Please select one of the following and then we’ll move on: Life is hard; life is cruel; life is random; sometimes good people are forced to do bad things; sometimes innocent people die; yes, Myron, you screwed up, but you’ll do better this time; no, Myron, you didn’t screw up, it wasn’t your fault; everyone has a breaking point and now you know yours.
Clichés and platitudes crowd the brain, making genuine thought and authentic emotion harder to access.
Practice:When you’re about to say something hackneyed, don’t. Go silent instead.
Wait for something else to surface. The words that come next may sound awkward or even embarrassing. They will also enliven you in a way that no cliché can.
Advanced practice: When an exchange leaves you feeling dissatisfied, locate where you shorted yourself — either by saying less than you actually meant or by making an all-purpose response when you could have been specific.