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What To Say When You Don’t Know What To Say

when you dont know what to say

I have short hair and because of the weather where I live, often wear a small beanie.  When your neck and your ears are naked, your head gets cold!  Well, I was at REI the other day, wearing my beanie and a Lacuna Loft hoodie.  A guy walked by with his small child in tow.  He looked at me and very kindly said, “that’s a really cool hat.”  I thanked him, feeling slightly confused but flattered, and he walked away.

As I thought about our interaction, it suddenly hit me.  This guy thought I was a cancer patient.  I had a hoodie that literally says, “young adult cancer resources.”  I was wearing a beanie with almost no hair poking out from under it.  I have circles under my eyes and often look tired without any makeup (thanks, chemo!).

And the more I thought about it, the sweeter the interaction felt in my heart.  This man had no idea who I was but saw an opportunity to say something nice, and did so.  When he might have otherwise not known what to say and ignored the signs that I might be going through a crisis, he said something.

The moral is this: when you don’t know what to say, say something anyway.  Say you like their hat.  Say the weather is great (or not great) today.  You don’t need to ask a personal question or even try and connect with what you’re assuming they are going through.

Nice hat.  Great t-shirt.  Awesome menu choice.

Engage over the smallest thing.  It’s easy and it will make all the difference.