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Dear Mary Pat

Dear Mary Pat,

There is an epidemic of people not being able to filter their thoughts before ignorant comments come flying out of their mouths. I just don’t understand why people can’t exercise a little restraint before speaking. Any advice on how to handle situations like this?

If They Can’t Say Something Nice…

Ephraim, WI

Dear If They Can’t Say Something Nice…,

I am a little bit at a loss myself. I continue to be flabbergasted with the way that some people say hurtful and insensitive things to others. It really isn’t called for. I think that the basic level of politeness has evaporated in some people. Someone may be quick to snap at a waitress when his or her house salad arrives with the wrong dressing. In the greater scheme of things, not a life and death situation after all. Simply telling the waitress that you ordered Italian instead of Ranch will be much more effective than making some snide remark about servers nowadays.

There could be any number of things contributing to this type of behavior. Maybe someone is in pain, maybe someone is just having a bad day or maybe their mamas never taught them manners. I would wager the biggest reason is ego. If some blowhard acts like lord of the manor and talks down to the “lowly” clerk serving him, he somehow feels like a bigger man. If Zsa Zsa waltzes into a boutique demanding to deal exclusively with the owner and proceeds to get fussed over, her little world makes sense again. It’s a sad really. If you combat it by being sickeningly sugary sweet, it should do the trick. If nothing else, the passive aggressive performance that you give will be gratifying. I would like to recommend that you point out their behavior and tell them that it’s not acceptable, however, I don’t have much hope that it would be successful. In the end, you just have to learn not to let your mood be influenced by people who choose to be nasty.

Good luck,

Mary Pat