Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Scripts & Templates for Life’s Uncomfortable Conversations.

Contact & find out more.

Legal Information

NTRW is supported by adverts and affiliate marketing links. This means if you click a link or buy a product, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Partnerships help fund this site. For more info, please see our Earnings Disclosure.
This site does not constitute as legal, mental, or medical health advice, please consult a competent licensed professional.

It’s surprisingly easy to accidentally insult people when you meet them for the first time. Even the most seasoned networker has messed up at some point or another and said something that they immediately regretted.

Most of the time it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see that person again so it’s fairly easy to brush your faux pas under the carpet, but what if you’ve messed up with someone that leads to longer-term consequences?

The best course of action is not to fixate on what was said but to respond appropriately when you realize you may have foot-in-mouth syndrome.

Try and cover your tracks as confidently as possible and try to stay upbeat and positive.

A good recovery can turn a disastrous comment into a positive one and worst case scenario and there’s no coming back- there’s a lesson and a funny story in there!

If you really have said something disastrous that you need to recover from you might like our other article: We Asked Our Friends for 4 Text Messages They Sent to Their SO to Make up after Unwittingly Insulting or Embarrassing Them – and This Is What We Got

Now, back to the matter at hand…

Please read on for 6 Scripts to Recover from Accidentally Insulting Someone You Just Met:

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

Script 1 | When You Have ‘Congratulated’ Someone on Their Impending Arrival Only to Realize That They Aren’t Pregnant After All… Yikes.

 

Oh, I’m so sorry. [Insert Name] told me that you had some news and I must have completely misunderstood. I just assumed that was what they were talking about the other day.

or…

My apologies I got you mixed up with another [Insert their Name], I was thinking how lucky you are to have such a flat stomach at 4 months in. I ballooned up when I had my daughter/son.

or…

Sorry I just assumed you were pregnant because your skin looks really glowy all the time at the moment- what’s your secret?

or…

Sorry a friend of mine recently announced they were expecting and babies have been on the brain a lot at the moment.

or…

Sorry that was rude of me- I’ll be honest with you I’ve had two hours sleep for the past few weeks!

Remember to brief your mutual friend so that they can cover for you if asked.

Script 2 | When You Have Called Someone by the Wrong Name or Title.

 

I am so sorry [Insert Right Name] (this part is vitally important).  I once had a student/friend/relative called [Insert Wrong Name] and the name has just stuck in my head. My fault entirely. I blame ‘baby brain’, ‘menopause’, ‘too much hard work’” …or any other excuses you can think about.

In these circumstances, some shameless groveling is always good, but you can also take this as an opportunity to be self-deprecating (people love feeling superior). You can blame other factors in your life for your mistake. As a bonus, your excuse may offer you a ‘get out’ clause for other situations in the future.

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on https://nevertherightword.com. If this article appears on any other site other than https://nevertherightword.com without clear referencing it is a violation of the copyright owned by https://nevertherightword.com.

This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy a product, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Never the Right Word is a participant in the Awin Affiliates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to participating merchants. For more information, please view our Privacy Policy and disclosure page.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Creating Great First Impressions" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, Vanessa Van Edwards—lead investigator at Science of People, a human behavior research lab—shares research-backed strategies that can help you make the first few seconds of any interaction count. Vanessa dives into the body language that is essential to an engaging first impression, the vocal cues that help you sound confident both in person and on the phone, and the best opening lines for sparking a great conversation. Plus, get tips for changing dull small talk into a lively and memorable conversation.

Script 3 | When You Criticize Someone’s Creativity or Work Inadvertently Without Realizing It Was Them Who Actually Created It

 

Gosh, it was you who created that? That must have been a huge challenge and you’ve done really well. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be completely negative. I think there are some issues with [Insert Relevant Info].  Mind you, on the whole I think it’s a fantastic piece of work and you have really done an amazing job, especially with [Insert Reference] – (find something good!).  You really should be congratulated; it must have been such a tough gig.

or…

It’s interesting that you chose to [Insert Key Feature], I’m intrigued, why was that?

It is a good idea to try and look for some positives (even when there aren’t any). These will help to soften the blow.  It is important never to try and back-track in these circumstances and to let some of your criticism stand.

The majority of creative types relish constructive opinions but can see through anyone who is trying to blag their way out of the situation by being overly sycophantic.

Just be clever and try to turn the negatives into positives wherever possible. You may be surprised by how much they appreciate your honesty.

Script 4 | When You Have Mis-Heard Something That Turned Out the Be a Vital Bit of Information.

 

I’m really sorry but I’m feeling a little bit stupid at the minute. I completely mis-heard what you said about [Insert Topic] – I’m afraid I’m a little bit deaf. It gets me into all sorts of situations where I get things totally backwards.

The admission of stupidity and personal failings are always useful in this kind of context. It can go a long way to making up for mistakes made at the point of introduction.

Script 5 | When You Ask a Question in All Innocence, Not Realizing That Everyone Else in the Rooms Knows That the Topic Is Taboo.

 

How much of an idiot do I feel right now, I really shouldn’t have asked that. It was completely inappropriate, and I didn’t really appreciate how sensitive the matter is. My fault entirely and I am really sorry if I have caused any offense.

Honesty is the best policy in this situation. Sometimes, you just need to apologize and move on and hope that people can put your idiocy behind them.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Interpersonal Communication" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, learn strategies that can help you hone and master your interpersonal communication skills. Join personal branding and career expert Dorie Clark as she shares techniques for getting your message across effectively in the workplace, and explains how to tackle potential communication challenges with your colleagues and supervisor. She also discusses how to grapple with tricky situations, taking you through how to handle interruptions, respond to critical feedback, and communicate across cultures.

Script 6 | When You Have Mistakenly Misidentified Someone or Drawn Inappropriate Conclusions From How They Look or Dress.

 

I must be as blind. You look so much younger than/so different to what I expected you to. I really didn’t recognize you properly. I am so sorry.

Not only are you acknowledging your error, but you are also flattering the individual concerned in the hope that he/she forgives you. Even if the person doesn’t entirely believe you, they will appreciate the sentiment and your attempt to make them feel better.

Now take a deep breath- every single one of us is messing up in some way, shape, or form. It is important not to dwell on your mistakes and put them down to experience. Nobody is perfect. In terms of your long-term career, it is important that you try and rectify the situation as soon and cover your tracks as best you can. Alternatively, you can just rely on an appropriate apology.

At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.   

If you’re interested in further reading, we’ve also included links to our trusted resources and related posts below. To find out more about NTRW and our recommended tools, you can do that here.  

Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!

Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation.

In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.

Popular Articles...

Relevant Books We Recommend...

The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism (Hardback)

Did you think that Charisma was just something you were either born with or without? A powerful trait possessed only by the chosen few? Think again. The Charisma Myth: Master the Art of Personal Magnetism by frequent keynote speaker and executive coach Olivia Fox Cabane; we are shown how charismatic behavior can be learned and mastered by anyone. Cabane breaks charisma down into its essential components, revealing the truth to how it really works. This book is a great read for anyone who wants to become more influential, persuasive, and inspiring. Great for aspiring leaders and budding socialites alike. You can get your copy of The Charisma Myth by CLICKING HERE.

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People (Paperback)

If you struggle with meeting new people, are shy, or generally want to improve your conversational skills we think you'll get a lot from this book. In Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People author and human behavior investigator, Vanessa Van Edwards shares a wealth of behavior hacks to help you get the most out of your interactions. You'll learn a strategy for navigating any social situation, unique tricks to break away from monotonous small talk, how to predict people's emotions through speed-reading people's expressions, and much more. Once you understand the laws of human behavior you can be confident that you'll get on well with anyone. CLICK HERE to get your copy of Captivate. Whether you're a people's person or a little more reserved we think it's a great read for everyone.

Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact (Paperback)

In Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact, best-selling author and multiple award-winner Phil M. Jones presents what he calls his “Magic Words” and provides precise examples of how to put them to work. Expect to read the book quickly and feel instantly motivated to create your own examples to help you win more business, have more influence in your workplace, and grow your persuasiveness in social situations. This book took us approximately an hour to read and can be repeatedly referred back to with ease. We recommend this book to anyone who wants to build and integrate conducive habits into their communication skills. A thumbs up from us! CLICK HERE to buy Exactly What to Say from Book Depository.

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age (Paperback)

Celebrating the 75 anniversary of the renowned self-improvement bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People, comes a refreshed adaptation of Carnegie’s timeless prescriptions for the digital age. We love this classic because it teaches the reader how to shift their mindset to make life more engaging and rewarding which increasing being more and relevant in today's society. How to win friends and influence people in the digital age is one of the best books to help you learn how to be influential. Anyone who is willing to read in-between the lines can see that there is power in Carnegie's insights. You can get your copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates by CLICKING HERE.  

Pin Never the Right Word on Pinterest!

Like Our Site? These Are the Resources We Recommend.

To build this site we used these highly recommended tried-and-tested tools:

We Trust Elegant Themes

The Elegant Themes membership gives you complete access to 87 amazing themes and 3 awesome plugins, including Divi, the ultimate WordPress Theme and Visual Page builder. Elegant Themes have been building the world's most popular WordPress themes for the past 10 years, and rest assured their products will always be improved and maintained. 

Divi WordPress Theme

We Build With Divi Theme

One of the most popular WordPress themes in the world. Building layouts is easy and fast, making it ideal to create mockups and wireframes, prototyping a design, and creating the website itself. Build from the frontend or backend. The builder is intuitive. It's easy to learn and can be used by non-developers to create amazing websites. Check out the official Divi Theme here.

Divi Cake is a community driven marketplace for Divi Child Themes, Builder Layouts, and Plugins - Shop Now!

We Customize With Divi Cake Plugins

Divi Cake’s main goal is to help the members of the Divi community find the perfect premium Divi themes, layouts, and plugins created by leading Divi developers and designers. Shop hundreds of premium Divi products like Divi child themes, Divi layouts, and Divi plugins on Divi Cake, the community driven Divi Marketplace. Find out more about Divi Cake here.

We ❤️Shutterstock Media

We get our images from the OG leader in stock assets. Boost your business with the right images. They're royalty-free and ready to use. Footage & Music Libraries. 4k Images Added per Hour. No Daily Download Limit. Speedy Search & Discovery. With flexible plans and countless amounts of premium content uploaded weekly, we couldn't leave Shutterstock off our list.

Skill-Up With LinkedIn Learning

When you want to enhance your professional skills with expert-led, online video tutorials, the only place to go is LinkedIn Learning (Lynda). With a subscription you get 24/7, unlimited access to over 13,000 business, design & tech online courses and with a free month. We like them because we get expert-led courses that we can access anytime, anywhere. What's not to love?

Web Hosting

We're Hosted With SiteGround

SiteGround boasts a whole list of fantastic features at amazingly affordable prices. Along with multiple growth options, free site transfers and domains, built in Content Delivery Network integrations, WordPress support AND human support we wouldn't go to anyone else. They're basically faster, safer and more supportive- you can check them out here.

We Trust Grammarly Premium

Even seasoned writers need a helping hand at times, that’s why we trust Grammarly Premium. As the World's Most Accurate Online Grammar Checker, Grammarly Premium goes beyond grammar to help you ensure that everything you write is clear, engaging, and professional. Learn more about Grammarly Premium’s AI-powered assistant here.

Find Graphics With Creative Market

Creative Market is the world’s marketplace for design. Bring your creative projects to life with ready-to-use design assets from independent creators around the world. We love the unique finds, social media templates, vectors you name it they have it. I also doesn't hurt that our founder has a little store on there...

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Contact Us

Email Us

Never the Right Word
Building 19475
PO Box 6945
London
W1A 6US
United Kingdom

Follow NTRW

Support NTRW

Become a Patron!
Donate to Never the Right Word and keep us accessible to all. Thank you!

Stay in the Loop

error: Content is protected !!

Pin It on Pinterest