Do You Choose Your Words Carefully?

Last Updated on August 17, 2020

For the past couple of years, my world has been pretty small.

At home, it’s just me, my husband, and our almost 20-year-old cat.

When I was a nanny, I spent most of my time outside of the house hanging out with a 2-year-old. (I’d briefly see her mom or dad, too, of course.)

Offline, my social life is pretty non-existent.

More often than not, I’d find myself alone. I’m a pretty introverted person, so I enjoyed all the “me time”.

My world got a little bigger when I started working at an after-school program back last January. I had a couple of coworkers around my age and met some of the greatest kids. But I only had 5 kids in my program, and I only worked a couple of hours a day.

Since I started my new job back at the end of the summer, my world has gotten a lot bigger.

My office and workspace are sort of isolated, so I still spend a lot of time on my own.  I do have an office-mate, but she works different hours than I do, so we’re only together a few hours a day.

But there are always people around – between my coworkers, my managers, the clients, and the other organizations that I conduct business with. I’ve never worked along side this many people before.

The whole environment of my new job is different than what I’m used to.  People speak a lot more candidly with each other than I’ve experienced at my previous jobs. While it’s nice to be a little more relaxed, I do find it tricky not to let my guard down too much.

I’m definitely not used to small talk anymore!

There have been a few times where I’ve said something that I immediately regretted saying. It wasn’t anything bad, just things that don’t necessarily represent me in the way I want to be represented – especially as a new employee.

Usually, it’s dumb things that probably go unnoticed or are immediately forgotten about by everyone else. Like when your server says “Enjoy your meal” and you respond with “You too” and that brief conversation haunts you for the rest of the day, even though it probably happens to them all the time.


There was one instance where the reaction I got completely caught me off guard. I was passing someone in the hallway when they asked me a quick question. I responded it with a straight forward answer, but it wasn’t the answer they wanted to hear. And they were pissed!

I tried not to take it personally, but I’m pretty hard on myself sometimes.  I was still pretty new when that happened and I thought that maybe I had done something wrong.

But then I realized – my world is completely different from this person’s world.

It wasn’t that what I said was “wrong”, it was simply that we were looking at the same situation from two entirely different places. Had I given a fuller answer, or said something more specific, I don’t think I would have got the same reaction.

“Be mindful when it comes to your words. A string of some that don’t mean much to you, may stick with someone else for a lifetime.”
-Rachel Wolchin

As someone that’s considered myself to be a writer all my life, I think a lot about the words I choose when I write. The amount of times appears in my browser history fully supports this. As does the number of revisions emails and posts like this one go through before hitting that send or publish button. I mean, the internet is ~*4eva*~ , right?

But I haven’t put the same amount of consideration into the words that I speak.

When my world consisted of my husband (who knows me better than anyone), a cat (who is going deaf anyways), and a two year old (who only knew a total of about 100 words), I didn’t really have to worry about the every day words I chose to use.  I knew that my meaning would be understood.

My world has grown now.

The need to choose my words a little more carefully was not something I really thought about or anticipated when starting a new job. It didn’t cross my mind that I’d be interacting with such a wide variety of people, or that my words might mean something else to them.

Words are immensely powerful. (I mean, just look at the impact anything Donald Trump says or tweets has.)

Choose your words carefully.


YOUR TURN: Do you choose your words carefully? Or do you just blurt out whatever comes to mind?

Amanda Kay

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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4 thoughts on “Do You Choose Your Words Carefully?”

  1. I definitely choose my words carefully. Always have. I’m just not that blunt or the type to say exactly what’s on my mind. Of course it depends on audience. I watch it depending on who I’m with. And in writing…big time! Like you, I agonize over words before every publish. Well. Lesson learned for you moving forward.

  2. Great advice. Over-compensation is a great learning tool – just be sure you don’t go too far one direction (too verbose, or too terse) and get stuck.

    For example – my 2 year old is a talker, oh lord is he a talker. Usually he’s very clear and we communicate very well, but being a 2 year old, sometimes he goes completely insane. This has led to my latest communication tool of extreme brevity – “cereal yes or cereal no?” No room for maybes or equivocations. It’s been working so well, I’m tempted to start using it on my verbose coworkers (kidding).

  3. Oh wow, this resonates so much. I am terribly awkward in person and not articular on the spot. great writer, as I have time to consider my words carefully and craft my phrasing. I write damn great emails!

    I do try to choose my words carefully as I know their power. Very much so. There are some things people close to me have said that i wil never, ever forget, and those are basically for all negative reasons.


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