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· We could have walked around if you had worn sensible shoes.
· We would have been on time if you hadn’t lost the keys.
People use this type of phrase, and justify it by pointing out that what’s said is “true”. Often it is. So does that make it a positive thing to say?
No. It’s all about your motive for saying it, and how the other person perceives your motive for pointing out “the truth”, particularly when both of you already KNOW it’s the truth.
The real problem is that this kind of phrase focuses on the past— on actions that can no longer be changed. So, it’s hard to justify these phrases in terms of making things better. They come across as blaming, or pushing responsibility for failure to the other person.
If your desire is to make the other person feel bad, less than, or one down. don’t do it! Be sure you examine your own motives before you focus on past actions.
Make It Better:
If your desire is to avoid problems in the future, there are better ways to send that message:
· Next time we go shopping, maybe it would be better if we both wore comfortable shoes, so we can walk around and enjoy ourselves longer.
· Let’s start keeping a set of keys by the door, so we won’t get delayed by having to hunt around for them.