What do you mean by that? How many times have you said that? How many times have you heard something come out of someone’s mouth and can’t believe he/she said that? We have to leave The President out of this because everyone would say that about what he says. This is about people in your day to day life. Syntax, how a simple statement is made to reek of negativity, condemnation or condescension. Syntax,
Syntax refers to the composition, or the arrangement of words used to portray a meaning. Bad Syntax, in my opinion, doesn’t just refer to poor word arrangement, but the arrangement of words to portray a poorly emoted meaning. I think it was my Mom who always used to say, “it’s not just what you say, it is how you say it!” Me, I am all about that. Lately more so than ever. These days everything seems so dark and dreary in a way, so why not take any chance possible to lighten or brighten things up. For example, instead of asking the question “WHY would you do it THAT way? That makes it look smaller!” Maybe phrase it, “I ‘m curious as to why that is the better style? Does that make it seem bigger?” Here you are asking for the same information, just with a lighter approach. Again, it is how you say it.
Most don’t hear themselves when they speak. So, when you point out that they sound harsh or stern (angry even) they are taken aback. Often becoming more argumentative. I have been accused of that from time to time, and when pointed out I quickly look for the better way to say the same question (and apologize for using poor syntax). Nobody is perfect – and now there is even a slang for it…MY BAD! But if we all just took a second to hear ourselves (maybe even record yourself once in a while) you may learn how you sound to others.
I often use a story form 1982. I was 20 and just diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. The next morning, I was being operated on – I was losing my Spleen and part of my Liver. Not feeling particularly light (though I was optimistic about the end results). I was having this done at Tufts Medical Center (a teaching hospital – you know with all those seemingly clueless interns like you see on the TV shows). So, before Dr. Detterling was to arrive, a young intern came to explain what was about to happen. He spoke fast and curtly and in ‘medical talk’ that I couldn’t understand anyway. Trying to lighten the mood I asked: “It’s all gibberish to me, so could you just tell me am I going to live or die?” (I was joking of course). This Intern looked me straight in the eye and solemnly said: “I cannot predict the outcome, Cancer is a very serious disease!” I was actually too stunned to talk. Frozen actually. Luckily as I sat there on the precipice of an emotional breakdown, Dr. D walked in. His hands and body shaking (in a put-on kind of way), he says “Do you need the scare to be perfectly straight?” Some of the interns giggled and I relaxed as much as possible. That lightened the mood immediately. It isn’t what you say it is how you say it!
This is such an important lesson for everyone. Interpersonal relationships, business relationships, co-dependent relationships J, can benefit from understanding this. How many times have you walked away out of a restaurant, a store, or after dealing with a rude person? Aren’t you soured on that place or person? And all it would have taken is for them to tell you the same thing in a different way. These days we read the papers and are meet with Shock and Yawn. We don’t know whether to cry or hibernate for a while. If we could just learn that what we say and how we say it matters. If we could just learn to be positive and light- instead of Angry and Argumentative we can emerge shaky yet optimistic! I hope for that! The Sun WILL come out Tomorrow! Bet Your Bottom Dollar that TOMORROW they’ll be Sun and Syntax!
Enjoy, Be Happy and Be Understanding!