Above all, be kind when talking with others

Published 9:34 am Thursday, March 31, 2016

Be kind. Please be kind to others.

I was conversing with a woman, and she stops and said “Has anyone ever told you that you are bad at talking?”

Unsure of what to say, I just looked at her. Without giving much time, she then proceeded to say, “Hasn’t your mother ever told you that you mumble when you talk?”

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“Ma’am, my mother’s dead,” I tried to say as collected as I could.

“Well certainly someone has told you that you mumble when you talk,” she continues without skipping a beat. I noticed she had headphones in as she was saying this.

At this time, I couldn’t take it any longer, and I broke down into tears. The lady walked away, with no apologies or remorse for how rude she had just been to me.

This story can teach a few lessons. The first, on assumption. The lady automatically assumed my mother is alive. I don’t think anyone should assume someone has a live relative, especially when talking in such a negative matter.

Also, what if I had a speech impediment or disability that caused me to mumble? (Side note: This is the first time I have ever had someone tell me I mumble. Only on occasion have people asked me to speak louder, but I’m just a quiet person.) Making the assumption that I’m just “bad at talking” is also rude.

The other thing I think people can take away from this is to stop the use of technology when interacting with others. Had this lady not had headphones in, maybe she could have heard me. Has her mother ever told her she shouldn’t wear headphones when talking to someone?

This event emotionally hurt me and really took a toll on my confidence that day. Luckily, I’m surrounded by some really awesome people who lifted my spirits. I hope people can learn from this to not make assumptions, to not be rude, and to pay attention to the use of technology when interacting with others. And remember, be kind.


Erin Murtaugh is an undergraduate at Bemidji State University studying elementary education. She can be reached at murtaugh.erin@gmail.com.