Sticks and Stones May Break My...

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…But Names Can Still Hurt Me.

by Mariann Roberts
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

We’ve all heard the saying, “stick and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” right? Well, what if I told you that saying might have some work to do when it comes to considering people’s feelings? Name calling does hurt, and it is just one of many ways you could hurt someone’s feelings and not even know it. Let’s talk about some ways we can recognize we might have hurt someone’s feelings, and how we can make it right.

How can I keep myself from hurting someone’s feelings in the first place?

One of the best ways to keep yourself from hurting your friend’s feelings is to stop and think to yourself, “would I like it if someone said this to me?” If the answer is no, then stop right there! If it would hurt your feelings, it will hurt someone else’s, too. If it’s not something you’d want someone to say to you, then don’t say it. A good way to think about it is to treat everyone the way you want to be treated.

How do I know if I have hurt someone’s feelings?

Sometimes, our friends will be very clear and tell us when we have hurt their feelings, but sometimes things can be a little bit trickier than that. Let’s look at some warning signs you may have caused harm to someone’s feelings.

  • They look sad or mad after you said something.
  • They suddenly become very quiet or stop talking after a comment you made.
  • You notice a change in the way they are speaking. They may have become very short with you, or seem irritated.
  • Someone tells you, “that wasn’t a very nice thing to say.”
  • You feel bad about something you said.
  • They walk/run away.
  • You said something you wouldn’t like if someone said it to you.
  • They no longer want to talk to you.
  • If it was over the phone, they stop replying to your messages or end the phone call.
  • They seem distant from you, or you get a sense things are a little “off” between you two.

Okay, I think I might have hurt someone’s feelings. How can I make things better?

Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s important to remember that just because you made a mistake it doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Making things right after hurting someone’s feelings and making sure you don’t make that same mistake again are important parts of growing up. So, what steps can you take when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings?

  • If you’ve hurt someone’s feelings, the best way to make things right again is to apologize. Apologizing shows you now understand that what you said/did was wrong, and it wasn’t something you should have said or done. Although you can’t change what you did, you are now taking the right steps to make things better for the person you hurt.
  • Make sure your apology is sincere. If you don’t mean it when you say, “I’m sorry” you won’t be making anything better. A good apology is one that comes from the heart, and should be a shorter way of saying, “what I did was wrong. I wish I didn’t make you feel this way, and I won’t do it again.”
  • Remember it’s important to learn from your mistakes. Make sure when you tell your friend you aren’t going to make this same mistake again, it’s the truth. Changing your behaviour when you’ve hurt someone is a great way to show you’re truly sorry.
  • Forgive yourself. Remember, it was a mistake and we all make mistakes. What’s important is that you learn from what you did, make the right changes so it doesn’t happen again, and let yourself move on.




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