Words are interesting things. I got to thinking about them this morning. When used well they can explain, clarify, motivate, encourage, cheer; among other descriptors. When used poorly, they can confuse, confound, depress, anger; among other descriptors.
The following is a fiction story which might serve to show how without thinking, we can have various effects on people with whom we use words.
The scene takes place while lying in bed in the guesthouse room, newly awake in preparation for my trip back to the U.S. after having been in Mexico for a month.
Two day's earlier, my host reminded me that I needed to be out of my room by 12:00 so Aurelia could get in to clean it for the new arrivals. I told her I would make sure to be out by then.
Yesterday, this was mentioned again and I acknowledged.
As I was lying in bed I imagined my host coming by at 11:00, knocking on the door and reminding me, "Don't forget you need to be out by 12:00."
If I had replied, "I know!" that would imply that I was not necessarily happy with being reminded. The moment would be about me. (negative)
If I had replied, "I know! You told me yesterday." that would imply that I felt she was nagging, that I was a little miffed at being reminded. Again about me. (negative)
If I had replied, "I know, you don't have to treat me like a dummy. I have a good memory."That could serve to make my host feel badly about our relationship. (negative) You get the idea.
If I had replied, "OK." that would have been at least a neutral comment that acknowledged her reminder. (positive)
If I had replied, "OK. I'll make sure I'm out by 12:00." that would have been even more affirmative and would serve to assure my host that I would, in fact, be out by 12:00. (positive)
If I had replied, "OK. Thanks for the reminder." that would have been even more affirmative and also thankful and could serve to make my host feel good about our relationship. (positive)
Or I could just have replied, "Fuck you, you fuckin' nag. I'll be out when I am out and you should be glad that eventually I will be out!" Wonder how that would have gone over?