At one point in time this was authentic. It had meaning and credence. But now I hear it so many times every day, it rings of insincerity. It’s on television commercials, online ads pushing laundry detergent. What it really means is “boy, did I just judge you, and it was not good. In fact, it was so awful it made me feel guilty just thinking of it, so I need to say something to lower my own guilt over having thought it.” Let’s be honest, we all judge others. That is human nature. There is no getting away from it. The key is not to not judge, but to use our judgements as an invitation to ask yourself, “what is it about them that made me so judgmental? Why was I so quick to judge?” The answer actually has nothing to do with them, but with yourself. Don’t apologize to them, apologize to yourself, for within you is the key to your judgments, not with them.
As with the No Judgment rationale, when you shame someone, you are really just expressing the shame you carry within you. Some past memory, guilt, or apology you never said. As with the “no judgment” comment, we all shame others for self-gain, we do it to pull them into line. As one highly regarded Zen master once told me, “shame is the fastest way to teach.”
That does not make it right by any stretch of the imagination. By telling someone “no shame” you are giving the a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Your comment is just piling on more shame to whatever it was you just witnessed. Why, because they did not do it your way?
The shame is not theirs to carry, it is yours. Simply stop judging and stop shaming. It is not your place to call others out on some trumped-up idea of how they should act, and idea that you created out of the shame you carry around. Let the live their life in their way, and you can live your life in yours.
With All Due Respect
This is a classic setup. All it means is that you are about to pull the rug out from underneath them and slam them with some very disrespectful words. Why say it? Once again, you’re just giving yourself permission to be nasty. Don’t say “with all due respect,” just say what you’re going to say and then enjoy the regret you’re going to have to carry around with you for saying it.
If you are a true friend, then there is no need to give yourself an out. If not, then you shouldn’t make the comment. It’s not going to soften the blow of whatever you feel you have to say to them, because it really is for you. Instead of saying with all due respect just hold your tongue. The world will be a better place for it.
I was Just Thinking
Does that mean you usually don’t think? This comment does not make you look or sound smart. It usually prefaces what you think is a brilliant idea, but you’re just not convinced it is. You’re trying to hedge your bets in case your brilliant idea falls flat. Perhaps you think adding a casual tone to whatever comes next will give you and out, or perhaps the idea of downplaying your brilliance will make your idea all the more palpable.
Next time just say what your idea is and let your audience judge its merits on their own?
I’m Being Honest With You
This is on par with I was just thinking. It implies that you have not been honest with your audience up until now. As with most of these comments, it does just the opposite of what was intended, it raises their attention level to assess what you have just said, and are about to say, with a new level of wariness.
If you have something to say, then just say it. Good thoughts and comments need no introduction. They will find their way to the intended listener’s ears all on their own.
If you are ever in doubt, good conversation, like good meditation or a well-made martini, comes from the school of less is more. You don’t have to embellish. All that ever does is put a garish tone to what could have been a wonderful diversion.
Be well and I hope this helps.