s free) to read about more Stop Phrases and other interesting topics.
Not sure what blog subscription means or why it matters? Check out this post on RSS.
* Sorry to disappoint, but the example above is total fiction. If it helps, I have witnessed countless situations very similar to this.