A few years ago, I was hanging out with my friend Mike, and he shared something that I’ve been brought to think about many times since. He said, you know, I’ve come to learn that when somebody says ‘never mind’, you should probably just let it go’.
But, letting it go (whatever it is) is about the hardest thing to do. At least for me it is.
As human beings, we are blessed with the ability to speak. Because we have the ability to speak, we also have the need to say things. And, sometimes what we want to say isn’t something we should say at all, and we know it.
You’re sitting with someone you love, and they say, “you know what really bugs me?” You encourage them to continue. They immediately reply, “oh, nothing. Never mind.”
Of course, now you want to know what was bugging them. Just tell me, you say. “No, seriously. It’s nothing. Forget I said anything.”
That just aggravates you more. Please, just tell me! You can’t just start off with something like that and then not finish! The person you love looks at you, now trying to decide if going ahead and saying it would be less or more damaging than you being flustered or upset that it wasn’t said. “Just trust me. It wasn’t important or constructive. It didn’t need to be said.”
Come on, I won’t be mad, just tell me! You are now definitively aggravated, and the thought of not hearing whatever was about to be said drives you insane. “Please, let’s just talk about something else. What I was going to say was destructive and will only cause damage, which I don’t want to do.”
That’s just wrong, you demand. You cannot do that. You cannot say that and then not tell me. And then you up your game. Fine. Whatever. Don’t tell me.
The person you love looks at you. “Thank you, I appreciate that.” And then… But, I’m not telling you what I was thinking really bugs me.
“What? Oh, come on. You’re just saying that.” Nope, but I think you’re right. It’s better left unsaid. “What? Tell me!” No way. Not if you don’t tell me what you were going to say first. The person you love sighs. “Ooooh, you drive me crazy! It didn’t even matter!” You snidely look away. It mattered to me.
“Fine. If I tell you what I was going to say, you have to promise not to be mad, and you have to tell me what you were going to say.” Okay, deal.
You then hold your breath, preparing for the worst. The person you love, as cautiously as possible says whatever was originally going to be said. And…
WORLD WAR III BREAKS OUT.
Feelings are hurt. Tempers increase. Things are said that shouldn’t be said. Why? Because you couldn’t simply say, “okay” when the person you love said “never mind”.
And while the “never mind conversation” can divert itself in a thousand different directions, we all know how that conversation goes very well. We all know how it usually turns out. We’ve all done it to others, and we’ve all had others do it to us.
Sure, some of the fault lies within the person who originally said “never mind”. But very little. As the faulty people that we are, we naturally will think and say things, and only after the initial thoughts hit us do we realize how unhealthy or careless they might be. When that happens, it’s okay to simply stop and move onto something else. It’s okay to say “never mind”.
Sometimes it’s something minor, sometimes it’s something major. It doesn’t matter. Next time somebody says those two words, do yourself a favor and let it go. I’ll try to do the same.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
What do you think? Have there been times you wished you hadn’t pushed somebody beyond their attempts to stop the conversation? Have there been times you’ve been pressured into saying something you really didn’t want to say? Do you believe people really mean it when they say “never mind”?
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