Tag Archives: Stop Phrases

Stop Phrases: No, I did not.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. I was one of the few people in the group that was not aware that his friend was in a life threatening situation.
  3. I looked like a total jerk for worrying about my clothes in a situation like that.
  4. I proved that I was a jerk by arguing about words when my friend was simply going to suggest I apologize.

Again,Β  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. πŸ™‚

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* Sorry to disappoint, but the example above is total fiction. If it helps, I have witnessed countless situations very similar to this.

Stop Phrases: I don’t know what you mean.

me: (long technical explanation)

person I am chatting with: I don’t know what you mean.

me: I can’t help that you are mentally challenged. You don’t have to be rude about it.

No, I didn’t actually say that… but I thought about it. πŸ™‚

I know this person. She is very polite, kind, intelligent… and very formal. Maybe a bit too formal on chat. If she had just said, “huh?” I probably wouldn’t even have noticed. But typing a whole sentence just to say, “what?” made me stop and think.

Failure to communicate on chat happens all the time. We know someone is just sitting there waiting. So we try to go as fast as we can. We abbreviate, leave out whole words, and sometimes skip whole thoughts hoping the other person will “just get it”. Huh? happens. Then we go back and fill in things we left out, or explain things that were not clear on the first attempt.

“Huh?” is less disruptive since it is shorter, but it can still be a stop phrase. I know that something I said did not make sense, but I still don’t know why it didn’t make sense. I can look back for typos, but it could be a word you are not familiar with in this context or an entire concept that is unfamiliar.

Stop phrases are words that end a conversation. After a stop phrase, the conversation is over unless one of us can think of something else to say. We may choose to start a new conversation about why you don’t understand, but the flow of conversation has been broken. I now know that I just wasted time time talking to you, since everything I just said made no sense all.

Instead of stopping the conversation, let’s just divert it temporarily. To keep the conversation going, just ask about the specific word, phrase, or idea that you didn’t get.

For example: If you offer to cook a hamburger for me and I say, “I am now hungry.” You could ask, “did you mean not hungry?” You could also play with the likely typo and say, “just the word hamburger, made your stomach growl. :)” Both let me know that you might have misunderstood, and I can explain if needed.

Either way, try to help the other person figure out what it is you don’t understand so they can explain it better. Ask specific questions. Keep the conversation going until you understand.

This is the first in a what will probably become a series about .

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